The complete social media measurement guide
Of course you're using social media. But... how are you measuring results? If you don't use social media measurement, how will you know if your campaigns are working or not? Are you meeting your business objectives - engagement, revenue, ROI? I’m going to show you how to measure your social media campaigns, to improve and take home the prize!
Presenting your results, you’ll have to produce comprehensive reports. Download three simulated reports, from the Talkwalker platform, to see how they should look!
We agree that social media can’t be ignored. We’re all there. Our customers are there. Our prospects are there. 90% of marketers state that social media marketing increases brand exposure.
Talkwalker's Quick Search - social media can’t be ignored!
As marketers, we also realize the importance of measuring performance. Proving results. Proving we’ve reached our goals. Proving ROI.
First up, we’ll look at what social media marketing brings to your business. Then I’ll show you the what, why, and how of social media measurement.
Table of contents
- What will social media marketing bring to my business?
- Social media measurement delivers the prize!
- 8 steps to social media measurement
- Social media measurement tools
- Reporting social media measurement results
- Free social media measurement reporting templates
Social media has become one of the most significant tools that you as a digital marketer can use. A tool that’ll help your brand reach millions of consumers worldwide. If you’re not using this profitable channel, you’re missing out on a free martech tool. A channel from where you can spread the word about your mission, your brand, your products. Use social media as a digital marketing tool and you’ll reap the benefits.
Improve brand awareness
Create social media profiles for your business and start networking with others to increase brand visibility and recognition. Along with awareness, you’ll improve consumer experience and expand your audience.
Social media is all about being social. Engaging and interacting with consumers. You’ll learn about their pain points, product feedback and requirements. You’ll find user-generated content that will benefit your marketing strategy.
Satisfaction, loyalty, retention
Building a relationship with your audience increases customer satisfaction and reduces churn. Don’t bombard consumers with hard-sell product promotions. Understand that they’re connecting with your brand on social media to communicate with you. Whether it be to raise issues, complain, or praise. Avoid automated responses. Users are taking the time to leave comments or questions. They’ll expect a personal message. Wouldn’t you?
Social listening, hearing what’s making consumers happy and what’s making them angry. What product features are they asking for? What do they think of your new service? What are they saying about your competitors? By listening and reacting, you’re using social media as a free market research tool.
Don’t waste it!
Use social listening to track your strategy across networks, compared with competing brands (simulated report).
You’ve built a healthy relationship with your audience, proving you’re listening, proving you care. With consumers happy, potentially they could be your most valuable brand ambassadors. Don’t lose them!
Your website will love you. Posting content on social with links, opens a gateway for visitors to your site. Watch your conversion rate increase!
Yes, Google does use social media as a ranking factor. The search engine tracks social content as an indicator of brand credibility, popularity, and presence.
What do you think?
No question, social media marketing will bring more traffic, conversions, Google love, customer loyalty and satisfaction. It will give your brand a voice, a personality. It will give your brand a competitive advantage.
But how do you know you’re winning?
Social media marketing enters you in the competition...
Social media channels are constantly evolving. Algorithms change and features are updated. This endless shifting of the goal posts makes monitoring your performance, a challenge.
The biggest of which is deciding which metrics are important, and how to analyze them. Let’s check them out...
The number of users who have interacted with your content.
Engagement your content earned - likes, shares, comments, clicks, retweets - and whether your audience are reacting to it.
Having a whole heap of followers - reach - with little engagement is not a good thing. It means you need to take a look at your messaging, because you’re being ignored.
KPIs to measure could include:
- Likes - we like to like what people we like, like - follow the cool kids - it’s human nature. Likes also talk to search engine and social media platform algorithms, indicating that the content is relevant and should be ranked higher.
- Clicks - if your post - title, image, meta - resonate, you’ll earn clicks. A high volume of clicks without shares means you grabbed users attention - funky image, title - but your content wasn’t up to scratch. High engagement but low clicks, means you’re not pitching well.
- Shares/retweets - this is an important goal. When someone shares your content, they value it enough to share with their followers. That’s gotta be good!
- Comments - if your content gets comments - good or bad - it’s a good thing. It means that people are listening, even if they’re not always liking. Praise should be acknowledged. Criticism should be solved.
- Mentions - for this, you’ll have to use social listening to catch the conversations about your brand that happen behind your back, when you’re not there.
The number of users your content has - potentially - been seen by.
Some might say that reach is an old school metric. And they’d be right. But, it’s still relevant with regard to how far your message travels. How many people are seeing your content. There are two kinds of reach:
- Actual - estimated number of people your post was displayed to over a period of time - but no guarantee that it was seen
- Potential - combines the number of followers you have with the number of followers your followers have - your reaching out, then reaching out further
How many times your content is displayed online.
