When social media marketing was just starting out, many businesses seemed to believe that Likes and followers were the only indicators of success. However, over the years, they’ve quickly become mere vanity metrics — they look great on paper, but can easily be engineered.
To see what we mean, just take a look around and see how many businesses offer “paid Likes and followers” to boost social media profiles of companies that may just be starting out. While it’s tempting for brands to take the easy way out by paying for engagement metrics like these, it’s just not worth the money.
For one thing, buying Likes and followers doesn’t guarantee you’ll have a dedicated audience that is willing to buy your products or services. If anything, you’ll be stuck with ghost followers, or followers who either never engage with your accounts or may be fake profiles altogether.
So instead of Likes and followers, what should you be tracking instead?
We have the answer. Keep reading to learn about 7 important social media metrics you should track to determine your campaign’s success.
Track these 7 Social Media Metrics for More Successful Campaigns
1. Post Reach
Post reach is the metric that tells you how many people have seen your post since it was first published. This is a good indicator that’s more reliable than Likes; after all, not every follower may Like your post, but they’ve seen it. This plays an important role in generating better brand awareness and recognition.
Reach can also show you if people are making meaningful interactions with your post. For instance, if your audience shares your post, you’re able to organically increase your reach. That boost can then get your brand in front of an audience you otherwise didn’t have access to.
You can also track reach to help determine the best days and times to post on social networks, as platforms like Facebook and Instagram have built-in analytics tools that show when your followers are most active and engaged. Experiment with different posting schedules, formats, and copy and see which ones generate the most reach per post.
2. Engagement Rate
Engagement rate is a broader metric that can include actions like Likes, comments, new follows, and shares. Tracking your engagement rate can be an important metric that shows you how your posts are coming across to your audience.
For example, if you notice your engagement rate has dipped after experimenting on new visual designs, you might infer that your followers preferred your previous post style over the new one.
To calculate engagement rate, use the following formula:
Engagement Rate (%) = Total Engagement / Total Number of Followers x 100
To help boost engagement rate, be sure to include calls to action on each of your posts to prompt your audience into taking action. As a best practice, look at your engagement rate per post instead of per month; this way, you can determine what type of posts and copy gets you the kind of meaningful engagement you aim for.
Social media analytics apps can show you an overview of different engagement metrics all in one place. (Image source)
3. Social Share of Voice
Share of voice is the social media metric that tells you how many people are mentioning your brand online.
This metric is best measured while comparing to your competitors’ — but take note to also define what a “mention” is for your business. For some businesses, a mention is when a user directly “@” their brand, while others broaden the scope to include indirect mentions (or mentions that don’t tag or “@” their brand).
What this metric really shows you is how notable your business is in your industry. If you track your competitors’ mentions too, you can compare and see how you chalk up to these other players.
To increase share of voice, consider launching campaigns that get people talking. Or even simple tweaks like providing better customer experiences can really help boost the chances of a user talking about your brand.
Here’s the formula you might use for share of voice:
Share of Voice (%) = ([Brand Mentions + Competitor Mentions] ÷ Total Mentions) x 100
4. Brand Reputation
Brand reputation is a broad metric that may include share of voice but it adds something else in the mix: context. It doesn’t just track how many users are mentioning you or talking about you, it also tracks what they’re saying.
Are people happy with your business and praising your products online? Are they disappointed about anything in their shopping experience on your online store?
Many things can influence brand reputation, from customer experience down to your audience’s reactions to marketing messages, and even how well you run your customer support.
Remember that even negative experiences can be transformed into positive moments of customer support, so don’t let one bad review stop you from delivering the best experience for your customers.
5. Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is the social media metric that refers to how many people took the desired action after seeing your social media. In many cases, this will be how many people clicked through to a landing page and completed an action (e.g. purchase, sign-up, etc.) after seeing your post on their social media feed.
Some social media platforms may be able to give you this information, but it’s always best to look at different marketing automation tools that track and report your conversion rates with more detailed information.
