Your social media pages have thousands of “likes” and followers. You think, “Awesome, this seems to be working.” But sooner or later you think: “Why aren’t we getting more sign-ups on the website? Why are additional sales not coming in? Something must be wrong.”

You celebrated the vanity metrics only to realize they added no tangible value to the business.

If you use your social media analytics thoughtfully, they provide a peek into what your fans, followers, and customers are expecting from your business. With that information, you can learn:

  • Your audience’s likes and dislikes.
  • How many followers turn into website traffic.
  • How engaged your followers are with your pages and page posts.
  • The percentage of traffic that converts into your desired goal (e.g., sales).
  • Let’s dig into seven meaningful metrics that matter for most businesses.

 1. Social reach

One of the top metrics to track is reach – a measure of how many users your posts are reaching. The higher this number, the more exposure your content receives.

For example, look at the social reach of SEO expert Neil Patel on Twitter:

In the previous 24 hours, Neil reached over 600,000 accounts. This result is largely derived from his large number of social media followers (324,000) and effective video content.

While reach cannot be your sole metric of success, it is an indicator of how well your accounts and content can attract new audience members. How do you measure and track it?

Analyze your campaign reach. How many people saw your content (e.g., Facebook ad campaign)? The more people that see your campaign, the higher the chance you will acquire new visitor traffic to your site.

Evaluate the reach of individual posts. How many people saw a post? You can learn which post resonates (and converts) better than another to help inform future posts.

These reach metrics are usually easily accessible on the insights page (or tab) of your social media profile. Here’s an example of how Instagram does it:

2. Referrals

Determine how well your social media content leads people to your website by evaluating referral traffic.

Google Analytics is a great resource for tracking referrals. Go to Acquisition –> Social and observe which of your social media networks are driving traffic to your site and how they are converting.

To improve the referral traffic, create more engaging calls to action in your social media posts. Give them a reason to click.

3. Bounce rate

Users often visit your home page and never go further on your website. To see how frequently this happens, check your bounce rate metrics.

If your bounce rate is high from your social media traffic, you can see your visitors were interested in the social post – they clicked on a link – but the site content didn’t deliver – they quickly exited.

How do you measure and track bounce rate for social media? You likely are familiar with understanding the overall bounce rate to your site through Google Analytics:

To get into the bounce rate for social traffic, dig in further. Go to Acquisition > All Traffic, then segment by channels. For each social channel, look closely at the bounce rate. You can sort from high to low to understand which channels need attention more quickly.

How can you lower your bounce rate from social?

Ensure that your social media posts connect well to your website links. If you make a content promise on social and link to your blog, the article on your website better deliver. You also can offer more relevant content on your landing page to encourage the visitor to navigate to other pages on your site and add more engaging calls to action.

4. Follower growth rate

Follower growth rate is another important metric to show if your content is resonating with people. It helps you determine whether you’re posting regularly enough to grow your audience and if your posts resonate well with your target audience.

How do you measure and track follower growth rate? Every social media platform displays your number of followers and the growth (or decline). Benchmark your audience and set up consistent intervals to measure it. For example, if you’re interested in the impact of individual posts, you’ll want to look at before and after numbers in the short term. But if you’re looking to understand the impact of a campaign, you would want to look at the difference in a longer term.

If your growth rate is sluggish, consider implementing some changes to post frequency, content topics, format, etc. For example, if you post text-image content, switch it up with a video. But remember, you can’t test everything at once or you won’t know what factor prompted a change in your growth.

5. Engagement

Social media engagement shows how many people interact with your content. You may find that your audience engages more with an infographic than a text-based post. Or you could learn they prefer one topic more than another. All of that can inform your future content decisions.

A strong engagement rate indicates your brand is connecting well with your audience. While I noted in the beginning that “likes” are often vanity metrics, when they’re used appropriately – and combined with other engagement metrics – they can be helpful.

Analyze these engagement metrics:

  • Average engagement – number of “likes,” shares, comments across a set time (e.g., a week, a month).
  • Amplification rate – number of post shares divided by number of people who engaged with your post.
  • Virality rate – total number of shares divided by total number of views/reach multiplied by 100. For example, if 20 people shared a post that received 1,000 impressions, the virality rate would be 2% (anything over 1% indicates virality – the bigger the number the better.)

6. Social media audience demographics

Don’t overlook your followers’ demographics – gender, income, age, education, location, etc. Explore how well these demographics match up to your buyer persona’s demographics. If they are aligned, you can see that your social content is relevant to your target audience. If they aren’t aligned, revise your content to be more interesting to your target audience (or evaluate whether that audience is still the right one).

You can use Facebook Audience InsightsInstagram Insights, or the insights of your preferred social media platform to break down all relevant demographics with ease.

7. Fan base

People who promote your content or business on their social media platforms are your fans (i.e., your most loyal followers). Calculate your fan base by measuring how many people tag or mention your brand or share your content on social media.

Growing your fan base is different than growing your followers. While followers have some interest in your brand, fans are very interested. These top-tier followers are more likely to watch your video start to finish or to read a full blog post before they “like” or share them.

If you don’t have a big fan base, look at a competitor with a successful following to see what it’s doing on social. Recreate it but make it even better content.

These popular social media tools can help you gain deeper insights into your social media metrics:

  • Buffer
  • BrandMentions
  • Brandwatch
  • Hootsuite
  • Kissmetrics
  • SumAll

Get measuring

Social media can work wonders if you measure deliberately and regularly. Use these seven metrics to help you identify how to better your social content for a more successful content marketing program.

By MARTIN OCHWAT published JULY 8, 2019