A Definitive Guide to Tracking Social Media KPIs

This post originally appeared on Falcon.io

There are tons of social media KPIs that you can track to determine your social media campaigns' performance and the ROI from them. Below are some of the must-have social media KPIs that companies should track to measure success.

Let’s be honest, no business meeting is ever complete without your boss throwing around the word ‘KPI’ at least a few hundred times!

Let’s be honest, no business meeting is ever complete without your boss throwing around the word ‘KPI’ at least a few hundred times!

So, what is this magical three-letter word that our bosses love to use?

Here are the three things you need to know about KPIs.

  • It’s a measurable value.
  • It tells you how effectively your company is achieving its key business objectives.
  • It evaluates your company’s success at reaching its targets.

So, put that all together, and you get the definition of a KPI.

“A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Organizations use KPIs to evaluate their success at reaching targets.”

Eh, voilà!

Each department has its own KPIs to evaluate its success at reaching targets. For example, a sales team’s KPIs can include new inbound leads, lead response time, lead conversion rate, and so on to track a company’s sales performance.

On the other hand, marketing can have marketing qualified leads (MQLs), sales qualified leads (SQLs), and cost per lead as their KPIs to track and measure their marketing efforts’ success.

And just like sales and marketing, social media has its own set of KPIs and metrics that need to be tracked and measured to make sure your social media campaigns and marketing efforts are paying off.

But then, what are social media KPIs?

Social media KPIs help determine the impact of an organization’s social media activity against its revenue. You would track your follower growth rate, engagement, impressions, and conversion rate, among (many) other things, to inform your business decisions and get a sense of how your audience is perceiving your brand and product offering.

There are tons of social media KPIs that you can track to determine your social media campaigns’ performance and the ROI from them. Below are some of the must-have social media KPIs that companies should track to measure success.

Social media KPIs for reach

If increasing brand awareness is on your radar, you may need to track your social media reach.

Social media reach tells you the total number of people who see your posts. Say you have posted a Story to your 500 followers on Instagram. The total number of people who may have seen that Story will be 500, making that your potential Instagram reach.

Now, add up all your followers from other social media channels, and you have your potential brand social media reach in total. Although, remember to factor in that sometimes the same person might follow you, say, on both Instagram and Facebook. That’s why you need to track other metrics in tandem to give you a full picture of your social media reach.

Below are some KPIs you can use to measure your social media reach.

1. Follower growth rate

Follower growth rate tracks the number of new followers your social media channels gain over a period. Tracking this metric will help you compare your growth rate with your competitors to see if you are lagging or in line with your industry standards.

To calculate the growth rate, identify the number of new followers gained for a given month and divide that number with your total audience count. Now, multiply that number by 100, and you get your brand’s follower growth rate on a given social media channel.

2. Impressions

We’re all familiar with the whole reach vs. impressions debate. While reach is the total number of people who may have seen your social media post, impressions is the total number of times a post may have been displayed to your users. And both are equally important metrics to track, people!

But remember, sometimes the value of impressions tends to be higher than the value of reach as one user can have two or more impressions. Here’s how that works. A brand with 100 Facebook followers will have their potential reach as 100 users. So, when the brand shares a post, a user can see the same post appear multiple times on their feed if friends of theirs reshare the same post. So, in this case, the reach will remain 100 but the impressions will be of a higher value because perhaps 50 of those people saw the post twice.

But that doesn’t mean that impressions are a better metric to track than reach. Like I said before, you need to track both these metrics (among other metrics, of course) to measure the success of your social campaigns.

3. Website traffic

What is the total number of people that land on your website from your social campaigns? Website traffic is a pretty crucial metric to track as this will inform you of the potential number of people who may convert into customers after landing on your website.

Using tools like Google Analytics, you can filter out your own website visits and get a concrete number of how many visitors you’ve brought to the site through social media.

Social media KPIs for engagement

What is the engagement like when people see your amazing social media content? What actions do they take after seeing your post?

To answer the above questions, you need to track what your engagement is like on social. Reach and impressions will only inform you if people have seen your post. Engagement, on the other hand, will tell you if people interacted with your brand’s content. You can track the below KPIs to measure your social media engagement.

1. Likes

Let’s face it, we love to be loved. The more likes a post gets, the better the engagement is. Getting a like is also an indication that your brand is being well received by your audience. So, be sure to keep track of the likes you get and compare them with the previous months to measure progress.

But please remember, likes alone don’t show the full picture!

2. Shares

While liking a post requires the bare minimum effort, sharing it, on the other hand, is a conscious decision and more impactful than simply giving the post a thumbs up.

Shares also mean that your users think your post is worthy of more attention, and that’s always a good thing. Well, unless you messed up or did something terrible and they want to share it with the rest of the world. Either way, you need to keep track of shares and retweets to gauge the success of your social campaigns.

3. Comments

Ultimately, you want your customers to communicate with your brand, right? I mean, it’s called social media for a reason!

Posting relevant and interesting content will get your audience to interact with your brand and spark a conversation with your followers. Tracking these conversations posing as comments will give you critical information regarding brand sentiment and the impact your brand has on your followers.

4. Clicks

Well, how else will you know if people are taking the action, you ask them to without tracking the clicks?

If people are clicking on the links that you add to your posts, that’s good news. Because this means that people are interested, and they want to know more. So, make sure you track the number of clicks and report it to your boss the next time they ask you how the company is doing on social.

Social media KPIs for conversions

Did your followers take any action after seeing your post? Or did they just like the post and leave it at that? How will you know if your social efforts are making an impact?

Social media conversion metrics are crucial to measuring the real success of your social campaigns. Tracking the number of people who purchased from your brand or signed up for a demo will help you attribute the credit to your social media marketing efforts.

Look at some of the KPIs that help track social media conversions.

1. Click-through rate

Let’s say your recent post on social is about the latest issue of your magazine, and your call-to-action link asks people to subscribe. Now, how will you find out if people are showing an interest in subscribing to your magazine?

For this, you need to track the number of clicks the CTA receives from that post. By doing so, you will get a picture of how many people are taking the action you’re asking them to take.

2. Cost-per-click

Cost-per-click, or CPC, is the price you pay for each click. Say you’re running a Facebook ad, and your ad budget is $4000. You get roughly about 700 clicks from the people who viewed your ad. So, this brings your CPC to $5.7 (4000/700).

By tracking your CPC and the conversions that come out of the social media ad, you can tell if your investment was effective or incompetent.

3. Conversion rate

Use conversion rate to find out the total number of people who purchased from you via your social media efforts. This way, you can tell which of your campaigns brought in more customers and which offers appealed to them the most.

Final thoughts

Creating a social media profile is the easy part. What comes after is what differentiates your brand from your competitors. Social media presents countless opportunities to communicate with your followers and extend the reach of your network.

At the same time, try not to look at social media data as mere numbers. Social media data has the power to take your brand to a new audience and inform your business decisions. So, try and love social media KPIs and metrics just as much as your boss does.

And if you’re looking to learn how to prove the value of social media marketing to your boss, check out Falcon.io’s free guide on  Social Media ROI to prove the worth of your social media efforts.

About Guest Contributor

Cision invites PR and marketing professionals to share their best practices and advice with the Cision Blog audience. To share your story, reach out to us on Twitter @Cision.

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