5 Key Metrics to Track in Social Media Measurement and Analytics

Posted on June 21, 2016

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By Alyssa Curran

Ever since social media became a “thing”, and not just any “thing”; one that has become responsible for increasing revenue streams and brand awareness all over the world, the need to measure its impact has  become greater. Tracking metrics is variable depending on the type of industry you’re in as well as what kind of goals or KPI’s you’re working towards, but every social media team ought to be keeping an eye on these five numbers. Keep in mind that social media analytics involves taking a detailed look at many different measurements. All of those measurements work together to give you one overview at how your social media marketing is performing as a whole. Watch these numbers closely, but keep in mind that they’re not the end-all be-all of if your program is a success. Comment below with what five metrics are must-haves to monitor at your company, and why!

  1. Conversions
  2. Link Clicks
  5. Followers or Fans

1. Conversations
For a long time, social media was able to fly under the radar of not having to prove actual monetary value – until the term ROI (Return on Investment) became synonymous with your likes and clicks. Conversions, tracked via analytics through pixels or other measurement tags, can prove how and why a purchase or action came from social media. In the event space, we use conversions to measure how many people move from a social media post to register for an event. In an ecommerce space, you’d see how many people buy a product from a Facebook link. Complications arise when people argue that social media doesn’t make enough money or conversions to exist; though the time that must be invested in social media is extensive, not having social media is not an option in today’s digital landscape.

2. Link Clicks 
When you’re promoting a brand, product, event, or personality on social media, chances are high you use social media as a promotional tool, while your evergreen information and content lives on a website. Even though social media doesn’t favor driving people off of the site they’re on to other websites, it’s usually a top traffic generator. I use link click numbers from our different social media sites to evaluate if our copy is enticing people to read more. In addition, link clicks give you valuable information about if your social media plan is “working”. A healthy, engaged community will continue to thrive on sites outside of social media by taking action on pages you link to.

I sometimes have to remind myself that the goal of social media is being social. How do we measure being social? By talking, of course. The dialogue within social media is the heart and soul of how we use it as a marketing tool. Facebook comments, Instagram comments, Twitter replies or tweet quotes, comments on Reddit… these are all ways we can measure and analyze what people are saying about the content you share and post on social media. You do have to analyze comments objectively, however, as there’s the 90-9-1 rule, which states that 90% of the people viewing content on the Internet only “lurk”, never contributing to or creating the content. 9% sometimes comment, and only 1% actually comment. So don’t freak out if your commenting action isn’t ridiculously high: it’s more the observation that some comments occur and continually occur. It’s also how you activate your social listening. You talk, we listen. We talk, you listen.

You know your content is good when someone shares it. Social media functions as a digital bulletin board, and hitting “Share” is the main mode of transportation for social media content. A share should give marketers a warm, fuzzy feeling that somebody felt that the message they read was important enough to share with their friends and family. Shares are good. By the way – did you know sometimes just asking for a share, especially on Twitter, is enough to make it happen?

5. Followers and Fans
For a long time, some people decided if social media was a success based on the number of fans or followers. While this is still an important metric to monitor, it’s not the end-all be-all of social media. However, it’s in my list of top five because it does show long-term growth over time, so it’s fair to say it’s not necessarily the number of fans that is important, but the consistency of growth. For example, let’s look at the Facebook fans of a new artisan soap company. This small business starts with zero fans. A month later, they have 56 fans. The next month, they have 75 fans. The third month that they’re on Facebook, they have 126 fans. If somebody made a snap judgement and looked only at the amount of fans on their third month, they might think, “Wow, they only have 126 fans.” What they didn’t see was that their social presence more than doubled in three months, and that these 126 people have become vocal ambassadors of their soap, spreading their links near and far. Sounds a lot more successful than it looks, right?

So there you have it – five pieces of the marketing pie that make up some very important numbers to monitor. Which ones do you track, too? Do you agree or disagree? In the name of being social, please chime in in the comment section below1

Alyssa works on social media for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, a 60-mile walk to end breast cancer. When she’s not tweeting, “Liking”, or blogging, she’s crafting recipes in the kitchen, hiking, playing with her daughter, or buying more nail polish she doesn’t need. Tweet her on Twitter or link up with her on LinkedIn.




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