metricsWhich Social Media Metrics Matter Most?

When it comes to social media metrics, there are hundreds that you could be analyzing but which ones are necessary for your business?

With social media being the number one activity on the web, it comes as no surprise that businesses look to the beast it is to help harness its power to leverage marketing efforts.

While creating compelling content that inspires your audience to stay engaged can be daunting by itself, monitoring the activity and conversation can often times be overwhelming.

The first step in a social media strategy includes establishing goals. The last step in a social media strategy is measuring the results to see if the goals are being met. There are of course a half-dozen social media steps in between (that’s for another time). Measuring the results at a minimum requires you to know which analytics to pull to optimize reach, engagement, when to post content and of course the all elusive ROI.

Here are the top metric that matter the most, what they mean and why they are so important.

1. Audience

In this case, it’s not the size that counts, it is how actively engaged they are. The balancing act is growing your audience and serving them content that inspires them to engage with your content.

Many people believe they need to have hundreds, if not thousands of “likes” or “followers” in order to be effective. The fact of the matter is that with little to no engagement with the content you are posting on the social networks, a shrinking percentage of your audience even sees the content so having a thousand fans with less than 10-12% of them seeing your content is less meaningful that having 500 fans where 25% or higher see your content.

Bigger numbers lead to bigger numbers. The more engagement you get with your content, the more the social networks serve up your content to a larger share of your audience. The more engagement you get with your content, the more people will share that content with their connections leading to an organic increase in your audience.

Focus on your audience size but don’t ignore the engagement that should go along with it.

2. Content

Saying the right thing to the right people at the right time has always been the challenge with social media marketing. Anyone can post a status update on Facebook or LinkedIn. Anyone can tweet. Anyone can pin a photo on Pinterest but understanding the activity associated with the action is a metric that needs not be ignored.

In some cases a little A/B testing may be necessary in some cases the information is right under your nose. Facebook for example will easily tell you what days of the week and what times of day your Facebook audience is available – not available based on when you post content but available period. Pay attention to that information. When you are posting content on the Facebook page, make sure you post the important stuff when people will see it.

Other channels like Twitter and LinkedIn for example might require a little A/B testing where you try posting similar content at different days of the week and times of day and analyzing the result.

Pay close attention to what kind of content is getting attention.What content is getting likes, comments, shares, retweets, favorited, pinned, etc. will go a long way to satisfy your growing audience.

3. Audience Personas

Know your followers. Understanding the age, sex and location of your audience helps you create content that speaks to them in a language they understand. It also helps you understand where your target audience is and what platforms to participate on.

If your business is B2C where your audience is primarily females, in the 20-35 year age range, don’t put content that resonates with men who are greater than 50 years old as an example.

4. Reach

Focusing on your own analytics only looks at a small part of the bigger picture.

Understanding your reach tells you how others see your company as well – your brand exposure.

Social listening tools (Google Alerts for example) is an easy way to track and alert you when someone mentions your company or products in a post.

A study published in 2009 by GroupM Search tells us that “customers that are exposed to a brand on social media are 180 percent more likely to search for that brand on search engines.” Tracking company mentions benefits more than just the social media success, it also benefits success on other marketing channels.

5. Hashtags & Keywords

Understanding trending hashtags and keywords tells you what topics are popular or trending. What are people saying about these topics and how can you incorporate these trending hashtags and keywords into your status updates.

Hopefully this will give you more insight into what to monitor when it comes to social media, why these are so critical to pay attention to. Remember, a well defined social media strategy ends with measuring the results so you can be sure the goals you set out to achieve are being met.