Measuring the performance of your firm’s social media marketing efforts based on the number of followers and fans you have is not 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 measure and analyze on an ongoing basis.

1. Reach and Impressions

Many people use 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 such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram offer analytics that can significantly help companies learn more about their followers and engagement. While it’s important to measure the size of the audience that your content is reaching, engagement metrics will help determine if your content is resonating with your audience. This includes metrics such as likes, comments and shares.

Most social platforms include these metrics in their own analytics dashboards, but each puts its unique spin on things. For example, Facebook includes “Reactions” as a way for users to engage with content, giving the option to express different reactions to a post, such as “Like,” “Love,” and “Wow.” On the other hand, Twitter bases engagement off of clicks anywhere within the tweet in addition to “favorites” and “re-tweets.”

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

Two of 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 in terms of lead generation. One of the best ways to measure this involves looking at your website analytics. You can use Google Analytics to track how many visitors are being referred to your website from each social media platform and how much traffic is being pushed to certain landing pages. With the right social media content and a website that is optimized for lead generation, 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

With all the work that goes into maintaining your social media accounts, the last thing you want is for posts to go unread. Similar to engagement rate, the 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.

Firms can take click-through tracking a step further by also tracking bounce rates. If your firm shares content from your own website, then knowing your followers’ bounce rate—how likely they are to view other pages on your website after clicking on your link from social media—and comparing it to the bounce rates of other acquisition channels can help determine how engaged visitors are with your content and if your landing pages are generating and nurturing leads. You can use Google Analytics to easily track this metric through the “Acquisition” tab. Channels will be ranked from lowest bounce rate (showing where visitors are the most likely to view other pages after clicking on your link) to highest. This demonstrates from which channels your most engaged visitors come to your firm’s website.

Set strategic goals, measure specific metrics

The vast amount of social media analytics available 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 firm’s social media is affecting (and hopefully growing) the firm.