Which social media metrics matter?
Is social media a big thing in your company? Paid social. Customer support. Promoting content. Eating up time and money, how do you prove to your boss it’s working? What are you tracking? What’s your ROI? Prove it. Tracking critical social media metrics will help you improve your social marketing strategy, and impress your boss. Here’s how…
Are you a victim of social media overload?
Download my free bundle of interactive social media checklists and best practices.
Awesome, your social media channels are getting thousands of likes and you’ve heaps of followers. You must be doing something right. No?
What about newsletter sign-ups? Free demos? Sales? Sentiment? Not so good?
While measuring your vanity metrics can give you a buzz, they don’t always bring tangible value to your brand. But, with so many metrics, and new ones appearing regularly, which ones are critical? Which should you be tracking?
I've pulled out 20 social media metrics that are crucial to your business, along with how to track them, and the tools you'll need.
Talkwalker Analytics - social media metrics tool to track and visualize social data.
Identifying the metrics that matter will help you improve your social media marketing strategy. You’ll learn how many followers you have...
- What they like and dislike
- What they think about your brand
- How engaged they are
- Where they are in the world
- The language they’re speaking
- How many visit your website
- Their purchasing habits
- How many are converting
My social media metrics guide will walk you through the 20 metrics that matter. What they are. Those crucial to your business. How to find them, and what the results mean.
Table of contents
- Social media metrics definition
- What are social media goals?
- Why you need social media goals
- Why track social metrics?
- 20 social media metrics that matter
- Free social media checklists
Using social media analytics software, social data is used to measure the impact of your presence on social media, and the revenue it brings to your business.
The social data reveals how your brand is perceived by consumers. What they’re saying about your products. Audience sentiment - positive, neutral, negative. How they talk about you in relation to your competitors.
Measuring sentiment around fizzy pop brands, with Talkwalker Analytics.
Depending on which metrics you choose to measure, you’ll also discover click through rates, time spent on website pages, bounce rate, content shares, and more
Your social media goals are what you use to determine your metrics. Each goal should have a metric. This will help you identify if your social media strategies are working or not.
For instance… you’re looking to increase conversions. This means your social media goal is to increase conversions from consumers visiting your website, via a social post. Now you know which social media metrics to measure - social traffic and conversion rate of the social posts.
Don’t forget to determine a time frame. There has to be a beginning and an end.
Social media goal examples…
- Boost brand awareness
- Increase community engagement
- Increase sales and lead generation
- Grow your follower base
- Increase traffic to your website
Defining social media goals will ensure your efforts don’t go to waste. That you’re working towards potential success. Having already created your social strategy - your roadmap - your goals are your journey’s end. Setting your goals will...
- Hold you accountable
Critics call social media a time sink, and unless you’re disciplined, they’re right. Define your goals, and you’ll be able to justify time spent on social. What you’re doing to meet your business goals. Prove your worth and ROI.
- Keep you on track
Social media is one of the many tasks you have to complete each day. As it’s been dumped in your lap, it’s not your priority. Set some SMART goals, and you’ll see it as part of the big picture. A business goal that will bring value to the entire company.
- Support your budget
You’re going to have to justify money spent. Presenting your social media goals and strategy will help those holding the purse strings determine how much needs to be spent to get results.
Make sure your goals are SMART…
SMART goals - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely.
- Specific - real numbers, real deadlines
- Measurable - how you'll track and measure each achievement
- Achievable - choose possible but challenging goals
- Relevant - ensure you have the resources to meet your goals
- Timely - when do you intend achieving your goals?
- Increase newsletter subscribers by 40% by Q2
- Get an average email CTR of 20% by August
- Increase website visitors to 3500 per month, by June
Monitor your social media metrics to prove the value of your hard work.
When your boss asks you how your social marketing is performing. The consumer insights you’ve identified. The traffic increase. The conversions. Don’t tell them that you’ve won more followers. Your last post got lots and lots of likes and retweets. Highlight the big stuff. The results that prove that what you’re doing is awesome. Data-driven marketing, bringing more traffic, leads, conversions, sales.
Download How to Create Your Social Media Report. Including simulated reporting templates, this guide shows you how to share your results with the c-suite. To knock their socks off!
Talkwalker Analytics automated reporting tool.
All the social media networks have inbuilt analytics, free to use. Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, etc. Some require business accounts - Instagram, Pinterest - for you to access your social data. While useful, and free, you can only dig so deep.
Using a social media analytics tool, allows you to pull from multiple sources. Yes, they can be costly. But, the time saved on accessing each tool, creating reports, amalgamating all the different channels’ data - it’s gonna balance.
