5 Social Media Metrics Worth Paying Attention to and How to Track Them

Posted by Rachel Pillow on February 28, 2018

It’s hard to believe that we only have one more month before Q1 of 2018 draws to a close. Like most businesses, you probably have quarterly goals, benchmarks and KPIs to measure your marketing and sales efforts. And most likely, social media is part of your overall marketing strategy.

Social media ad spending accounts for 16% of the digital ad market but for many people it is still a crapshoot. This is why it’s important to set clear goals and actively measure your social media efforts to help you identify useful insight and trends, increase your reach and deliver the content that your followers are most likely to engage with. So, if you are interested in measuring social media effectiveness (which you should be), here are 5 social media metrics to pay attention to and how to track them. 

1. Page Likes & Followers

The most basic metric you should pay attention to is the growth of your social media pages’ Likes and Followers. You can do that by manually going to the insights or analytics page on each individual platform and downloading reports, or you can aggregate that data by using a social management tool such as Sprout Social or Hootsuite. This is especially beneficial in streamlining your efforts if you are managing multiple pages and brands or want to perform a more in-depth competitive analysis.

2. Post Engagement

Increasing your social channel’s following is great and all, but that can be irrelevant if those fans aren’t actually engaging with your content. There are several ways to measure the engagement level of your posts across social media platforms. For Twitter this could be tracking mentions, retweets, favorites and use of your specific brand hashtag. For Instagram it could be likes, mentions, comments and use of your brand’s hashtag. On Facebook, engagement equates to likes, comments, shares and mentions. Each platform offers insights and analytics to view levels of engagement, giving you the ability to analyze what type of content your followers react and respond to. It can be pretty exciting to see those notifications for retweets, shares and mentions roll in. 

3. Impressions and Reach

  • Impressions = the number of times your posts or tweets were displayed on someone’s social media feed or homepage
  • Reach = the number of individual people (accounts) that saw your content

Facebook describes Post Reach as “the number of people who had any posts from your Page enter their screen.” And, in the “Reach” tab under Facebook Insights, they break it down into organic vs. paid. Paid will obviously only play a factor if you are creating ads. Typically, impressions will be higher than reach because one person might see the same piece of content multiple times if their friends share it. Instagram Insights will display your posts’ overall reach and impressions over the past seven days. Twitter Analytics measure “tweet impressions” over a one-month period and will display whether you are trending up or down. Facebook Insights are the most robust out of these three primary social platforms, giving you the option to analyze data within the past week or month; and shows a breakdown of all published posts with levels of reach and engagement for each. Here are some tips to easily increase your organic Facebook reach.

4. Audience Demographics

Understanding the demographics of your digital audience is imperative to creating content that they will relate, respond and react to. This information can be accessed in the Insights or Analytics section on each platform. On Facebook there is a tab under “Insights” called “People” that shows what percentage of your followers are men or women, what age groups they fall into and where they live. You can dive even further into the analytics by clicking on “People Engaged” to see who in your audience is the most interactive. This can be especially helpful if, for instance, your target audience is young adults between the ages of 20-25, but the people that engage with your posts the most are 35-44 years old. Based on that info, you can then adjust your messaging and types of content to speak to a younger audience.

5. Lead Generation

To track leads coming through social media, you will need to setup Google Analytics conversion goals. Here is a step-by-step process how to set up specific goals in Google Analytics. Once you set up a conversion goal within Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > Social > Conversions to view a report of how many leads your social media channels are bringing to your website and which platforms are performing the best. This will help determine where to focus your efforts and your advertising budget (if paid social is part of your strategy). 

According to Hubspot, over 84% of marketers had an increase in web traffic from investing even just 6 hours per week in social media efforts. 

While there are ways to measure social media ROI and effectiveness, there are also many intangible benefits, such as increasing brand visibility, building customer relationships, dialogue with prospective clients and humanizing your brand. Your website and social media pages are the first places that customers go for information about your business, so make sure they represent your brand well and are optimized to achieve your goals. 

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