Get out of the weeds and into the ROI with your social media marketing metrics. Read to see which metrics really matter so you can work smarter.
Marketing on social media is more than just tracking vanity metrics - likes, shares, and retweets.
And as a marketer who’s serious about improving social media performance, you probably understand that. Gathering social media data, boosting ROI, and understanding which social media strategies are working and which ones are absolutely failing requires you to track important metrics.
Social media is a jungle of metrics. Not only does each platform have its own set of metrics, but even if they happen to use the same terms, different platforms often define those terms differently.
Because we’re all comparing “apples to oranges” so often, it’s no wonder that so few marketers know if their social media work generates an ROI.
Making random marketing decisions. Failing to optimize strategies and content that's working. No idea why conversions and engagements are low.
To make the entire process of tracking metrics easy for you, we’ve created a list of twelve critical social media metrics.
Let’s dive in.
Yes, it’s hard to quantify. Yes, most social media marketers can’t do it. But ROI is the holy grail of social media metrics. If you can get it, or even get a good approximation of it, more power to you.
Start by breaking down your ROI for each social media platform you’re on. This can be important information if you want the budget to expand your work on any of those platforms, or if you get hit with a budget cut and need to know which platforms to let go of.
Given that the average social media marketer is on five or more different social media platforms, this means you’ve already got six metrics to track – the overall ROI for your social media work, and the ROI for each platform you’re on.
Hint: don’t forget to include each platform’s contribution to your customer service efforts, or even to your recruitment efforts.
Before you can calculate your ROI, you’ll probably want to know how many visitors social media is driving to your website - and which specific platforms are performing the best in this regard.
As Lesya Liu, founder and CEO of Boundless Agency, says, “Conversion rate would continue to be an important metric that growth marketers and advertisers will continue to monitor.
It is probably the single most important metric in any business since it clearly shows how successful you are at your storytelling, audience targeting, and user experience.”
To track the amount of traffic from each social platform to your site, use a tool like Rebrandly URL shortener.
This tool allows you to shorten, brand and track every link that you create and share on different social platforms. It provides in-depth click analytics so you know exactly which links are performing and driving traffic back to your site.
Google Analytics can also help you identify which social media platforms are the biggest traffic drivers to your website.
Do those people who click through to your site actually buy anything? Social media traffic tends to convert less well than other channels, but even if your conversion rates are low, this is actual sales we’re talking about. It’s worth tracking.
Here are some more granular sales metrics you might want to keep an eye on as well:
Hubspot and Salesforce are great CRM platforms that help determine total revenue generated by marketing channels - social media included.
And if you’d like an all-in-one social reporting tool, Whatagraph is an excellent option. It provides weekly, monthly, and annual sales summaries and breaks down which channel is driving the most sales.
It’s unusual to get a sale from a first-time social media visitor, but you can often convert these visitors into leads.
Once again, this metric can be split into many separate, contributing metrics:
Those four metrics conclude the business side of social media metrics. Depending on which ones you decide to track, you might already have more than twenty metrics (including referrals and click-through rates).
It’s also quite possible that you’ll want to break these metrics into a separate analytics report for certain people at your company (typically, the C-Suite and financial folks, and your marketing manager).
You can track your leads in the same way you track your conversions and revenue. Either manually through Google Analytics, Hubspot, Salesforce, or with a reporting tool like Whatagraph that aggregates data from multiple channels in one place.
If increasing brand awareness is one of your top goals for social media, this is a key metric. Mentions are defined as just what they sound like – the number of times someone mentions your brand name or any other keyword you want to track (like products, or major campaigns).
There are several brand monitoring tools that you can use to track your brand mentions. Some of the best ones include,
Tip: You may also want to track mentions of your competitors.
This measures how people feel about your brand or a social media campaign you’re running. So if someone tweets “Love these new shoes from Nine West!” or posts “I HATE Comcast”, you’ll have reports that record those opinions as positive or negative sentiment.
Sentiment is a smart thing to monitor because – so long as you get updates regularly – you’ll know if a PR problem is afoot. A sudden spike in negative sentiment is a sign of a social media / public relations crisis in the making. If you can respond fast and well, you just might be able to calm it down before it gets out of hand.
There are several tools available that help you track your overall brand sentiment in real-time. Some of the best ones include,
A big social media campaign or a viral post can cause a huge influx of new people browsing your profiles.
