There is just so much content out there about how to measure social media success. I’ve gone through a bunch of it so you don’t have to. And now, I’m going to simplify the process of measuring social media success so that you don’t lose your mind.
Where does measuring social media fit into the marketing process?
First, let’s acknowledge what happened inside the marketing process before your social posts went out into the world.
- You did some research about who your ideal customer is and what transformation or ideal outcome they are looking for.
- You created an irresistible offer to give them the transformation they want.
- You chose a strategy (content marketing, direct marketing, or advertising).
- You picked some tactics about how you’re going to get the message out there — and that includes either organic or paid social media.
- Now — you’re ready to see how that worked so that you can make changes and improve your results.
How do I know if my social media posts are working?
The best way to measure social media success is to start with your goals. Remember those? You wrote them down when you first started this process, right?
If not, you can choose from some of these examples:
- Does my ideal audience know who I am?
- Am I attracting more of my ideal clients?
- Does my ideal customer see my content?
- Is my ideal audience talking about me?
- Is my ideal audience saying good things about me or are they complaining?
- Am I or is my business seen as influential or credible?
It’s always about the “Know-Like-Trust” factor
To generate sales, you have to create that “know-like-trust” factor. And social media is a great way to achieve that.
And that’s why all social media metrics fall into 3 main categories:
1. Awareness (The know factor): How many people are seeing your content?
2. Engagement (The like factor): How many people are interacting with your content?
3. Conversions (the trust factor): How many people are taking action as a result of your content?
Each of these categories has all kinds of metrics as a subset, that we’re going to choose from.
Let’s break these social media metrics down
Awareness Metrics: Build An Audience of Your Ideal Customers
Awareness metrics measure how well-known your brand is, but they don’t measure how successful you are. That’s why these are often called vanity metrics.
Granted, you can’t get people to like you if they don’t know you. The key is to get the RIGHT people to know who you are.
If you’re a dog trainer, you’re not going to get any customers if your fan base consists of cat owners.
Here’s what to do:
- Go through your fans and followers and check their profiles to see if they are qualified prospects.
- If you find that you don’t have the right targeted audience, adjust your posts to call out your ideal customers. For example, if you’re a dog trainer, you might have “Calling all dog owners” on your image or as your headline.
Growth rate measures how quickly your fans and followers grow over a period of time. Again, your goal should be to add more and more ideal customers.
Some experts tell you to “beat the competition” and measure yourself against them. I don’t agree with that.
What you can do instead is
- Analyze your competitor’s followers and see if you want those followers or if you want different followers.
- Review your competitor’s social media posts and note what they are promoting and find what’s missing and focus on that.
- Engage with your competitor’s followers and find out what they like about that brand and what’s missing from their brand.
- Adjust your posts to better resonate with those followers.
- Run contests, events, etc. that will appeal to your ideal audience.
Reach is the number of unique people who could possibly see your content in a perfect world; your followers and your followers’ followers.
Our #BizapaloozaChat “reaches” about 6 million Twitter accounts every 30 days. Let’s be clear, 6 million people had the ABILITY to see our content, but there’s no way to know if they saw it or not.
Advertisers like to use reach as a way to gauge whether their ads are working.
Why focus on reach?
If a lot of people have seen your ad but no one has bought anything, you might need to change the way the ad is written or what is in the ad.
If your content is reaching a lot of people, that means it is being shared and engaged with.
Impressions is another important social metric that marketers track. It measures the number of times your content is displayed (whether it was seen or not, clicked or not). The same person can see the same piece of content multiple times. Hence, this number will always be higher than reach which is why it is tempting to report on. The metric is confusing and does not give any information about how your content is doing. If a post gets 1,000 views, it is unknown if 1,000 different people saw the post or 100 people saw the post ten times.
Nonetheless, if you want your brand to be more recognizable, try to increase the number of times people see it. This will help it stand out from other brands.
Here’s how to increase your impressions:
- Create content that’s worth seeing more than once. This can be a meme, infographic, quote, etc. Anything relatable and shareable that will make people save it and go back to it.
- Curate content and tag people. Create a post that includes quotes or tips from experts with lots of followers and tag them in your post. Post the content and send those people a link to the post and ask them to share with their audience.
- Boost and advertise a post. Social media channels want you to spend money and advertise. So if it’s important that a post gets more impressions — throw some money at it.
Why focus on impressions?
Too many ads can be irritating for website users, and if you’re worried about this, you might focus on increasing reach instead of impressions.
Impressions tell you how often your ad is being seen. If you want to track your ads in real-time, then impressions are key. If you create an ad and it doesn’t get many impressions right away, that may be a sign that something is wrong with its content or design.
Mentions counts the number of times your brand is named or mentioned in a post. This is a double-edged sword. You want a lot of positive mentions from your target audience so that you attract more of your ideal customers. Mentions can also be an engagement metric because it’s measuring an audience actually using your name.
While mentions is typically an awareness metric, it’s also an engagement metric because a user actually has to write your name in their post.
