Social Media Metrics — Which Ones to Track and Why
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If your growth on social media is stagnant, the answer for how to push past the plateau likely lies in your analytics. Examining your social media metrics is essential for determining a data-based strategy for your brand. In looking at the analytics, you can see what you might be doing poorly and formulate a plan for social media success.
Perhaps you already know that social media metrics are important. However, with so many at your disposal, it’s difficult to know which ones to track. If you’ve ever felt lost in a sea of data, then keep reading for the best social media metrics to track according to your brand’s goals.
Why You Should Track Social Media Metrics
That’s right: your social media goals determine which metrics you track. Before you break out the spreadsheet, it’s vital to have a clear picture of what you hope to accomplish on social media. Having goals in mind (think: brand awareness, referrals, conversions, and more) will help you identify which social media metrics to measure as well as a time frame in which to track them. These business goals are the first steps to having a revenue-driving social media strategy.
Brands that don’t measure social media metrics and plan their overall strategy based on what they learn from them might as well be posting in the dark. If you can’t say with confidence what kind of content your audience responds best to, then a good hard look at the data is long overdue. It’s impossible to know the success of particular campaigns or the impact of your social media presence until you have the metrics to support it.
Where to Measure Social Media Metrics
Not all social media metrics are created equal just like not all social media platforms are created equal. When you’re deciding how to use social media for your brand, you have to determine which platforms and metrics align with your goals.
For example, if your objective is to grow your audience and raise brand awareness, you may focus your efforts on Instagram and track the number of followers you have. On the other hand, if you’re interested in networking with other businesses, LinkedIn is likely a better choice and you could track referrals.
When it comes to measuring social media metrics, each platform has its own native analytics for you to look at. For brands and businesses with small marketing budgets, these free native analytics resources are a solid starting point.
Once you start to see success and can afford to increase your marketing budget, investing in a paid social media analytics tool will eliminate the need to create manual reports and free you up to spend more time putting your social media strategy into action. Additionally, you can use the data you’ve gathered to evaluate how you stack up against your competitors. Noting key differences and seeing where your competitors excel can provide direction for what you need to do for your brand.
Even if you’re just starting out on social media, it’s imperative to track and document your metrics consistently. A simple spreadsheet will do the trick. If you don’t make the effort to monitor your progress at regular intervals, you won’t know if you’re progressing toward your goals.
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Which Social Media Metrics to Track
With your goals in mind, what social media metrics should you be tracking? While there are many to choose from, the following metrics are among the most popular to measure. Keeping an eye on these alone will reveal the health of your social media strategy.
First up, engagement. This is the metric you want to pay special attention to if your goal is to cultivate an efficient content marketing strategy and increase brand awareness. From retweets on Twitter to likes on Instagram, each platform has its own engagement metric. However, across the board, these indicate how much and how often your audience is interacting with your account.
Two other metrics that go along with brand awareness and perception are impressions and reach. The number of impressions is how many times a post shows up in a user’s timeline. Similarly yet still different, reach shows the number of potential unique viewers a post could have. It’s calculated as your follower count plus the follower counts of any accounts that shared your post.
If you’re using social media to drive traffic to a website or eCommerce store, then you should measure referrals. To examine this metric, you’ll need to refer to web analytics such as Google Analytics. Within Google Analytics, you’ll see how users landed on your website. It’s easy to identify which social media network is bringing you the most traffic.
Likewise, you should track conversions to measure how successful your social media strategy converts followers into customers. This data is essential for tracking your progress toward sales and marketing goals. Social conversion is when a user visits your social media account and purchases something from you as a result.
Give Yourself Time to See Results
The social media metrics you decide to track depend on your brand’s goals. Regardless of which data you choose to focus on, you must measure the metrics consistently. Only then can you get a clear idea of whether or not your social media strategy is working.
With the data in front of you, you’ll have a better idea of what your audience likes and can adjust your strategy accordingly. Just remember to give your social media strategy time to work. Don’t do a complete overhaul if one post performs poorly. Adjustments are fine, but on the whole, you should stick to one path with your marketing for a sufficient amount of time before trying something entirely new.
About Frankie Wallace
Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest.
She writes about a variety of topics including business and marketing.
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