Each time your content appears in a person’s newsfeed or timeline - either one of your followers, or a follower of a follower.
Why should I care?
The more times your content is shown, the more chance there is of users seeing and interacting.
Impressions are similar to reach.
- Impressions - how many times your content was displayed
- Reach - the total number of users it was displayed to
You’ve established who’s engaging, now you need to find how many are considering purchasing your product?
- A massive following on Instagram and Pinterest liking your images, but no sales
- Under 200 followers on LinkedIn, but regular sales
Which one should you address?
- If you’re not getting leads from a platform. Should you even be there? Are you posting the right kind of content for your followers?
- If you’re getting sales, but your follower numbers are minimal. Why? Build your list.
Check out the demographics of your followers.
The number of users who landed on your website by clicking a link. Compared to the number of users who viewed your paid media containing the link.
A high number of users clicking through to your intended content, increases the odds of purchases being made. Social media is ideal for bringing in new customers, with click-through rates showing you how many users have come this way.
CPM, CPL, CPC, CPV, CPA
Cost per thousand impressions (mille - thousand views), cost per lead, cost per click, cost per view, cost per acquisition.
These metrics demonstrate - how much your advertising will cost depending on a particular action(s).
Metrics per campaign
Campaign or event analytics with a clear beginning and end.
These will help you measure the impact of targeted/timed marketing initiatives. They’ll vary from campaign to campaign, depending on the different goals and time limit.
The number of users who respond to your call to action - download eBook, subscribe to newsletter, complete an online form, buy your product.
Saving the best until last, this is your ultimate metric.
Every piece of content you post should have a goal - subscribe, download, purchase. This is real ROI. You’re adding to your emailing list, increasing your newsletter subscribers, selling your product. Bringing in revenue.
A user sees one of your posts on Twitter, reads the content, clicks the free demo CTA, purchases your product. That, my friends, is a conversion!
This is where you’re going to need Google Analytics.
Google Analytics - acquisition tab - all traffic - channels - bounce rate.
In Google Analytics, track the bounce rate of your website visitors coming from social. Compare these to visitors who landed on your site directly, arrived via a search engine, or a paid ad campaign. With a bounce rate that’s lower than other sources, you can prove you’re targeting the right audience on social. The traffic you’re earning is valuable to your business.
It’s crucial that you measure conversions to find out where your best leads are coming from. Which social media channel is proving most effective for your brand. Which content pieces are performing most successfully. Photos on Instagram, promos on Twitter, videos on YouTube, etc.
How else will you measure the ROI from social media? You do know that’s a question your boss will be asking, don’t you? Not vanity metrics like the number of followers. Even engagement rates won’t float your boss’ boat when it comes to revenue.
This is where I show you how to prove the effectiveness of your social media marketing. Which of your posts are bringing the most traffic to your website. Metrics to measure and make sense of.
It’s not about presenting a heap of random numbers. It’s measuring the effectiveness of your social marketing campaigns. The ROI. What worked and what didn’t. Improving.
Deciding what to measure starts with understanding your brand’s unique value proposition and establishing your goals. Do you offer a product or service? Are you looking to increase engagement? More leads? Increase brand awareness? Improve customer service? Reduce churn?
Use your marketing strategy as a starting point for determining KPIs that are relevant to your business growth.
While there are many metrics you can measure on social media, being able to answer these questions is a good place to start:
- What are your goals?
- Are you targeting the right people?
- Are you engaging with your target market?
- Are social media users talking about your brand?
- How many of your followers are converting?
Your social media measurement strategy will answer these questions and give you the data to boost your business. Here’s how you do it and win!
Choose your goals
What are you trying to achieve – increased brand awareness, improved customer support, new products and features, greater community engagement?
- Specific - real numbers, real deadlines - who, what, where, why?
- Measurable - how will you track and evaluate your achievements?
- Achievable - work toward a goal that’s challenging, but possible
- Relevant - do you have the resources to make it happen?
- Timed - when will you achieve your objective?
SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely.
There are no right and wrong metrics, it’s what works for your business. At the end of the day, you want a reaction from consumers that can be measured. Ultimately, bringing revenue. Lots of revenue.
- Subscribe to newsletter
- Complete an online form
- Download content
- Request a demo
- Visit and navigate your website
- Engage with your content – share, retweet, like, comment, follow
If you’d like to learn more about establishing your goals and objectives, download my free eBook - Digital Marketing Strategy Guide 2019. It’ll explain how to plan, execute, measure, and analyze your digital marketing campaigns.
