Ultimate Beginners Guide to Metrics for Social Media Success

Melissa F. | December 19, 2023
15 mins

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.

Benefits of Measuring Metrics

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:

Understand ROI

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. 

Identify Trends

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:

  • What types of ads are people best responding to?
  • What types of content are people engaging with the most?
  • Which social platforms are best for your type of products or services?
  • What keywords are people searching with the most?

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.

Need-to-Know Metrics

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:

  • Social Share of Voice (SSoV) — how many people are talking about your brand on social media compared to your competitors, based on keywords and hashtags. In other words, it answers this question: How much of the conversation in your industry is about you? This indicates the strength of your online presence.
  • Social Sentiment — measures the feelings and perceptions people have about your brand i.e. are they making positive or negative comments? Social sentiment gives you an important steer on where your strengths and weaknesses lie.  

Engagement Metrics

This data shows you how often people interact with your social media content, to steer you in the right direction with your marketing.

  • Amplification Rate — ratio of shares for each of your posts vs. the number of your overall followers. The higher your amplification rate, the more your followers are sharing your content and expanding your reach.
  • Engagement Rate — number of comments, reactions, and shares that each of your posts gets.
  • Virality Rate — the number of people who shared one of your posts, compared to the number of unique impressions (views) over a certain period. This measures the popularity of a post, and if it went viral you’ll want to do more of the same.

Brand Awareness Metrics

This lets you understand the strength or weakness of your brand presence on social media, by how much attention it’s getting.

  • Audience Growth Rate — the number of new followers your brand gets on social media within a certain time frame, and as a percentage of your total audience.

    As an example, if you have 10 followers and get 10 new followers within a month, that's a 100% growth rate. But if you have 10k followers and get 10 new followers in a month, that's a 0.1% growth rate.
  • Average Reach — number of different people who see your content. You can also measure the reach for your profile page, and each individual post.
  • Impressions — number of times your post was seen, including multiple views from individual users. Impressions can also be measured on your profile page.  
  • Video Completion Rate — lets you know that someone has watched the entire video you posted. If you’re getting low rates, you’ll want to identify which videos have higher watch times per viewer, and look at the ones that keep people watching longer so you can do more of the same.
  • Video Views — each social platform has different rules for what counts as a ‘view’, but in general this means even a few seconds. 

Marketing Metrics

These are the actions that users take, which generally amounts to people moving through the sales funnel

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR) — the number of people that saw your post and wanted to know more. It’s a good indicator of whether your content is good or needs finetuning.
  • Conversion Rate — how often your social content kicked off a desired action, like downloading an ebook, subscribing to your newsletter, or making a purchase. Needless to say, this is one of the most vital metrics to measure, because it shows the success level of your social media marketing.

    To be successful at measuring your conversion rates, you’ll want to get to grips with UTM parameters. These are tags that you add to your urls, so you can track just about anything.
  • Cost-Per-Click (CPC) — this relates to paid advertising, where you pay a set amount every time someone clicks on one of your ads. An Ads Manager will give you a clear estimation on this before you start your campaign, as well as cost per keyword and guidance on daily budget spend.
  • Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) — another aspect you’ll come across with paid ads, this is the amount you pay per every thousand times one of your posts was viewed.

Customer Service Metrics

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.

  • Average Response Time — how long it takes for you to respond to questions coming in through your social channels. It’s the equivalent to how long your call was placed on hold.
  • Customer Satisfaction Rating (CSAT) — how satisfied people are with the service they received from your business. To find this out, simply create a one question email survey, asking them to rate their experience from 1 to 5.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) — this metric measures brand loyalty as well a potential future sales, by asking how likely the customer is to recommend your business to a friend. That’s how you build a great community.

    Customers are asked to answer on a scale of 0 to 10. Based on their response, they are grouped into one of three categories:
    Detractors: 0 to 6 score range
    Passives: 7 to 8 score range
    Promoters: 9 to 10 score range

Understanding Analytics

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:

  • Clicks
  • Comments
  • Impressions (number of times your post was seen)
  • Likes
  • Reach (how many different people your content reached)
  • Sales
  • Shares
  • Views (number of people who took an action after seeing your content, like clicking a video)

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:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Device


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:

  • What industry events or promotions are they active with?
  • What is their engagement rate? 
  • How many people engage with their posts?
  • How many followers do they have? 

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:

  • Clicks
  • Click-through rate
  • Cost-per-click
  • Cost-per-engagement (whenever a user takes a specific desired action)
  • Cost-per-action (whenever a user takes action in a broader range)
  • Conversion rate
  • Total ad spend

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.

KPIs for Organic Marketing

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:

  • Engagement — likes, comments and shares of your posts, so you know if your content is doing a good job or if you need to invest more time or money for improvements.
  • Click-Through-Rate rate (CTR) — as described in the metrics section above, this measurement will show you whether people are interested enough in what you’re posting to want to learn more. This can also demonstrate which of your products or services people find most appealing.
  • New Visitors — track how many new people are viewing and engaging with your content per month and compare it to your social media activity. This will help you gauge your referral traffic.
  • Share of Voice (SOV) — by knowing how often your brand is mentioned and tagged compared to competitors, you’ll get a good understanding of your online brand strength to guide you in your marketing strategy. 

KPIs for Paid Advertising

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:

  • Conversion Rate — conversion amounts to a person completing any action taken by your audience that fits one of your marketing goals. That could be clicking through to your website, subscribing to your newsletter, or making a purchase. Calculate conversion rate of an ad by simply dividing the number of goal completions by the number of impressions. 
  • Cost-Per-Click (CPC) — this metric is a key indicator of marketing strategy success, from tracking spend and budgeting, to giving you a steer on how to position your brand and products or services. By A/B testing different asset approaches and seeing which gets the most clicks, you can easily see what works and what doesn’t.  
  • Post Reach — this KP looks at how many people your paid posts can potentially be seen by, and whether or not you’re targeting the right audience. Most social platforms have this data as part of their analytics, but a tool with social listening features can pull together a number of data points to help you gain even more insights. 
  • Page Visits — this tracks the journey people take from one of your posts to other areas of your online presence. These referral pathways will show you which pages are giving you the most conversions.


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


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Melissa F.

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