For example, you can learn which platforms give you the most clicks to your landing pages, or other actions users first take before they convert.
Knowing this information helps you create better messaging, clarify your goals, and even learn about customers’ needs and preferences.
6. Cost Per Click (CPC)
Cost per click is the social media metric for your paid ads. This shows you how much you’re paying for each click you get on a paid post.
The lower your CPC, the better. This is a sign that your marketing efforts are paying off well.
If your CPC is quite high, you may need to adjust a few things in your ad. Review if you’re targeting a niche-enough demographic and psychographic. Or you may need to tweak your copy to be clearer or more compelling, or your images to be more eye-catching.
This information is readily available on any social network that lets you create paid ads. On Facebook Ads Manager, here’s how it might look for you.
7. Social Media ROI
Your social media ROI is probably one of the most important metrics you need to track because this tells you whether or not your efforts and resources on social media marketing are actually bringing in results to your brand.
These results are ones you define for your own business. While sales is definitely an important metric that falls under ROI, you might want to consider others as well.
For instance, you might have done a rebrand with a completely fresh marketing campaign to introduce your new look and feel. Over time, can you see if this has led to better relationships with customers, or if it has brought in more new buyers for your business?
Keep track of your expenses, from the money you put into advertising down to resources like time and manpower. Commit to reviewing your social media ROI per campaign on the regular, so each campaigns gets better each time.
Best Practices to Observe While Tracking Social Media Metrics
To wrap up this blog post, we want to walk you through some important best practices when you’re tracking and analyzing your social media metrics. Use these tips to get yourself on the right track for managing those campaigns.
1. Set Benchmarks
It’s important not to go into social media metric tracking without first knowing your goals. Having benchmarks is the first important step you’ll want to do before launching your campaign.
These benchmarks may be based on your existing benchmarks right now, or they may be based on the average in your industry.
Either way, make sure you know what you’re aiming towards. So if you fall short, you can review if there was anything you might have been able to do better. Or if you hit your benchmarks, you can make a goal to surpass them for the next campaign.
2. Always Keep Your Access Secure
If your social media accounts are being shared between teams and agencies, it’s incredibly important to ensure these accounts are secure. User privacy is becoming a bigger and bigger concern for companies and customers alike, especially in the rise of online attacks like hacking and phishing.
Practice security best practices, including using a strong password generator that’s shared securely between only relevant teams and individuals. And in any case of a breach, be transparent with your customers about what you’re doing (or have already done) to mitigate any potential damages.
Social sharing makes it easy for customers to share information like businesses’ social media accounts getting hacked, and this can derail your efforts at improving brand reputation and consumer trust.
3. Track Both Quantitative and Qualitative Data
In social media marketing, it’s tempting to only focus on the hard numbers as your basis of a successful campaign. And while we won’t deny that data-driven campaigns are always valuable, don’t count out the importance of qualitative data too.
Qualitative data might be gathered as meaningful comments, direct consumer messages, and general perceptions that customers have about your brand online.
Aside from tracking your reach, can you also spot indications that people are finding your posts valuable and engaging? Are users having conversations about your brand among their peers?
Qualitative data can add an important dimension to your social media metrics tracking, so always be sure to manage them both.
4. Choose Metrics Based on the Social Media Platform
Finally, when you’re deciding on which metrics to track, one helpful tip is to choose the metrics based on a specific platform.
For instance, long videos over a minute may tend to be better on platforms like Facebook or YouTube over IGTV, if only because users’ habits may differ per social platform. Because of this, you’ll want to keep an eye out on watch time of your videos as an engagement metric.
Over time, you’ll be able to identify exactly which platforms are getting you the best results, depending on your campaign goals.
As with anything, social media metrics aren’t created equal. Some metrics are simply vanity-centric and won’t help you grow and scale your business. Use this post to help you identify the most important social media metrics to track in your campaigns this year, keep an eye on your numbers, and use these results to craft better campaigns moving forward.