Match your goals to metrics
Goals sorted, you need to base your measurement on them. You must then develop a strategy that will steer them through the communication funnel.
Steer users through your communication funnel.
Here are some social media goals you might consider measuring, along with consumer actions…
- Engagement - retweets, comments, replies. The number of users. How are they behaving? How often are they reacting?
- Awareness – volume, exposure, reach, amplification – how is your content spreading?
Talkwalker virality map - watch your content spread as it happens!
- Website traffic – URL shares, clicks, conversions. Are visitors coming via social media? What are they doing on your site? Which pages are they looking at?
- Share of voice (SOV) – compare to your competitors. How much of the industry conversation is about your brand? How loud is it? What are your competitors doing to be heard? Which platforms are they using, that you’re not?
Talkwalker simulated report - Tesla SOV on Twitter, compared to competitors.
- Brand ambassadors – monitor influencers and fans. Who are they? What impact, engagement, reach, do they have?
Know your audience
Hey, we all get excited when we see our follower count going through the roof. No shame in that. But finding out where your audience is located, what languages they’re speaking, age ranges, gender, etc., is social media data that will help you target your content. Either to the entire audience or to segments.
Use Talkwalker’s social media search engine - Quick Search - to learn the demographic of your audience. Typically, you’ll be dealing with users that...
- Look at what you share on social, but don’t bother to interact
- Have a large audience that they can influence
- Are highly active in your community – names that regularly appear in your feed
Quick Search - knowing your audience demographic inspires targeted content.
Which social media platforms?
You don’t have to have an account on every social media channel. You do have to have an account on every social media channel that brings positive results to your business. You do have to have an account on every social media channel that your audience uses.
Which channels are your competitors using? Are you missing an opportunity? Are you getting results from a channel that you rarely use? Get in there!
Use Quick Search to find out how your competitors are performing on different platforms. Comparing market impact, you’ll find opportunities where you should be growing your online community.
Coca-Cola dominates the market with largest share of voice compared to competitors (simulated report).
Consider your product. If you sell flash sports cars, beauty products, or fashion, social media channels that are visual-based will work best - Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat. If you sell to businesses - LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook - are the go to channels.
Content that resonates
Creating content that is appreciated by consumers can only be achieved if you truly understand your audience. As I’ve already said, check out the demographic of your followers. It’ll benefit if you also check out their interests, professions, family status, etc.
Analyze your content to find out what’s working and what isn’t:
- What brings more engagement - videos, pictures, GIFs, text?
- Do you have a good balance of content - promotional, curated, funny, educational?
- Does your brand speak with the right tone of voice? Use the right words?
Selling skateboards is going to be a tough call if you’re using a corporate tone.
- When you ask questions, are you getting feedback or being ignored?
- How do you adapt to the changes on social media platforms?
Optimal posting times
I don’t mean to point out the obvious, but… posting while your audience is snoozing, is never going to work.
How to work out the best time to post content isn’t rocket science. Look at your most successful posts - high engagement - and note down what time of day they were posted. The favored time for posting is outside working hours - breakfast time, lunchtime, evenings, weekends. But, you should confirm that this works for your brand.
Don’t leave your social media channel posting times to guesswork. Download this free social posting times template, and make life easier.
Using hashtags ###
These little beauties will only work effectively if you choose the right ones for your brand, campaign, event, etc. A well chosen hashtag will not only improve the reach of your content, it will also strengthen your branding.
#JustDoIt - needs no explanation!
Hashtags make your content easier to find and highlight the keywords you’d like associated with your brand. If I use Quick Search to search for the hashtag - #socialmediameasurement - you’ll find all related and trending hashtags.
Quick Search - hashtags related to social media measurement for outreach to target audience.
Hey, another free template to help you. This trending hashtag tracker will explain how Quick Search will find relevant hashtags for your brand, and the metrics needed to proving their effectiveness.
Consumers are talking about your brand on Twitter. What’s the sentiment behind - neutral, positive, or negative? Measuring the sentiment expressed by consumers is important because if you don’t find and respond - thank you, may I help, sorry - you’ll damage the reputation of your brand. Plus, miss out on an opportunity to increase brand loyalty.
I’m going to look at burgers - stomach growl - for a period of 13 months. Quick Search sentiment data related to McDonald’s.
Take a look at my sentiment analysis guide, to learn more!
Ooh, that’s not looking good!
McDonald’s had a significant run of negative sentiment. Analyzing the spikes, we can see a YouTube video was posted that ridiculed the brand.
