If you have been working hard on refining your social media profiles, creating stellar social content, and keeping up with your accounts, you might be wondering, what’s next? I’ll answer that question with a question – what is working and what isn’t? Have any idea? If not, it is time to start tracking metrics and looking at the analytics of the performance of your social media content.
The metrics from your social media efforts can help you understand how well, or poorly, your social media campaigns are performing as well as the return on investment you are gaining from them. The key is not to rush off and create spreadsheets of every conceivable data point you can come up with. Rather determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) will best inform you of the progress you are making towards your social media goals.
Included in those goals, we’d hope you are first, striving to reach qualified people and, second, to engage with those people. Then, do you have a goal focused on the number of social media users who are inquiring about your services or products? And, finally, do you have a target for the number of social media users you want to convert to customers?
Not that there aren’t other viable goals for your brand’s social media efforts. A metric important to one business may not be relevant to another which is why it is imperative to tie your social media analytics to your original business goals. We are simply stating that these four main areas: reach, engagement, leads, and conversions, are fairly universal in regards to providing information that will effectively inform your social media work. Let’s take a look at each of those individually.
Reach is a metric that gives you an idea of how many people are actually seeing your message. If we are honest, we’ve all scrolled right past posts in our social feeds without gaining an understanding of what the post contained. As such, reach is not an absolute metric. It is more of an estimate because it measures potential, how many sets of eyes it's been put in front of.
There are several KPIs you can track to gain an understanding of the reach of your messages:
You can look at the number of followers your brand has on different social media platforms and investigate how and when those numbers fluctuate or grow. Maintaining a fairly constant number of followers tells you that the people who have shown interest in your brand are continuing to be interested A growth in your number of followers tells you that people are most likely encouraging others to check out your feed and/or your hashtag strategies are driving more traffic to your social media posts.
You can look at the number of impressions or how many times your post showed up in someone’s timeline or newsfeed. This is one of the components of reach that causes the vagueness of the metric. Just because a post was in someone’s feed doesn’t mean they looked at it but a higher number of impressions certainly increases the chance that some people will engage with your post.
You can consider the referral traffic that is coming from your social media accounts to your website. Resources like HubSpot, Marketo, and Hatchbuck can easily help you identify this metric. By understanding which social platforms are not performing well, you can tweak your content or posting time to increase the success of your posts on that platform. Of course, understanding which content IS performing well also helps you repeat those successes.
A post that has a large reach and low engagement is a sign of content that isn’t resonating with the target audience. It indicates that your message contains little to no value as perceived by the people who are seeing the post. Engagement, even on a small scale, is what will help you organically grow your audience and generate more leads.
And, as social platforms continue to change how they present content to users, engagement continues to be a focus and indicator of success. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter consider engagement to be a sign of high quality and popularity. The greater the number of interactions your content has, the more these social platforms will push out your content to their users.
As with reach, there are a number of KPIs to consider when analyzing engagement.
You can track the number of clicks your posts and links receive. While dedicated followers will click on all of your content, most readers will only click on the posts that truly interest them. You can further segment this metric by looking at two scenarios.
You can examine the posts that receive a large number of clicks but few shares or likes through the lens that you gained readers’ attention but failed to deliver content that encouraged engagement. You can also examine the posts that may not have received as many clicks but elicited a comment or other sort of interaction from those who did click on the post. This content can be tweaked by trying out different titles or visuals to encourage more clicks while maintaining the engagement level.
You can track the number of likes, hearts, smiley faces, etc. This sort of engagement increases the attention your posts gain simply through the power of social proof. It also holds weight with the algorithms used by social media platforms as they consider likes to be a signal that a piece of content should be ranked higher in search results.
You can track the number of times content is shared (share of voice). We feel this metric is more powerful than the number of likes mainly because sharing requires a conscious decision by the social media user. A share is a personal recommendation and indicates the user believes the content to be high-quality and value-added.
You can track the number of comments written in response to your posts. Comments indicate that your content is resonating in some way with the target audience. Sometimes the comments may be more critical than others but it is better to spark conversation than to have a post sit in digital silence.
You can track the number of brand tags or mentions or what people are saying about your brand in other places on social platforms. This social media KPI helps you understand how relevant your content is. Similar to shares, mentions require a conscious choice. Unlike shares, mentions don’t necessarily provide a clear picture of current and potential opportunities. You can, however, determine how your mentions compare to the mentions of your competitors and whether or not you are seen as more of a thought leader in your industry.
You can track the number of profile visits on social media platforms that provide this information. Many consumers will visit your social media profile to determine whether or not they want to engage with your brand website. A follower is just a follower but a follower who visits your profile is interested in the bigger picture of your brand story.
Inquiries and Leads
A step in the buyer’s journey worth tracking is when a person moves from simply following your account and liking your posts to asking more about your products or services. It is important to differentiate between a follower and someone who is interested in making a purchase. Measuring lead generation from social media helps you understand where and how to focus your resources. It can help you identify if your content isn’t engaging to your target audience or if you are simply on the wrong platform.
Measuring the number of acquired customers should be a given but we would be remiss if we did not include it in our discussion. The main goal of social media is to grow your brand reach and recognition and to build relationships with current and potential customers. That being said, it is important to understand the relationship between your social media marketing and your conversion rate so you understand on which platforms to focus more resources.
Social media platforms provide valuable channels for building personal relationships with your target audience. These platforms can also help increase your revenue, reach, and overall return on investment. But only when you track the social media KPIs that will help you generate new traffic, increase your lead generation and increase your reach.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing understand that you should only focus on the social media KPIs that are most relevant to your target audience and the platforms they frequent. We can help you create and execute a social media marketing plan that includes metrics and analytics that make sense for your brand and will accurately reflect the success and challenges of your social media efforts. Contact us today to get started.