Being on social media isn’t enough for your business - you also have to know if your efforts are paying off. Here are social media metrics you should be checking:
It’s no secret that everyone (and yes, that includes me) says that businesses can and should take advantage of being on social media, for a number of reasons. Aside from its reach and role as an avenue for marketing, it also allows you to establish a unique identity for your brand, and lets you show your human side to your followers.
However, going into social media without defined goals is as bad as not being there at all. Your business needs to have a good social media marketing plan not just for it to move in your intended direction, but also to allow you to measure just how successful you are on these platforms. This is where setting social media metrics comes in – and this part can be even trickier than engaging with your customers.
Many business owners find it challenging to identify meaningful metrics, as they find themselves focusing on the wrong ones, i.e. the ones that only look good (hence the term “vanity metrics”), but actually reveal little about how effective their strategies are. What they may not be aware of is how much easier the task can become if they set solid goals first.
The goals your business should have on social media
When setting #socialmedia goals for your business, follow 3 simple steps.”]When setting social media goals for your business, follow 3 simple steps.
- Identify your main goals. Are you after more leads or increased sales? Do you want to establish a stronger brand identity? Set goals that are connected to your marketing strategy, with a fixed timeline to give you a realistic idea of how long you should be working towards it. Some sample goals are:
- An increase in your brand recognition and reputation.
- An increase in your blog or website traffic.
- A stronger relationship with your audience.
- An increase in the amount of time your readers actually spend going through your website.
- An increase in your total social media conversions.
- Identify how you’re going to achieve your main goals. What should happen in order for you to reach your goals? This is where you set your objectives, which are more specific and detailed than your general long-term goals.
- Choose the right metrics to keep track of where you are in the process of achieving said goals. This is the part where you figure out which social media metrics to use in measuring how close you are to your goals.
How to choose the right metrics
Now that you’ve set your business social media goals, figure out the best way to measure success in each of them. Having solid metrics is the only way you can gauge the effectiveness of your social media efforts. Here are some of the most important metrics you should be measuring:
Reach. This measures the lengths at which your social media conversations are being spread out, as well as the size of the audience actively participating in them. Reach helps you get a better idea of, say, how many people were reached by your campaign.
Reach provides some much-needed context in measuring your social media engagement.
- Engagement. This measures how many among your target audience are actually joining in your brand’s social media conversations. This is the best way to figure out which of your updates got the most attention – a detail that will certainly prove useful as you come up with newer campaigns and strategies to further strengthen your brand. Engagement is measured by dividing the number of actions (clicks, retweets, etc.) by your total reach.
- Volume. How big has your brand or campaign’s conversation gotten? Measuring volume not only gives you hard numbers and statistics; it also sheds light on, say, the ideal time of the day for your to post, or which occasions you can take advantage of when starting a brand conversation.
- Audience profile. Who IS your target audience? Native social media metric-measuring features allow you to study your typical audience depending on which group they belong. This will help you in tailoring your message and creating a better strategy to encourage audience growth and loyalty.
- Share. How many people are talking about your brand vs. your competitors, given the same topic? Measuring this will give you a better idea of how influential your brand is in the general conversation.
Native social media metrics tools vs. third-party measuring tools: Which is better?
Social media platforms typically have their own built-in analytics tools for measuring metrics. However, as much as it would be ideal to just use the platforms’ native tools, it might be in your best interests to avail a third-party measuring tool to handle specific (and vital) measurement functions. Consider signing up for third-party tools if you want to:
- Compare your performance with that of your competitor/s.
Native tools will only provide you with your own data. If you’re looking for a way to gauge exactly how you’re doing with respect to your competition, a third-party software program can help you establish comparisons across your industry, with geographical factors and other important variables taken into consideration as well.
- Have a single place where you can check all your social media metrics, across channels.
Instead of checking each of your social media accounts from separate native tools, you can consolidate all your data on a single program, which will also allow you to compare your performance across platforms and identify which ones are worth your time and effort.
- Access metrics that native platform tools don’t normally measure.
Native tools are limited in terms of the kind of data they provide. The aforementioned comparative data (across platforms and against competitors) is a good example. Thankfully, this is a hurdle that you can easily get over with a third-party software program.
- Create reports and presentations with ease.
Instead of having to painstakingly compile your data across platforms and manually put them together in a single report, a third-party program lets you do that with just a few clicks of your mouse.
When to check your analytics
Here are some useful pointers in checking your social media metrics.
Ready to start measuring your business social media metrics? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Liz Azyan is interested in the ways new kinds of social data and technology introduce challenges and opportunities to society. Get involved with Liz’s latest project here.