Five social media metrics you should be tracking

Facebook reactions, Instagram hearts and retweets – if your business is on social media, there is a seemingly endless list of metrics you can use to track the outcomes of your social media marketing efforts.

But how do you quantify the real value of a like or the benefit of engagement? If you want to substantiate the value of your business’s social media, here are five metrics you should be tracking.

1. Engagement rates on posts

Measuring the number of reactions, retweets, comments, clicks and shares on posts is better than nothing. But to get a true understanding of the relevance of your content to your community, you need to measure the rate of engagement versus the size of the audience you are targeting.  A higher engagement rate shows that your content resonates with your audience. Lower engagement suggests that your messages are either not achieving cut-through or your targeting needs assessing. 

To calculate engagement, simply divide the combined number of reactions above for a particular period of time with the total reach for that post. This figure is then multiplied by 100 to arrive at the average engagement rate your post attracted. This is a basic calculation and every social platform will have its own way of calculating engagement rates. It's worth taking into account the greater trends happening within each social platform and looking at the amount of competition there is in the market for paid media as well as the traffic on the network. You can also use a social analytics tool to compare engagement rates against competitors’ pages.

2. Organic and paid follower growth

The size of your community matters, especially when you want to reach users with a message organically. One of the best ways to track interest in your brand is to measure the growth of your community over time.

Your fan growth is a great way to measure interest in your business and your content. Organic follower growth shows overall interest in your business and could be driven by increasing brand awareness, while paid follower growth can demonstrate the relevance of your marketing message and targeting in your paid social media advertising.

For the best measurement metric, gauge the percentage increase of your fans over a defined period, such as month-on-month or week-on-week.

3. Social shares, retweets or reposts

When it comes to spreading your business’s message and obtaining genuine brand advocates, few indicators are as powerful as the share on Facebook and its equivalent on other social platforms.

Social shares not only show how your content is being amplified, it also indicates how willing people are to be associated with your brand and your content. To calculate your social share rate, take the total number of shares or reposts over a period (for example, monthly) and divide this by your total follower base, then multiply by 100.

4. Social media traffic and user behaviour on your website

Whether it’s paid traffic or organic traffic, one of the biggest benefits of social media is its ability to drive visitors to your website. Adding a tracking code to all social media links back to your website is best practice, but how can you go further to truly prove the value of this traffic?

Tracking the share of traffic and user behaviour on your website from social media and compare this to traffic from other channels.

Tools like Google Analytics allow you to segment traffic by channels, giving you the power to see what percentage of your total traffic came from social media and how those users behaved. Statistics such as bounce rate, time on site and pages visited will show the percentage of qualified traffic driven from social media, which can then be compared to organic, paid and referral traffic.

5. Brand search volume

While it’s easy to get tunnel vision and focus on the metrics in social media, many of your marketing and content efforts extend beyond Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. A report by GroupM found customers who see a brand on social media are 180% more likely to search for that brand on search engines such as Google.

Measuring the search volume of your brand over time in order to track whether your social media efforts are helping to put your business top of mind. Tools like Google Trends are great to gauge how much interest there is in your brand – plus, you can track competitors to see if searches for your business are going with or against the trend.

By implementing these media metrics you can start quantifying and qualifying the value of your social media efforts.

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