Here’s a taster of the shared negativity…
View this post on Instagram
Obviously McDonalds is not the healthiest choice, but if you’ve no other option, keep this in mind 👆🏽 FOLLOW @fitandfiesty for more fitness and diet tips 🥗🍌💪🏽 . . . Credit: @Lizhwangbo @Lewfitness 🔸QUARTER POUNDER WITH CHEESE: Each burger has 520 calories, 26g fat (13 g saturated, 1.5 trans fat), 1,090 mg sodium, 41g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 30g protein. Nutritionally, it is one of the WORST items to order. - 🔸MCCHICKEN Each burger is 350 calories, 15g fat (3.5g saturated fat, 0g trans), 600mg sodium, 40g carbs (2g fiber, 5g sugar), 15g protein. - 🔸BIG MAC - Each burger contains 540 calories, 46g carbs (3g fiber, 9g sugar), 28g fat (10g saturated fat, 1g trans fat), 950mg sodium, and 25g protein. Inside the Big Mac, you will find that two patties are topped with iceberg lettuce, finely chopped onions, pickles, and special sauce, while the bottom one also gets a slice of American cheese. In comparison, a Five Guys Cheeseburger has 840 calories and 8g more fat, so TECHNICALY a Big Mac isn’t the worst but with that said, it is definitely up there! - 🔸HAMBURGER - This ranks as the BEST BURGER nutritionally. Each burger contains 250 calories, 8g fat (3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), 480 mg sodium, 31g carbs (2g fiber, 6g sugar), 13g protein. . . . . . #health #fitness #fit #TagsForLikes #TFLers #fitnessmodel #fitnessaddict #fitspo #workout #bodybuilding #cardio #gym #train #training #photooftheday #health #healthy #instahealth #healthychoices #active #strong #motivation #instagood #determination #lifestyle #diet #getfit #cleaneating #eatclean #exercise #doubletap
79,612 likes on Instagram post - “Obviously McDonald’s is not the healthiest choice.”
You ruined my night, @McDonalds. Fix your damn ice cream machines.— Norm Kelly (@norm) December 10, 2017
Norm has 740K followers.
McDonald’s is a big enough brand that this level of negativity won’t do major damage. But, comprehensive social media measurement dictates that sentiment should be tracked, measured, and addressed. Or damage your brand reputation.
While social media channels do provide built in analytics tools, having a single tool that can track them all, is going to save you time.
Take a deep dive into social media analytics!
Before you choose your tool, confirm your priorities and goals. Ask questions of tool vendors…
- Where does your tool source its social media data?
- What’s the quality of the sourced data?
- What are the relationships your tool has with the social media channels?
- What level of customer support do you provide?
- What new features are you planning for the future?
You’ll need a tool that’s flexible, and keeps up with the constant changes occurring on social media.
Working in real-time, Quick Search allows you to track before, during, and after your social media campaigns.
The best social media measurement tool on the market - Talkwalker's Quick Search!
"Quick Search provides such an easy and user-friendly opportunity to deep dive into your competitors' social sphere; letting you harness their strengths and weaknesses to improve and cultivate a winning marketing strategy. For a specific breakdown of the importance of this, you should definitely check out Talkwalker's latest article on the necessity and implications of competitor analysis for your business and brand."
Christina Garnett | Marketing Media Maven
This is what you’re going to have to produce so that you can show your bosses what you and your team have been working on. Your targets. Your results.
Be able to answer these questions…
- How do your results compare to your what you wanted?
- How do they compare to previous campaigns?
- How do they compare to your competitors’ results?
- What are you going to do next?
Using social listening will enable you to track the strategy and results of what your competitors are doing.
Check out my guide - How to create a social media report. It explains why you should be reporting, the metrics you should use, the best social media measuring tools, and how to create automated reports. You’ll also get three simulated Talkwalker reports that you can download for free.
Decide how often you want to report. What works for your business…
- Daily reports
- Punctual campaign reports
- Monthly reports
- Quarterly strategy reviews
Consider the three Ps - protection, performance, and promotion. Doesn’t matter which reporting schedule you follow, as long as you do it regularly. Accumulated social media data will offer comparisons to prove what’s working and what isn’t.
- Set benchmarks and include contextual data so stakeholders can grasp what the results mean
- Include visuals of your results – graphs, charts, word clouds, etc., for comprehension
Your mission, should you wish to accept it, is social media measurement of your KPIs. Not to justify your marketing campaigns, but to make them better.
Check out how good your social media measurement reports can look. Professional, comprehensive, easy to understand. Download three simulated Talkwalker reporting templates and up your game!