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Social Media Metrics – What to Track and Why

Humans have always been social. We enjoy sharing meals, telling stories over a campfire, and surrounding ourselves with thoughtful conversations and lively discussions. Some of our most impressive inventions revolve around our communication and social interactions, so it’s no surprise that social media caught on quickly.

Social media started as a way to connect with friends and quickly became an impressive way to meet new people, support causes, and interact with brands and businesses. As brands recognized social media’s impact and started creating accounts, the discussions of data, metrics, and ownership quickly followed.

Deciding to review and consider social media data for a business should be a no brainer, but with so much data to cover how do you decide what’s the most important? What should you focus on? In this post, we discuss important social media metrics and when to appropriately track them to get the best understanding of your social media presence.

Because the information we pull from data allows us to make educated decisions involving many aspects of business, it’s wise not to jump in and draw conclusions without proper consideration. What might seem like correlating events or key indicators may simply be coincidence. By collecting and reviewing this information on a regular basis will set a baseline and ensure the data is correct and consistent.

Growing your following is an important part of being social. Regularly tracking the number of likes on a page or the number of followers an account has can help identify growth or decline. This same information can answer questions of how the growth happens by determining if new followers were a result of a press release, product launch, social campaign, or perhaps a normal spurt of growth that comes from your brand gaining popularity. Without tracking this information over time it would be difficult to pinpoint these identifiers. As much as likes and followers are important to the health of your account, social media wouldn’t be social without engagement and interaction from your following.

Understanding your engagement rate is a must for managing a social media presence as it illustrates the performance of your account and social media efforts. Who is interacting, how often are they interacting, what types of content is getting the best reaction, and how often are people sharing my content? All these metrics along with the ratio of followers that you have determine your engagement rate. Focusing on engagement rate and strengthening your online community encourages people to interact with your brand and become active brand stewards. By monitoring over time, you’ll be able to determine what content your community is more likely engage with and how to nurture those relationships.

There are some metrics that you should keep track of consistently (followers and engagement rate) and others that should be tracked in relation to specific campaigns.  Campaign metrics can be especially helpful in depicting the outcome of a campaign. Since campaigns are typically geared towards a promoting specific aspect of business, it’s crucial to track the mentions of a campaign to see how it fared.

New campaigns typically bring out excitement and conversations about the brand and the current campaign, tracking mentions about the campaign and brand allows you to understand the popularity of the campaign. Not only will you begin to understand the sheer volume of mentions but you can view the sentiment associated with those mentions. Did the campaign garner positive, negative, or neutral sentiment from the public? Use the information surfaced by tracking mentions to evaluate strong points or weaknesses for this campaign and apply it to others in the future.

Also with this information, we aware of where the conversations are taking place on the web about your brand and campaign. With Share of Voice, understand what is dominating the conversation and where. Perhaps you’ll find that conversations about your brand typically happen on Twitter but since you release your new campaign, the conversation shifted to Facebook.

Whether you’re dabbling in social media or taking it on as a massive part of your marketing strategy, understanding your data and recognizing key indicators is important. A social media analytics tool like Viralheat can surface this information and lay it out in a digestible, easy-to-understand format. Social media is more than pictures and funny sayings to share with your friends – it’s an important business tool that provides an avenue to connect with your users and collect data on your market space.

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