Understanding the Most Important Social Media Metrics

March 2016

Understanding the Most Important Social Media Metrics

You’re on Facebook. You tweet on Twitter. You probably have a G+ and LinkedIn account as well. Social media has become an essential consideration for businesses of all shapes and sizes today. Not only are these networks prime pathways to connect with your audience, but your customers also expect you to be there. Studies show that the Internet is the first place consumers turn today when looking for businesses to satisfy their needs, and social media has become one of the first places they go.
Of course, you need to measure your results on those networks – without information about how your posts are performing and how your audience reacts to content, you can’t market effectively. This is where social media metrics come into play. However, there are many different metrics, and they don’t all have the same value. Which are the most important? Actually, it depends on your goals. Do you want to increase engagement? Maybe you’re more interested in increasing customer acquisition. Perhaps you need to see more traffic going to your website, and aren’t all that worried about anything else. Your company’s needs and goals will determine which metrics are most important. With that being said, there are a few that have importance across the board, no matter what your goals might be.
Engagement: Engagement is a measure of how often your followers interact with your content in some way. This might be a like, share, retweet or even a comment. Engagement shows several things, including how interesting your content is and how far it reaches. There are several sub-metrics in this equation, including mentions, likes, comments and shares (each of these is a metric in its own right, but they build on one another).
Conversation: The entire goal of social media is to create conversation. It’s not about marketing. Too many companies get this wrong. Get conversation started, and marketing will come naturally. However, you’ve got to converse, first. There are many different sub-metrics here as well, including comments, mentions and modified retweets (where a user adds a comment to your tweet, and then shares it with his or her audience). Note that conversation can be positive, neutral or negative, so you’ll need to keep a close eye here.
Brand Awareness: One of the most common uses for social media is to increase brand awareness. The nature of social networks lends itself well to this use, particularly as part of your content marketing campaign. Some of the sub-metrics to measure here are sentiment, which is how your audience feels about your brand; follower change over time, which can tell a lot about how your audience views your brand; and follower growth over time. If growth is particularly slow or dips into the negative, awareness will slip (or there’s something negative influencing consumer perceptions of your brand).
These are just a few of the many social media metrics that may have value to your company. Your goals should inform your strategy here, which will determine exactly what metrics apply to your situation.

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