Okay, let’s get started on the social media metrics. Broken down into content, audience, social listening, competitors, and branding, each includes further metrics with detailed descriptions of what and how to track...
Analyze the content you share on your social media accounts to find what’s working and what’s failing.
How many posts are you sharing with video? Do GIFs work for you? Photos or graphics for your tweets? All your own content, or do you share industry posts from influencers, etc.?
For each of your social media channels, track...
- Posts with links
- Posts with images
- Posts with video
- Text-based posts
- Your content
- Curated content
- Paid social performance
Ensure your goals are SMART. It’s easy to say that you want to increase engagement on Twitter, but how will you measure your success?
For what time period?
Increase engagement by how much?
SMART goals will determine your social media metrics.
If you achieve one of your goals, you can set new ones, with higher targets. If you failed to reach a goal, ask yourself why? Missed your deadline? Targets too high? Wrong social channel? Content not relevant to targeted audience?
When do you post? Time of day? Days? When do your followers engage most?
Answer these questions, and you’ll determine the best time and day to post. You’ll understand what content resonates with your audience. Trending topics. Industry news. Quizzes. ‘How to’ posts.
For each of your social media channels, track…
- Number of posts per day/week
- Times of posts
- Days of posts
- Audience engagement best time of day
- Audience engagement best day
Looking for a social media scheduling calendar? Look no further! Download Dan's Best time to post on social template. Gonna save you so much time.
How many people could see your post? This would be if a follower shared your post with their community. If this was the case, a possible 5% of their followers would contribute to your potential reach.
This metric is an effective way to measure your progress. Here’s how to measure it…
- Use Talkwalker to track your total number of brand mentions for a set time period
- Identify how many followers saw each mention - the audience of the social account that mentioned your brand
- Multiply these numbers, to find your potential reach - the maximum number of people who could see your brand mentioned
--- total of mentions x followers of accounts that mentioned you = potential reach ---
How many people have seen your post since it went live? Good results will prove you’re posting relevant content, at a time when your audience is online.
How to track post reach…
- Measure the reach of an individual post on one of your social channels
- Divide the reach by the total number of followers on that channel
- Multiply by 100 to find your reach percentage for that post
--- post reach ÷ total followers x 100 = post reach % ---
The numbers you pull, demonstrate how people are interacting with your content. While these are important, if you’re looking to increase traffic surrounding your social media content, they only offer an overview.
For each of your social media channels, track…
- Total engagements
- Engagement by type - likes, retweets, shares, comments, link clicks, pins, etc.
- increase/decrease of engagement rate
- How many mentions
Engagement metrics can be found on each social channel in the inbuilt analytics. It can be a slow process, so you could use your scheduling tool. Hootsuite, for instance.
Average engagement rate
Likes, shares, comments. The higher the number, the better your content is talking to your audience. To prove this, you need to track the engagement rate of each post. Engagement rate relates to the number of followers you have. Here’s how to track…
- Add up an individual post’s likes, shares, comments
- Divide by the number of followers you have
- Multiply by 100 to get your average engagement rate percentage
--- likes, shares, comments ÷ total followers x 100 = avg engagement rate % ---
Nice tweet. I’ll click the link. I arrive on the website and I read…
My next action depends on quality.... of the content, the look of the website, navigation, loading time....
1. If the content is boring, irrelevant, inaccurate, misleading, I’ll click back to social
2. An ugly website, slow to load, hard to navigate, and I’m out of there
3. An interesting read - matching the tweet - I’ll move to another page and read more, and more
1 and 2 will leave you with a high bounce rate from social traffic. Meaning users were interested in your social post, but on clicking the link, the site didn’t deliver. So they vamoosed.
You’re looking to get a number 3.
You should measure your social media traffic bounce rate against other sources of traffic, e.g., email, organic, paid ads, etc. If your social bounce rate is lower than other channels, it means your social campaigns are hitting their target. You’re talking to the right audience and driving credible traffic.
Google Analytics is the tool for measuring bounce rate. Acquisitions > All Traffic, segment by social channel.
Google Analytics - Aquisitions > All Traffic > Channels.
Google Analytics - measuring social media metrics - bounce rate.
Lowering your bounce rate, is your goal. Make sure that your social posts don’t offer empty promises.
Is your audience commenting on your social content? Tracking how much conversation your posts inspire, will prove that you’ve found the right tone of voice and topics.
Track the rate of comments per post, in relation to the number of followers. 30 comments per post, when you only have 250 followers, is awesome. 30 comments per post, if you’re Cristiano Ronaldo, is embarrassing.
How to track…
- Use Talkwalker Analytics to count the total number of comments you received for a specific time period
- Divide the total by your number of followers, and multiply by 100 - bingo!
