Beyond Followers and Fans: Social Media Marketing Metrics That Matter

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Measuring the performance of your firms’s social media marketing efforts based on the number of followers and fans you have is no longer enough. Social media platforms have evolved and so have the analytics behind them. But which metrics matter most?

You’ll notice that “number of followers” is not included in this list. It’s arguably better to have a smaller following that is very engaged with your firm than a large following that isn’t. As advertising legend David Ogilvy once quipped, “Don’t count the people that you reach, reach the people who count.” And while the number of followers and fans you have is not entirely inconsequential, it’s not nearly as important as other metrics that give a better indication of social media marketing success.

Here are four key social media marketing metrics to be measured and analyzed on an ongoing basis.

1. Reach and Impressions

Many people have started using the phrases “reach” and “impressions” interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Reach is the number of people that see content. Impressions are the number of times content is delivered to a user’s feed – and a user doesn’t have to engage with a post for it to count as an impression. Because of this, users can have several different impressions of the same post, depending on how it is shared. Reach and impressions are both important – one helps identify the impact of a post and the other shows the potential size of an audience.

2. Engagement

Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest offer analytics that can significantly help companies learn more about their followers and engagement. While the metrics can be very detailed and provide a lot of information, there are a few top metrics that your firm should be paying attention to. Likes, comments and shares are common across platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, but each platform puts their unique spin on things. For example, Facebook also includes reactions as a way to engage with content. Pinterest tracks repins and Twitter bases engagement off clicks anywhere within the tweet.

These engagement metrics are key to understanding how your social media efforts are resonating with your audience. It gives you the insight needed to adjust your content marketing strategy to improve your content’s engagement.

3. Referrals and Conversions

The main purposes of social media marketing are to:

  1. drive traffic to your website and landing pages, and
  2. measure visits-to-leads (how many visitors turn into leads)

Both of these metrics are critical to measuring the overall performance of your social media marketing efforts. One of the best ways to measure effectiveness involves looking at your website analytics. You can use Google Analytics to track how many visitors are being referred to your website by social media and how much traffic you’re pushing to customized landing pages. When your website is optimized for lead generation, this traffic can easily change from a simple social media follower to an actual lead. So be sure to set goals and make adjustments to continuously increase traffic generation.

4. Click-Through Rate

You put hard work into maintaining your Facebook or Twitter, so the last thing you want is for your posts to go unread. Similar to your engagement rate, your click-through rate records interactions—specifically the number of people who click on the links and photos within your tweets. Facebook records these interactions separately from your Reactions, Comments, and Shares, and Twitter allows you to download this information in Analytics. If you share a high volume of photos or images, it’s important to know not only how many people have liked or shared it, but also how many people actually click on your images and article links to view them.

Businesses can take click-through tracking a step further by also tracking bounce rates. If you share content from your own website, knowing your followers’ bounce rate—how likely they are to view other pages on your website after clicking on your social media link—and being able to compare it to bounce rates for your website as a whole can help you determine how engaged visitors are with your content. You can use Google Analytics to easily track this metric through the “Acquisition” tab. Channels will be ranked from lowest bounce rate (where visitors are the most likely to view other pages after clicking on your link) to highest, allowing you to determine which channels your most engaged visitors come from.

Set strategic goals, measure specific metrics

Social media analytics can be overwhelming but they are critical to measuring the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts. Set strategic goals and then measure these specific metrics in order to understand how your social media is affecting (and hopefully improving) your business.


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