If you’ve got the right content, you are one step closer to growing your channel into the best in its industry and one of the best ways to start this is to know exactly what metrics to track and why!
Why Track Metrics?
Metrics don’t lie. Metrics will tell you what performs well, at what times it performs well and who your audience demographic is. Without knowing your audience, how can you grow a brand!
A lot of people assume the main metric to focus on is social followings: i.e. how many people follow your channel on Facebook or Instagram.
Whilst this number is important in its own way, it is not always a guarantee of engagement and / or sales. Large follower numbers in actual fact show you hardly anything in terms of sales and how well your brand is going to perform, especially if those followers do not engage and buy from you! However, this number does help show popularity in your brand and tells the outside world that you mean business and are doing something right on social channels. It also helps build trust, showing your audience trust you enough to want to hear what you have to say, which in itself is a good thing.
One of the key things brands tend to battle with on their social channels is the issue of engagement. Have you ever looked at a page and seen huge follower numbers and little engagement? That’s probably because the brand page has a disconnect with its audience – which is where tracking the metrics and getting to know your audience comes in very handy!
So what metrics should you be focusing on?
When it comes to the data capture / social media metrics, there are thousands of tools on offer and lots of information on these sites offering you different and sometimes confusing metrics.
So to answer the question ‘what should you focus on’, we’ve picked the 10 most important metrics to help you focus your social channels better…
Top ten metrics
1 – Audience Growth Rate on Social Channels
- Grow audiences who interact with your content
- Keep track of your content / engagement rate and if your audience change
Whilst we mentioned previously that you should not be focusing all your energy and time purely into follower numbers, you should be monitoring how fast or how slowly your page is growing and whether or not that growth is resulting in sales or more engagement for your channels.
To monitor this keep a track on your social channels every month to see how fast the page is growing. This is also a great way to see what months performed better and then review why that might have been; was your content particularly good that month, did you run any competitions or campaigns on your channels? These are all factors here.
2 – Audience Insights
- To understand who your audience is
- To understand who you are targeting and interacting with
The age, gender and location of your audience is a vital piece of information to be tracking regardless of what type of brand you are. This detailed information will allow you to see where your biggest fans are and where you might need to focus more attention, i.e. specifically target location led adverts and allow you to understand who your audience are, i.e. a 25 year old male from London. This information is important as it allows you to post relevant information, content and target them if you choose to create any adverts which means overall you should see more interaction and sales for your brand.
The key things you will want to be looking at are:
- Gender Split
- Age Group
- Activity (i.e when are they online the most)
Most social tools provide basic inbuilt tracking mechanisms which are in our experience the most reliable tools to use. Facebook is the most comprehensive offering insights based on demographics, page likes, location, activity and so on, while Instagram provides a basic 7-day graph to show you when users were most active and what content they engaged in on your channel recently.
When it comes to other platforms, the insights are going to be slightly different, so don’t be fooled into thinking that this type of tracking is a ‘one size fits all’.
With LinkedIn, you will have the option to track analytics in the top left hand corner which allows you to do the following:
- Explore page visitors
- Channel updates
- Page Followers
These types of metrics will allow you to stay up to date with all the happenings around your channel. However, we would recommend you keep an eye on your post stats to see how many organic impressions you’re getting and using this information for future posts, as quite often people click on and off pages but don’t engage with the content.
If a post is performing particularly well, it might be worth delving a little deeper into why (i.e. trending topic, insightful article) and creating similar articles in the future.
It is worth noting that with LinkedIn, your organic posts are only going to be seen by your followers or people visiting your page, but this does not always mean those individuals will engage, so having a budget behind posts is a great way to increase awareness and engagement; even if it is one of the most expensive platforms out there it gets results.
3 – Engagement Rate
- How many times people like / comment / share or click on your social media posts.
So you’ve heard us talking a lot about engagement, tracking posts and keeping an eye on the content that gets the most engagement, but do you know what it is and how to track it? For the majority of social media sites, engagement simply means the number of times someone has interacted with your content e.g. liking it, clicking on a link or sharing it to their fan base.
Engagement rate is a great way to measure success and help your marketing team understand how well a particular social platform, piece of content or website is performing for you.
With engagement rate, we believe that there are some forms of engagement that are more important than others. While all types of engagement are great (i.e. likes / shares etc) some just hold more gravity; for example people sharing your posts to their own pages (as this is in essence free marketing) and people commenting on your posts shows your audience have taken the time to engage with what you have to say, meaning a two way conversation can start to happen.
Community Engagement checklist:
- To engage more with the customer (i.e. talk to them, like their posts and engage with their content)
- Be social – your socials are about engaging with people not broadcasting your brand’s views and opinions, so if they comment on your posts – reply!
- Tap into your audience emotionally, get to know them and what they want, ask them questions in your social content, engage with them and re-share their pictures.
- Identify changes in your audience to ensure your content stays relevant; is your audience remaining loyal throughout their lifetime, or is your brand aimed at a specific audience / demographic that does not grow with the consumer.
4 – Reach Rate
- Allows you to see how many eyes have been on your content whether or not they engage with it
This is a great metric and one of the only that allows you to compare it to traditional media buying i.e. magazines / TV ads and so on.
A key metric that a lot of our clients want to know about is reach. This is different to engagement as it takes into account everyone who has set eyes on the social media post whether or not they have engaged with it.
The main thing to think about with this number is you are creating an awareness of your brand, people are learning about you and learning about what you provide, so it doesn’t matter if they don’t all engage with you, as they might on the next post!