--- comments ÷ followers x 100 = conversation % ---
Paid social media ads
You need full visibility of all your social campaigns, owned and paid. Tracking in real-time, means that all your media data makes it easier to optimize your performance and prove your ROI.Our new feature - Paid Social - combines your owned, earned and paid media data into a single dashboard. Reporting is centralized and automated, KPIs are streamlined.
Paid Social gives you real-time access to your paid ads' data, so you can update content that's underperforming.
Your Paid Social campaign dashboard will identify organic content that’s performing well. Meaning you can repurpose and create paid ads for your social channels.
Your social campaign dashboard helps you identify the most engaging messages and optimize your ad spend.
With all your social data stored in one place, automated campaign reporting becomes a walk in the park.
Fast, accurate, automated reporting with Paid Social.
Paid Social uses sentiment analysis - in 90+ languages - to find negative comments. Set up alerts,, so you can quickly manage potential issues.
Quickly find negative comments in your ads, so you can tackle issues immediately.
Is your audience aligned with your content? I mean, are you attracting the audience you want?
Your customer base is 80% male, 30 - 45, living in Europe.
But, on Twitter, your followers are predominantly male, 45 - 55, living in the US. On Facebook, it’s 50/50 female, global.
This indicates that the content you’re sharing on social media, is attracting the ‘wrong’ people. Could be bots, which are a total waste of time. Could be people that are highly unlikely to buy your products.
Monitor and analyze your audience data to ensure your follower base matches your customer base. Target your content so that you attract followers, likely to sign up.
For each of your social media channels, track…
- Total number of followers
- Who you’re following
- Female/male breakdown
- Biggest age group
- Top location
Getting more followers is great, isn’t it? You get a buzz, when you see your follower count going through the roof. Who doesn’t?
Use Quick Search to dig deep into your audience demographic, for all your social channels. You’ll be looking at...
- Audience location
- Age ranges
Then pull out users that...
- Look at what you share, but don’t bother to interact
- With a large audience that they can influence
- That are highly active in your community - their names will appear regularly in your feed
With the results of your audience metrics, you’ll be able to
- Segment your audience and post targeted content to different groups
- Understand whether your social media audience matches your customer base
- Find influencers to work with, promoting your brand
Quick Search - measure your audience metrics.
If you’re looking to go even further, and pull out social data from your audience, check out my Consumer Intelligence Guide.
Listen to the voice of the customer… ignore them at your peril.
Follower growth rate
Measure how many followers you’re gaining, month on month. The results will show whether your content is resonating with people, or not. If you’re posting enough content.
How to track follower growth…
Measure your new followers on each platform, per month
Divide your new followers by your total number of followers, on each platform
Multiply by 100 to find your follower growth rate percentage
Looking to measure an individual social media post, adjust your timing to a shorter period, before and after.
Customer loyalty & NPS
How much do customers love you?
Your customer loyalty metric - flashy name being, Net Promoter Score® (NPS) - measures customers’ satisfaction with your brand. For full customer intelligence, integrate this customer metric with all your brand data.
The NPS calculation derives from a single question posed to customers...
“How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”
Scores out of 10, please.
--- promoters - detractors ÷ respondents x 100 = NPS ---
- Detractors score 0-6
- Passives score 7-8
- Promoters 9-10
Read about NPS - Net Promoter Score Guide - Dan shares the calculations involved.
Customer reviews & UGC
I’m talking testimonials, comments, interviews, influencer recommendations, reviews, endorsements that support and praise your brand. We’re talking user-generated content, and you know what that is… free advertising.
“90% of consumers say that user-generated content influences their purchasing decisions.”
Share positive customer testimonials on social media and you’ll increase trust, credibility, and brand awareness. Oh, and sales.
How to turn consumers into brand ambassadors…
- Invite your loyal customers to write a review. Tell them what you want - be clear, specific, provide hashtags, brand guidelines, keywords
- Ask permission before you share a positive review that you haven’t asked for
- Credit - tag, name, mention - a user that’s posted a testimonial
Amazon using social proof to increase trust, credibility, and brand awareness.
Want to see how brands are winning at exploiting UGC? Take a look at my guide - How to get the most out of user-generated content - that explains how to create a UGC campaign, along with best practices.
This is a biggie. And I mean, a BIGGIE!
So big that we have a Social Media Listening Guide. It's packed with details on how to perform a social listening audit, and the tools you'll need. Check it out!
Use social listening to dig deep into your social media data, and you’ll identify what consumers are saying about your brand. What they’re feeling. The sentiment of conversations - positive, neutral, negative.