Step 1 - Select a reporting period.
Step 2 - Calculate the number of new followers you got in this period.
Step 3 - Divide this number by the total number of followers and multiply by 100.
Related metrics you may want to track:
How many people see your content on social media? That’s what post reach measures.
As Andrew Shober, marketing strategy analyst at "Slice Communications", says, “All marketing efforts need to start with awareness. Customers can only engage with your business if they know you exist. To measure awareness, reach/impressions are the key metrics, especially for businesses that are just getting started. We need to be able to see how many sets of eyes we are getting on our content to understand if the beginning stages of marketing tactics are working.”
If you see your Facebook reach falling, that might be a good reason to invest in Facebook advertising to keep engagement rates up. Or perhaps look into diversifying your social media startegy.
Step 1 - Measure the reach of a single post.
Step 2 - Divide this number by the total number of your followers and multiply by 100.
Who are the people that view and enageg with your content? That’s what demographics data shows. You’ll need this information to tailor your advertisements correctly that resonates with your target demographic.
Demographic information is also really helpful for creating marketing personas for potential audiences, too. And it can be interesting to see the difference in demographic profiles between website visitors and social media audiences.
The best way to find out who’s following you is by keeping an eye on your social media data and insights. Each platform offers analytics and insights into your profile.
Once you have over 100 people following you, you can also view the demographic data of your audience.
Twitter Analytics - Twitter presents a monthly report card that breaks down who’s responding to your content with a gallery of your best monthly posts.
YouTube Studio - “You can use analytics to better understand your video and channel performance with key metrics and reports in YouTube Studio.”
You can also use social reporting tools like Whatagraph to further understand your audience and get a breakdown of their demographic.
SOV = your company’s marketing and advertising / the total market’s marketing and advertising.
Is this a “vanity” metric? Maybe… but it’s also a metric people care about. And if you’re on social media for brand awareness, this is a helpful way to measure that.
Social share of voice can be measured through several different metrics including hashtags, brand mentions, engagement, etc.
The easiest way to track your brand’s social share of voice is by using one of the many social listening and monitoring tools available online.
Keyhole is a great online tool to invest in.
These are your social media “greatest hits”.
But “greatest” depends on how you define it – does it mean the social media posts or shares with the greatest engagement, or the social media posts that got the most leads or generated the most traffic?
Consider breaking this out by the week, month, and even by quarter. And consider breaking it out by different metrics, too.
You can keep track of your best-performing posts on social media by going through your social media insight and analytics pages.
Whatagraph social media dashboard template allows you to track all of the top-performing social media posts in one place. No matter what social media platform or platforms you use, aggregate best post data in one place and easily showcase results to your clients.
Engagement metrics include likes, comments, and shares.
'Likes' is a classic, basic metric to measure for any piece of content. Tracking likes and the number of followers helps to figure out the average engagement rate, which can come in handy when presenting reports and dashboards to your team!
It may not mean too much at the end of the day, but it’s still worth tracking.
Comments are a bit more valuable than likes – they take more effort from your audience. They can also lend insights into what your audience really responds to, and how they respond to it.
So it’s always a good idea to track the number of people who comment on your posts and reward them in some way to increase this number!
And let’s talk about the sacred 'share'. Most people don’t actually share too much about brands (few brands can compete with baby pictures, for example), so while these may not directly result in ROI, they’re something most marketers would like to increase.
The amounts of shares also signify if your content marketing team is creating optimized content for social media or not.
Step 1 - Add your post’s total number of likes, shares and comments and divide by the total number of followers.
Step 2 - Multiply it by 100 to get the average engagement rate percentage.
Make sure to choose a post that received an average amount of engagement. Don’t go for posts that received a very low/very high amount of engagement.
Tip - Create hashtag campaigns on social media to track shares!
Social media metrics are not one-size-fits-all. So instead of trying to track all of them, think of them more as a toolbox. You’ve got access to that toolbox at any time, but that doesn’t mean you should be using every tool for every report.
Minimalism is hard to achieve with metrics, but it’s a discipline that could serve you well. Especially when you consider that most human brains really can’t hold more than seven things in their mind at once.
That actually might be one way to trim down some reports. Which seven things does each team member need to know? Do they need to know a different set of seven things for different tasks?
If you’re not sure, ask.