You might also hear the word ‘impressions’ which is how many times that content has been viewed. Your impressions will always be higher than your reach because that content could have been shown to the same user multiple times (depending on the platforms you use). Which is why this number is not as important to focus on.
Other factors here – your reach rate will depend on whether or not that post was boosted or an advert or put out organically. If organically, you will find your reach significantly lower than the number of followers you have and this is down to a number of factors (depending again on the platform) such as post times and dates, algorithm.
5 – Organic Vs Paid
- These metrics allow you to promote organic content that is doing well on your channel
If you’re currently relying solely on organic reach, you will know the struggle to grow an audience organically and the amount of time, effort and energy that goes into each post with at times little reward. With platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn only advertising organic posts to people who already follow your page, it can be a real struggle to grow a platform without a little financial boost.
With platforms like Twitter and Instagram however there is the option to use hashtags to widen your reach and attract audiences who have interest in not just your company but people who are part of a community. They will in turn share and engage with your brand, causing a chain reaction within the algorithms to show your content to similar individuals.
When it comes to actually advertising on social media there are a number of ways in which to do this. Firstly, you can ‘boost’ a post already live on your page. Secondly, you can put posts live that do not sit on your page and will only show to custom audiences.
If you opt for the latter, you will have the option to market your adverts to one of three categories: Awareness, Consideration and Conversation. See the image below for a breakdown of what of each of these offer:
The great thing about Facebook advertising is that it will show you the audience size and the estimated daily results (i.e. how many people will click on your link / like your post). You are also able to manually select placements for your advert across Facebook / Instagram (part of Facebook). If you select automatic placements however, Facebook will choose to show your post to the people most likely to engage with it based on their individual interests chosen through your targeting. Facebook favours automatic placements, but we would always suggest choosing your placement, as your content may not be suitable for IG stories / In-Stream (shown to people watching FB videos) and only suitable for Facebook feeds for example.
If you are new to advertising on socials, it’s best to start with a modest budget and trial some adverts on Facebook to see your return on investment. It is also a great way to ensure you are reaching the correct audiences and to trial those too, which you can do through Lookalikes and then track.
6 – Cost per click
- How much it costs you when someone clicks on your ad
This is important, because for every person that clicks onto your advert costs you money which is known as ‘cost per click or pay per click. Because of this, you will want to know how far your money stretches and whether or not it was an effective use of your time and money creating that advert.
In simple terms, the less money spent per click is a better value for you and your advert as it will mean your budget stretches further and reaches more people- meaning that the total number determines the financial success of a paid advert. This is often run through Google Ads, but is again something you can track on Facebook and LinkedIn.
7 – Brand Awareness
- The extent to which customers / consumers are aware of a company / brand and associate it with a product or service, i.e. Energy Drink = Coca Cola.
In the traditional days of marketing, brand awareness was often conducted via surveys or polls asking individuals before and after a campaign specific things about a product or service.
Nowadays however we can log into Facebook Business manager and select the ‘Brand Awareness’ objective which is estimated ad recall lift (people), which is the estimated number of people likely to remember your ads within two days. These adverts are often used by individuals who want to find potential customers that are likely to recall their adverts and can be an excellent way to showcase your product and brand to a wider audience.
8 – Best times to post
- What times of day should your brand be posting content?
This is a statistic that you will only be able to find on your own social media channels (and perhaps now and again on industry specific blogs). No matter what you might read, because it is unique to your brand it is something you will need to monitor yourself through your own social media channels and not something you will find with a quick google search.
Each channel will have its own way to monitor this for you. It will tell you when the majority of your followers are online and the times they are most active. On Instagram you can find this in your insights and it will show you (in much the same way engagement is viewed) how popular your page is on certain days and the most active time your users are on. Often engagement and ‘best times to post’ come hand in hand, but not always.
9 – Listening Tools
- Tools that tell you what people are saying about you by tracking buzz words, hashtags and profile tags.
As you have probably noticed, a lot of these metrics intertwine and feed into one another which you will find is most certainly the case with a listening tool. Whilst you can listen to some degree through each social channel, you will struggle to keep up with the noise, constantly clicking between tools and working your way through the system. This is why we often suggest using a tool such as Hootsuite or Falcon.IO to track what your customers are saying about you, what they are tagging you in and what messages you are getting through.
This is in essence the best tool to build a solid reputation and following on socials. Listening tools have been known to help brands spot any possible issues that may arise through negative comments, posts or red flags before anyone else does.
Listening tools to explore:
10 – Conversion rate (link clicks)
- How many possible customers click your links
The conversion rate on most channels is to do with how many times people clicked through onto other parts of your channel / website or any links you had in the caption (or swipe up on IG).
If this number is high, it tells you that your message or post was interesting to your audience and that you’re tapping into the right type of demographic when it comes to content creation. If however this number is low (in relation to your follower count) you might need to revisit your content and review what you’re posting about.
This metric is often most important when running adverts i.e. ‘get this offer now’ or ‘shop now’ as you need to ensure people are clicking on your link back to your website.
Our top tip for ensuring the best result is to use clear, crisp images with a simple message.
Overall, there are thousands of ways to track metrics, capture data and ensure that your socials are doing the best thing for your brand. When it comes down to it, your socials are the face of your channel so it is vital that they reach the right audience and send out the right messages to potential and current customers.
With such a complex array of metrics to look out for and given their importance to achieving a strong channel, it’s important to ensure your brand is setting goals and objectives for each channel which in turn allows you to create KPI’s you can track and measure allowing you to see if you are reaching those original goals.
We would always recommend this is managed by a professional, so if you are looking for support in managing your social channels then get in touch with us today.