If you’re not experienced at it, social media marketing can easily become a bottomless pit of noise and wasted effort, without moving the needle much on customer engagement and sales conversions.
The solution is metrics, or data analytics. There are some key data points to monitor on your social media platforms, because they’ll tell you where you’re getting it right with your marketing, or where you need to improve.
If you’re worried about how you’ll find the time or inclination to dive into data analytics, the good news is there are easy tools like RelateSocial, which puts all your social media accounts in one place. It does the work for you — AI analyzes your performance, and even writes your posts.
This guide will give you everything you need to know about social media metrics, including putting them into context to guide your business decisions. Once you get to grips with measuring your results using performance data, you’ll be able to level up your success.
In short, metrics give you statistical data to measure audience engagement with the content you put out on social media platforms. Engagement also signals the social media algorithms to help you grow your reach, because they’re all about giving people more of what they like.
Without analyzing the data points that show how you’re performing, you’re flying blind. You could be spending tons of time or money creating blogs and other marketing assets, but if they’re not getting good engagement or conversion results, there’s no point.
On the other hand, you could put a post together in five minutes that blows up on social media, and you’ll want to know exactly what you did right so you can do more of the same.
In summary, here are advantages of paying attention to social media metrics:
All in all, metrics will prove or disprove the belief that the money and time you’re spending on social media is worth it, because you’re getting a good Return on Investment (ROI).
For example, if a high volume of people are clicking through from your posts to your website, you know they’re working. Or if people are not buying anything on your site when they get there, you’ll know that’s the area you need to strengthen.
Being really successful on social media often involves identifying trends before the online space is flooded, otherwise known as ‘Trendspotting’. If there’s a new movie or product out that people are starting to go crazy for, being one of the first to write your posts around that theme will really grab people’s attention.
Metrics will help you stay ahead of the curve, by answering vital questions like these, and more:
Build Brand Trust
Brand sentiment shows how people are feeling about your company, through the positive, negative, and neutral comments they’re posting online.
For example, you may discover that many customers are asking the same question. This will indicate that you need to add a new explanation to your website FAQ section, or create a new blog article around it.
Sentiment analysis can also add to your competitor data, like if people are talking about a new company who they think offers a similar or better product than yours. By keeping your ear to the ground on this metric, you’ll gain valuable information to steer your marketing decisions.
Leverage Perceived Value
Value Perception metrics tell you the overall customer opinion of your brand's products or services, and whether or not they meet their needs. It boils down to demand for what you offer, so it’s vital to stay on top of this. This will be a clear steer on pricing, as well as areas where you need to improve.
Social listening tools, and Google Analytics will help you understand Value Perception or your brand. Or you can have everything in one place with at-a-glance insight reports, with tools like RelateSocial and RelateAds.
Set Realistic Goals
Data analytics will not only steer you in the right direction of what’s working and what’s not, it will also help you set realistic goals to better manage your business.
For example, if your Facebook channel is growing by twenty followers per week, it won’t be realistic to set the goal of reaching 50,000 followers in three months.
Or if your financial goal within three months isn’t matching your conversions, then you’ll be able to plan accordingly.
Let’s break down the four main types of social media metrics, and the most important data points that fall under each category.
There are ways to physically calculate these data points, but a good Social Media tool will do it for you.
Before we dive into the four categories though, these are two additional metrics that are important to monitor:
This data shows you how often people interact with your social media content, to steer you in the right direction with your marketing.
This lets you understand the strength or weakness of your brand presence on social media, by how much attention it’s getting.
These are the actions that users take, which generally amounts to people moving through the sales funnel.
While this metric category may not seem as important as the rest, bear in mind that building brand trust amounts to loyal customers and a lower advertising spend in the long run, because people will recommend businesses that give good service.
And with the popularity of social proof these days (people reading online reviews to decide on whether to buy a product or service), if you get complaints about poor customer support, it can be very damaging to your brand reputation.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to use a Reviews Manager, which puts all feedback in one place, and notifies you of bad reviews so you can respond fast. A good Reviews Manager will even help you make fast replies using AI.
