Metrics aren't that hard. You determine what you're trying to measure, you measure it, then you look at the data. You run into problems when you can't measure the full impact of something, or when you don't know what to measure, or when you can't gather data.
In that case, you run trials, just as they do in other complex systems. I'm a big fan of trials in social media contexts because they are easy to sell, easy to track, and the data speaks for itself. Take two groups - train one with social, compare the groups.
Rather than focusing on tasks or individual, unrelated results that can be gained, you focus on outcomes.
Group 1: 50 Sales people using LinkedIn.
Group 2: 50 Sales people not using LinkedIn.
You split two groups up based on their average sales. To make sure there is no cheating, you have assign one person with a stake in the matter to split up the groups, and another to pick the group. This ensures the split is on level ground.
You run a test, and compare the increase over the baseline, for both groups, but you also look at the individual performance. The winning group is the one you move forward with. If the control group wins, but certain individuals excel - you at least have data that helps you determine if the training is bad, or if only certain salespeople can be effective.
Hard to argue with a test like that. So how would you do this for Empire Avenue?
I maintain that Empire Avenue is best as an individual training tool for a group. Sign up your trainees, and let them use the system to track themselves. Don't focus on stock price for an individual, and make sure they know that stock price and portfolio wealth won't have any effect on their salary or commissions or performance.
In other words, don't use it as a game. Let the game work in the background, but use the tool to train. And like the previous examples, set the site up as group trial.
Click on the image for a full-size pop-up, but what I've drawn is a trial on how to teach social media to a group using Empire Avenue, with an outcome that help you understand the most effective method for your team.
I see this for people with sales teams, remote retail locations, franchises, dealers, recruiters, customer service departments, PR firms, and for associations looking to help their members. Any group willing to implement a training system for social media can use Empire Avenue to track the results, in a way that decreases monitoring cost and training personnel costs.
Is it easy? Of course not. But I could do it. I've trained dozens of people at the same time, and thousands in shorter sessions. One of the things that makes Empire Avenue so attractive is how it could have helped me have my clients train themselves.
Which means small-business consultants can use it now, one-on-one, and see results.