As social media continues to grow, it is essential for companies to be where their customers are: online. Although many companies know which platforms to use to reach potential customers—Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, among others—many do not know the most important metrics to track the success of their social media efforts.
Tracking metrics is necessary in order for companies to determine which posts are most effective in reaching their end goals, whether it’s higher awareness or more sales.
What Are the Most Important Metrics?
According to ratings and reviews site Clutch, the social media metrics businesses overwhelmingly prefer are engagement and conversion rates.
Companies that prefer high engagement aim for their posts to result in a high number of likes, shares, comments, and other interactions with their brand. When followers are engaged, it means the message resonated with them and provided value.
To increase engagement, companies should take note of what makes their most engaging posts so successful. Do these posts include images, quotes, or links to articles? Are they posted at certain times of the day or week? Keep track of trends and duplicate engaging posts’ formula. For example, if a restaurant’s most engaging posts are images of food posted just before lunch and dinner times when people are hungry, it should plan to increase that type of content in order to increase engagement.
Companies that prefer conversion rates want viewers of their social media posts to take a desired action, such as making a purchase. A higher conversion rate can lead to more sales and increased profits.
Increasing conversion rates on social media can include promoting a sale, offering promo codes, and posting about new products. For example, a restaurant that offers a free dessert with entrée purchase or posts pictures of a brand-new menu item is more likely to encourage followers to visit and make a purchase.
Although not as widely preferred as engagement and conversion rates, some businesses prefer metrics such as clicks to their website, where followers open a link from a social media post to a business’s website, audience growth, where a company’s social media followers increase, and impressions, the number of times a company’s social media content is displayed.
Analyzing Social Media Metrics
According to the Clutch survey, 17% of social media marketers say the biggest challenge they face with social media is tracking results. Many platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, offer their own analytic tools. There are also third-party tools that provide social media analytics across all platforms.
The first step in analyzing your social media metrics is to decide what your business wants to accomplish with social media, whether it’s more sales or more engaged followers. If your goal is higher engagement, the most important metrics to measure are activities like the number of comments, likes, and shares. This helps determine the type of content that performs best with customers. If your goal is conversion, many tools allow companies to track where leads come from; the more leads that come from a social media post, the higher the conversion.
After analyzing your social media, it is important to replicate content that has been successful in the past. If you notice higher conversion rates offering freebies rather than promoting a sale, continue to promote freebies to further increase conversion. If you notice a post with an image tends to get more likes and shares, continue to post pictures to increase engagement. Being in touch with your audience’s needs and wants and posting the content they prefer will allow you to find success on social media.
Social media metrics are an ongoing process. The type of content that once found success may not a few months later. It is important to keep measuring and adjusting your posts as necessary. Constantly improving your social media efforts can create engaged followers, which can, in turn, lead to more sales.