While metrics give you data points to look at, analytics involves interpreting this data for insights that drive decisions.
If you’re worried about finding time to do analytics or that you’re not a data-crunching type of person, you’ll be glad to know that a good Social Media Manager tool will do it for you using AI, and give you insight reports that are easy to understand.
These are the six main analytics you need to know about.
Measuring your overall performance includes a number of social media metrics, including:
Tip: if you’re getting more impressions than reach it’s a good thing, because it means people are repeatedly viewing your content, so they like it.
This metric will help you discover which demographics are engaging with your content, so you can make sure to target them. It will includes:
You’ll of course want to stay on top of what your competitors are doing so you can stay ahead of the curve. A Social Media Manager tool will answer these questions and more:
If you’re doing paid ads, you’ll be keen on knowing you’re getting good ROI. An Ads Manager tool will give you this important data in your Dashboard, as well as help you get the best bang for your money with budget spend.
Key ad analytics to measure are:
Learn more about paid Ad metrics and pricing.
As mentioned, brand sentiment analysis tells you how people feel about or perceive your company, by monitoring when they mention your brand on social media.
You really get your finger on the pulse of your audience by learning what they say about your company. This will highlight the strengths and weaknesses in your business.
It will also help you to better engage with your audience. For example, if you have a large audience that loves pets, adding that theme to your content posts will grab their attention. Or if your main audience is an older crowd, using a tone of voice that appeals to Gen Z is not going to win them over.
Social media platforms give you a wealth of data about people, to steer you in the right direction.
Lastly, let’s look at the benefits of organic versus paid social media marketing, as well as the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track for both.
KPIs and metrics are often used interchangeably, but KPIs use metrics as more of a high-level perspective to serve your overall business goals. Measuring specific metrics is more granular, allowing you to track the performance of content assets or campaigns on social media.
Organic online marketing boils down to relying on the strengths of your content assets to get noticed by people, as well as by social media and search algorithms to rate you higher. You can make this easy using a Social Media tool that helps you write and reply to posts.
And to get your website found organically in search results, try out an easy SEO tool which gives you a customized task list with step-by-step guides (optimization no longer needs to be as complex as rocket science).
With paid online marketing, you’ll allocate a monthly budget for each platform and generally get charged via the Cost-Per-Click model.
To help you understand whether you should invest more time on organic content assets or paid campaigns, these are the key KPIs to track for each.
While organic social media activity is free, it has more of a time cost because you’ll have to create consistent and high quality posts that effectively grab attention and shares.
Examples include setting up a scheduling calendar for consistently regular posts (a good Social Media tool will have a calendar that auto-publishes when you specify), participating in groups and chats to grow brand awareness, and engaging with followers.
These activities may not see you get immediate attention or sales, but they’re a great strategy over the long run, to build a loyal community.
Key KPIs to track:
One of the main benefits of paid marketing on social media platforms, is you get to specify your target audience, and gain a wealth of data around performance results.
You’ll also get seen by more people, because paid ads will appear in the feeds of the audience you’re targeting, rather than your posts only being seen by your followers. This means paid ads are an excellent way to build brand awareness if you’re new to the market.
To learn more, see the Essential Guide to Paid Ads for Small Businesses.
Key KPIs to track:
Metrics, or data points, may seem uninteresting if you’re not a numbers person. But this article demonstrates that when viewed as analytics and KPIs, they provide vital insights to steer your marketing decisions for the best results.
Performance data makes all the difference between flying blind, or being able to maximize your time, efforts and money on social platforms to target the right audience and most effectively engage them.
Both organic and paid marketing are important activities for your overall marketing success, and metrics will help you leverage them. Organic is great over the long term to help you build a community, while paid advertising gives you a wider reach, and is excellent for raising awareness of your brand.
It’s understandable that most small businesses don’t have the time to dive deep into metrics. But with a good Social Media Manager, it’s all done for you, and with all your account platforms integrated into one Dashboard