Social Media Metrics for the (Quick) Win

analytics insights marketing social media Sep 13, 2019

Measuring campaign success is the core of all marketing.

So why do we so often ignore social media metrics? They're non-negotiable. Clients don't always understand the details of social analytics. That's why they hired an expert (you!). But it's no less important for them to understand what's happening with their social media. How do you translate social media metrics to someone who's life doesn't revolve around social media metrics?

How can you prove you're doing your job?


High-Level Metrics That Tell a Story.

Part of this process is educating the client. Adults learn best through storytelling. This is an opportunity to tell the client the story of how you did A so B happened and that means C so they can do D. It also gives you the opportunity to associate social progress with other projects or goals that the client may have as part of the mix.  This presents a holistic view of how social media marketing affects the different parts of the business from post to profit.


Eight Metrics to Feel the Win

Some of these metrics get a bad reputation as "vanity metrics", meaning that they just make us feel important and are not particularly important to the marketing holy grail: conversions. I challenge that assumption. They just need context and to be used correctly.  In this case, we're going to use them as part of a cumulative narrative the client will understand.

Each metric leads to the next part of the story. Use them in order to tell the story of how the pieces work together to reach their goals.

Total Post Reach

How many unique fans saw a single post. This is a good place to start when you're explaining virality and brand awareness. It's also usually the highest metric so it begins the story in a good mood. How to increase this reach? With the following metrics...

Audience Growth Rate

A month-to-month metric that shows how that quality content draws in and retains an audience who wants to hear the client's message and finds value in their interactions. The story often starts to change here for new clients because it's the first action we're trying to illicit: Like the Business instead of the Post. This is where many clients begin to understand posting itself is not enough.

Overall Engagement

This is the beginning of education for many clients. This metric is the foundation of explaining conversions, ads, algorithms, clickthrough rates, and all the data that fuels sales. It has three parts: Likes, Shares, and Comments. If you explain the first two you'll automagically isolate the third so you can demonstrate its importance. 


Likes per post

Applause, applause. The original "vanity metric". This demonstrates the first level of engagement which tells you the content has value. Enough value to create a physical response (click!). Audience growth and Likes per post are related. One drives the other. Give someone enough value so they'll choose to get more of it from you.

Shares per post

The next level of engagement. The content is valuable enough that the target wants others to experience the value as well.  It's the first step towards being a brand ambassador. It's a more intense physical response (click, write an opinion, post, wait for responses)

The third metric, Comments, will be the remainder of your Overall Engagement metric. It will also likely be the lowest. Comments are the most powerful type of engagement because the target is initiating communication with you. That's how social media becomes lead generation. These are soft leads. Showing the three engagement metrics this way makes it easier to encourage the client to invest in earning Comments as well as Likes and Shares. 

Clickthrough Rate

This is traffic.  Traffic is the desired outcome of those physical responses you've been getting from the target. This is the number of people that click through a social media post to your client's website. The content is so valuable that they might like or share or comment and that's cool. But you've touched a key point for this target and that's worth gold. It's one step closer to the holy grail: Conversion.

This can be a tricky metric to get as most social networks don't track this natively. You'll need a third-party app to put it all together.  There are paid services like Hootsuite that include this in certain plans and the good old Facebook pixel, of course. I prefer Google Analytics to keep track of these metrics but it does have a learning curve. It's worth learning it or outsourcing this part of the process. Where are your time and money better spent to get you the best results?

Conversion Rate

The number of people that click on the posts and then become paying customers. Technically a "conversion" is any of the actions you want a target to take: opt-in, taking a survey, downloading a freebie... The goal is for them to leave the social media network via your post and take the action you want. That is an engaged lead. That person is ready to hear your message. That person is ready to give you money.

Conversion rates on social are lower compared to other marketing efforts, like search and even email. This is because it can take multiple touches before a target converts. This is where listening audiences, boosted content, and ads come into play. All of which will be guided by the data you've shown in this report, not intuition or hopes.

Brand Awareness

Fame! This is how often your client's brand is mentioned in all social media during the reporting period.  Mentions, branded hashtags, @'s... This takes the vanity out of engagement metrics and puts them out in the world. This sort of context not only shows your client how the brand is growing but also which channels are the most effective, which posts/campaigns/themes were the most popular across the networks. It's literally a roadmap of where to apply effort. 

This is absolutely a job for Google Analytics.

Ending with this metric gives a final closure to the "story" of social media and teaches your client that it doesn't stop at conversions. Social media is a living creature that will never stop changing. That's why you're there to ensure the client is able to make the most of their effort, budget, and opportunities.


Social Media ROI Can Be Measured

There's a myth that social media works like billboard advertising: you'll never really know the ROI. The truth of it is many people are looking at the wrong metrics and not looking at them in context.

Your role as a consultant, marketer, social media manager, OBM, or any service provider who is the Subject Matter Expert (SME) on social is to ensure your clients don't make those mistakes.

I hope these "Quick Win" metrics will help you tell the story of your work, your progress, and what comes next for your client.

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