Monitor online chatter, and you’ll learn how to respond. Address a complaint. Apologize for a mistake. Post a thank you for a positive comment. Jump into conversations about your industry.
How are users behaving with your social media messages? Monitor what’s happening when a user clicks the link in your social post, and visits your website. Do they go to other pages, or bounce back to the social post? Do they respond to your CTA - subscribe, download?
Find the answers to these questions, and you can better target your social content. For each of your social media channels, track…
- Page views
- Bounce rate
- Pages per session
- Average session duration
- Which device is bringing most traffic to your website, via social- mobile, desktop?
- Which social channel is directing most traffic to your website?
Google Analytcs - social media metrics tool for tracking and analyzing web traffic.
Using a social media analytics tool, track…
- Number of brand mentions
- Percentage of sentiment - positive, neutral, negative
- Top influencer/follower
Tool suggestion? Talkwalker. Obvs!
Integrated with Google Analytics - all the businesss impact metrics you need to measure your social media ROI...
Google Analytics and social data integration for measuring social media ROI.
Share of voice on social
Measure how many people are talking about you and your brand on social media, compared to your competitors. Mentions include…
- @Talkwalker - direct
- Talkwalker - indirect
SOV is part of your competitor analysis strategy. It determines how visible your brand is. How relevant in your industry.
Talkwalker Analytics - social media metrics- share of voice.
Simulated social media report template.
How to track your share of voice on social…
- Count every direct/indirect mention of your brand, across all your social channels
- Count every direct/indirect mention of your competitors’ brands, for the same time period
- Add all the mentions, then divide your mentions by the total and multiply by 100 to find your social SOV percentage
Use a social media analytics tool for this process. It’ll be a whole lot easier and quicker.
--- your mentions + competitors’ ÷ total mentions x 100 = SOV ---
Remember the #ShareACoke campaign? Coca-Cola rocked product personalization when it replaced its logo on bottles with popular names. Then asked consumers to share a photo of their personalized bottles on social media, with the campaign hashtag - #ShareACoke. The brand reaped a fine harvest of positive user-generated content.
Not only did sales go through the roof - a 10 year decline in sales was reversed, 25M Facebook followers gained, 500,000+ photos shared - sentiment reached an all time high.
Social media metric analysis with Quick Search - #ShareACoke campaign from Coca-Cola.
I’m not talking about copying your competitors.
It’s a case of checking out what they’re doing. What’s working for them. What they’re doing that’s working, that you’re missing out on. Use what you find to inspire campaigns.
Competitor analysis template for Coca-Cola and its top competitors.
For each of your social media channels, track…
- SWOT of your competitors - strengths, weakness, etc.
- Competitors’ markets are you ignoring countries?
- Competitors’ influencers - would they work with you?
- Who’s following them?
- Engagement rate
My Competitor Analysis Guide will show you in detail, how to track your competition.
Aligning with your brand. Brand voice. Consistent from message to message. Images shared on social, match those on your website? Brand name correct? Branding guidelines that outlines branding specifications, such as…
- Terminology to avoid
- Company naming - capitalization/abbreviations
- Mission statement
- Visual marketing guidelines
- PR policies
- Best practices
Download my social media checklist bundle...
Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly checklists, to ensure you never miss a step.
This is about managing your social media marketing, rather than measuring metrics. But, equally important that you monitor. You need to track…
- Who’s looking after your social media accounts?
- How many people have access to your social accounts?
- Are they aligned - brand guidelines, tone of voice, social best practices, etc.?
- How often is the reporting done - daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly?
- What’s the average response time to comments, shares, retweets, issues, DMs, etc.?
Download my 23 social media tips to create a rocking social media strategy - best practices, video marketing, using hashtags, tone of voice, responding to negative comments, and more…..
There are many social media metrics available for you to track. Much as I know you love my content, I’ve only included the business-critical ones, otherwise this guide would go on forever, and ever.
Measuring social media metrics is vital. They’ll reveal whether your campaigns are working or not. Use the inbuilt analytics in your social media channels, along with Talkwalker for a deeper social media analysis.
Concentrate on crucial metrics - engagement, sentiment, reach, share of voice, response time, referrals, conversions - that’ll reveal the full picture of your social media performance. Fine-tune your monitoring, as you learn more about what matters to your business.
To help you on your journey to social media success, I’ve bundled together some essential social media templates...
Are you a victim of social media overload?
- Social media checklist - manage every day, week, month, quarter
- Social media messaging checklist - find your tone of voice and cut through the noise
- Social media glossary - 100+ definitions, phrases, tools, channels, slang, acronyms
- Emoji glossary - speak in tongues, winks, facepalms, hugs, smiley faces, angry faces
Don't wing it on social…