Social media measurements come in all shapes and sizes. Some businesses like to dig into data while others prefer to tally vanity metrics such as likes and retweets. You may have seen, however, that “like” counts are disappearing: Twitter did away with them about a year ago, and Instagram just announced it is removing likes from others’ view (but not yours).
The reason for making likes invisible has much to do with the culture of competition in which we live. Social media for teens is all about who has the most (of anything) in the digital space. Certainly, not being able to count likes for marketers is disruptive, but no one said that the social media platforms catered to free users, right?
Social Media Metrics
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular metrics to measure social media effectiveness.
- Brand Awareness. How well is your brand known in the digital world? Can you track the volume and frequency that users mention your brand even without an @ symbol? If you’re literally a newbie in social media, don’t expect brand awareness right out of the gate. It will take time to boost content, monitor the Interwebz and gauge how well your brand is known.
- Engagement. What does engagement mean to you? Think of it as a two-lane highway with cars going one direction and others driving toward you. When you pass a car going the opposite direction, you wave, flash your lights, or hold up a sign. Well, not really, but you get the drift. Engagement is the quality of back and forth, give and take conversations you create on social media. This should be one of your goals: striving to create conversation with others in support of your brand, message, relationships, and more.
- Applause Rate. This is a meter for value and engagement. When you measure the favorites, likes and tallies a post receives in a given period, you know that your campaign is working. If someone finds your content worthy of liking, forwarding, sharing, commenting, they find value in what you have to say. When you count applause percentage, you’ll know that more of this content should be created and included in your overall strategy.
- Audience. This could be a topic unto itself as there is a lot to understand about audience. First, look at the quantity of followers you have. You’ll need to dive into the followers and delete the trolls, bots and folks who have nothing to do with your brand. If you stay abreast of this exercise, it isn’t too cumbersome.
- Audience Growth Rate. It’s important to measure the speed with which you attracted audience in a certain period. Let’s say you sent your sales team to an industry tradeshow and there you tied in tchotchkes to a follow on Twitter. Or, you spoke at an event, and during your presentation you invited the audience to follow your brand so they could get a copy of the e-book you wrote and mentioned. This is a critical metric to measure the effectiveness of audience engagement during a timeframe. You can directly attribute the rate of new followers tied to marketing events, in this case.
- Post Reach. It is important to understand the reach each post has. When you post something, did you get immediate shares, comments, questions, clicks on a call to action? Timing and content contribute to post reach. Hootsuite, a social media scheduling and management tool, says that you can divide Reach by Total Followers and multiply by 100 to get post reach percentage. The Facebook feature, “When Your Fans are Online” offers opportunity for greater reach when fans are on the channel.
- Social Share of Voice. Who are your competitors? Do you frequently conduct competitive analysis to see how well your competition is doing compared to your brand? Social share of voice shows how well you stack up against the competition. If you’re getting more mentions on social media for your brand than your competitors, then you have a higher social share of voice.
- Conversion Rate. This is one metric you can’t do without. You need to know when people click on a call to action, or a link that takes them to your website. There, if they sign up for your newsletter, that is a high conversion which means your content is not only valuable but doing what it is supposed to do: earning more leads and customers for your brand.
- Customer Reviews. A world of customers awaits brands that may get a positive review or a complaint. Negative reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other channels can put brands into a tizzy to delete the review, get more of them to push the negative review down, or just live with it. (Rarely, are you able to delete a negative review.) Remember, there are trolls that love to annoy, and this happens constantly. Give customers an opportunity to review their good experience with your business. The thing to remember is that the customer holds the power; they can now communicate directly to brands for all the world to see.
Every organization is different when it comes to social media measurement. Your job as a social media marketer is to understand your brand, your customers and clients and build relationships with valuable information in a consistent way.