In the fast-paced, technologically advancing digital marketing industry, marketers are constantly changing the way brands, especially B2C businesses, engage with their target audience online. Social media has been the fastest growing trend in world history, with Facebook amassing more than 2 billion monthly active users since its launch in 2006. For reference, when the internet became publicly available, it managed to bring together 1 billion users in 10 years. Impressive, isn’t it?
Other popular platforms, including Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn have also quickly emerged as the go-to channels for social media marketing, where you can use ephemeral images and videos to drive conversions, generate leads, and create a more meaningful relationship with your customer base. So, whether you’re a local, family-owned, small business or a well-known, Fortune 500 organization, using one or more social media platforms is crucial to achieving your marketing objectives and monthly KPIs. However, you cannot just post arbitrary content online and expect quantifiable results. So, how do you make social media an asset to your brand, instead of a liability? Simple: Track metrics that are important to the growth of your business.
When it comes to social media metrics, you’re looking at hundreds of numbers that you can monitor and analyze. While some of these figures are universal, there are also some platform or business-specific metrics that you should keep an eye on to improve the performance of your social media marketing. Most social media channels offer an ‘Insights’ or ‘Analytics’ page, where you can track the metrics most important to you.
Let’s quickly go over what metrics you should be tracking:
- Page Likes is the total number of unique individuals who liked your page over a certain period of time. For example, you can track the new likes that your page has received in the last seven days, in comparison to the previous week. Not only this, you can also understand the geographical location of your audience (countries/cities), along with other actionable insights such as age group, gender, the languages they speak and how they discovered your page (admin invite, third-party apps, Facebook recommendations, ticker, etc).
On Twitter, you can get a breakdown of your audience demographics in terms of lifestyle, behaviour, language, interests, occupation, gender, household income, net worth and mobile footprint. Linkedin allows you to see metrics based on seniority, company size, industry and designation.
Having a clear analysis of your audience demographics allows you to create customer personas which can come in extremely handy when you’re designing landing pages, writing homepage copy and working on the overall marketing strategy.
Since you have access to a day-to-day breakdown of your likes and unlikes, you will be in a better position to gauge content performance. If you see an increase in unlikes on a particular day, you can go over the kind of posts you made that might have turned people away. Did you post too many articles? Was there an influx of text-based content, as opposed to images? Understanding the kind of social media posts that resonate the best with your audience help you immensely in improving your content in the future.
- Post Reach is the total number of unique individuals who have seen any content (text, images, videos, events, etc) associated with your page. Having a Facebook page is an excellent way to attract new customers and interact with the existing ones, but do you know if your posts are even reaching your target audience? Are any of your followers sharing your content with their peers or referring them to your page? Who exactly is talking about your content or page? On Facebook, you can track your unique visitor views, which represents the number of people who specifically searched for your page without clicking on an advertisement. You can also monitor your total page views in terms of organic, paid and viral searches.
On LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, Impressions represent the number of times your content was displayed on the timeline/newsfeed of your target audience, regardless of whether someone interacted with it or not. You can have multiple impressions on a post from the same person. For example, someone sees your post in their newsfeed, and then see it again when someone in their friend/follower list shares it.
What does knowing your post reach establish, you ask? Well, for starters, you will be able to assess which of your paid, organic and viral channels are the most effective. You can also assess how exactly your content trends over a time period, which can be exceptionally helpful when you’re planning promotional campaigns and other time-sensitive activities.
- Engagement tells you about the total number of unique individuals who have liked, clicked, shared or commented on your posts. You can also track the number of people who report or hide content from their newsfeed and mark your posts as spam. You can sort your post reach by organic or paid, fans (people who like your page) or non-fans, and impressions.
Similarly, on Twitter, you can measure the engagement by keep tabs on likes, retweets, favourites link clicks or replies on your posts.
In the Facebook’s ‘Talking About This’ section, you can get valuable date-wise data about the people talking about the page, including the percentages or demographics of people in various age groups.
You can slice or dice the post engagement data to learn more about your audience and the social media impact a platform has on your traffic and conversions.
- Check-ins are especially important for businesses that have a physical presence in the real world, as they give you a cumulative number of people who ‘checked-in’ into one of your store locations and posted about it on their social media. You can see who these customers are, where they live, their gender/age, and how frequently they make a purchase from your stores.
Using this data, you can only identify your most loyal customers and offer a loyalty incentive and referral incentive to them. Not only this, you can also monitor what your busiest days are to ensure an enhanced customer experience in an event of a full house. As a side-note, you can ask your visitors to check-in for a small reward (like a free drink or discount) so that more people can come to know about your brand and drop by.
Now that you’re aware of the metrics you can track on the most popular social media networks, let’s take a look at how you can go beyond the ‘Insights’ page of these platforms and use Google Analytics to dig deeper.
As a business owner, Google Analytics can help you combine your conversion goals and social media data to generate a more in-depth report on what’s working/what’s not working.
- Social referral gives you a detailed breakdown of the sessions (when a user is active on your website), page views (when a landing page loads on a browser), average session duration and an average number of pages viewed per session from your active social media channels. For example, the figure 1.0 shows that Twitter, with 18,176 sessions, 58,446 page views, average session duration of 8:23 minutes and an average of 3.22 pages per session, is the most profitable social media channel for this particular website, followed by Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
- If you’re an eCommerce store, Social Conversion tells you the total number of conversions that took place as a direct result of your active social media presence and the transaction value of the conversion in your preferred currency. For example, the figure 1.1 shows that 123 conversions with a total transaction value of $2,120 happened because of visitors who landed on your website through Facebook.
Probing into your social media performance metrics helps you determine where to direct your time, energy and resources, when it comes to specific social media channels. Besides monitoring your followers and engagement, understanding which networks actually help your bottom line can be game-changing for your business. Ultimately, the key is to accumulate all the data you can and pinpoint emerging patterns or meaningful insights from it. With a little trial-and-error, you’ll not only be able to identify the numbers that matter to you, but will also learn how to make the most of them in order to scale your business.