How to increase positive brand mentions:
- Ask questions
- Collaborate with influencers
- Be active on a variety of social media platforms
- Encourage customers and fans to share their positive experiences with you.
- Run a contest
Share of Voice
Share of voice measures how much conversation oxygen your brand takes up. How much of a specific conversation do you own? If you’re a thought leader, or your business leads the conversation in an industry, you want to see this share of voice growing. If you’re competing with very large brands, this may not be worth watching.
One of my favorite analytics tools for this is Brand24.
They have something called a “presence score” to measure your share of the conversation. It’s like a visibility percentage because it goes from 0 – 100.
Here you can see that #BizapaloozaChat owns about 25% of a small business conversation.
Why share of voice is important
Share of voice is important because it gives you a measure of how well-known you or your brand is within that social channel. Channels like Facebook and Twitter are crowded with brands vying for attention, so it’s essential to have a good understanding of how well your brand is performing in order to stay ahead of the competition. Additionally, if you’re looking to partner with another brand or promote a campaign, knowing your share of voice will give you an idea of what kind of reach you can expect.
How to increase your share of voice:
- Run regular “events” on social platforms; Facebook or LinkedIn lives, Twitter chats, etc.
- Collaborate with other industry experts
- Become a contributor to related sites and blogs
- Build a large community on your favorite social channel
- Create engaging and shareable content
- Start interesting conversations
Social Media Engagement Metrics
While awareness builds familiarity — the know factor. None of that matters if your audience doesn’t take some kind of action. This is where engagement comes in. Engagement is a good way to tell if people like your content.
Engagement is the amount of interaction a social media post gained; the number of likes, shares, and comments that a post receives. It’s a better metric than followers, awareness or reach because it measures actions taken by your audience.
Why engagement is important?
Engagement is important because it does three important things; it helps you measure whether or not your messages connect with the right customers, it influences how much visibility your organic post will get, and it impacts the cost of your ad campaign. In all cases, the higher your engagement the better. According to a Rival IQ study the average engagement rate per post across all industries is 0.16% on Facebook, 1.7% on Instagram and 0.046% on Twitter.
Likes are the easiest engagement metric to get. All someone has to do is click on a button. A like doesn’t necessarily mean that the person liked your product or service, just that they read and clicked on your post.
A share is slightly more valuable than a like because it means that someone not only read and engaged with your post, but they also thought it was good enough to share with their own network. This exposes your brand to an entirely new set of people, which could lead to more likes, shares and eventually conversions.
Comments are the most valuable form of engagement because they indicate that someone not only read and liked your post, but they also had something to say about it. A comment means that you’ve struck a nerve or created a conversation and that’s exactly what you want to do on social media.
How to increase engagement:
- Create comment-engagement-worthy video. These might be funny, educational, or controversial.
- Ask questions or start conversations with your audience
- Ask for feedback
- Tell stories
- Run contests or giveaways
Social Media Conversion Metrics
Conversions are the end goal of any social media marketing campaign. A conversion is when a social media user takes the desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a white paper.
Why conversions are important?
Conversions are important because they measure how effective your social media marketing campaign is at achieving its goals. If you’re not converting, then you’re not doing your job.
There are two types of conversions that you can track on social media; macro and micro. Macro conversions are the big ones, such as a purchase or sign up. Micro conversions are the smaller actions that happen along the way, such as clicking on a link or liking a post.
Macro conversions are important because they’re the end goal, but micro conversions are important too because they’re an indication of whether or not someone is interested in what you have to offer.
How to increase conversions:
The best way to increase conversions is to create a social media marketing campaign that is focused on conversion from the start.
- Creating content that is designed to get people to take the desired action, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a white paper.
- Make it easy for people to convert by including calls-to-action (CTAs) in your posts and ads.
- Use conversion tracking to measure the success of your campaign and make adjustments as needed.
There are NO Shortcuts
The takeaway here is that there are NO shortcuts. If you want to do LESS social media marketing and see more success from your social media campaigns, then you have to take people through the entire process; build awareness, generate engagement, and ultimately make conversions.
Why You Need to Track Social Media Metrics
If you don’t know how to measure social media success, then your social media efforts will go through an endless loop of trial and error.
Your social media performance will improve exponentially if you find the most important social media metrics and focus your social media presence on optimizing them.
Use These Tools for Social Media Analytics
I won’t leave you here without giving you a list of recommended tools any social media marketer can use.
- Native Analytics: Every social media tool has native analytics. Get familiar with those and select the one or two metrics you’re going to pay attention to.
- Google Analytics: The new GA4 (Google Analytics 4) will tell you what social media tool drove the most traffic to your site or to any of your landing pages.
- Brand24: I mentioned Brand24 as my go-to social measurement tool. It helps me do competitive analysis and also helps me to learn about my competitor’s followers.
Now That You Know How to Measure Social Media Success – Optimize It
That’s it! Measuring your social media success is essential to any social media marketing campaign. By tracking the right metrics, you can see what’s working, what’s not, and how to adjust your social media activity to meet your business goals.