Did you know that more than 60% of marketers say that measuring ROI is their main challenge when it comes to social media marketing?

Social media marketing is a fantastic (and cost effective) way to get your brand in front of a targeted group of consumers, however many brands still struggle with how to measure its impact. As such, it’s very common for brands to rely on vanity metrics and not fully understand if their social media marketing is or is not driving tangible business value.

Check out these surprising stats:

  • 56% of marketers rely only on engagement metrics as success indicators
  • 21% focus on conversion data to prove value from social media
  • 33% of marketers say that they have challenges tying social media efforts to business goals
  • Less than 10% of marketers say that they can quantify social media driven revenue

So, what is the most important thing to measure with social media? While every element has it’s own value, and the importance of each will be relative to your campaign and business, here are five key social media metrics to measure to help get you on the right track.

1. Community Growth

Month-over-month follower growth is a good metric to track, however it’s not the most important by any means.

In theory, the more social followers you have, the more reach your content will get. Growing your social communities can help your content get more visibility, and even make your social advertising a little more cost effective.

Social proof is also something to take into consideration – growing a social following establishes a level of authority and projects that your brand is likeable.

When growing your community, don’t cut corners. Buying fake followers won’tt help your brand and will leave you looking foolish in the long run.

If growing your community is important for your strategy, invest some money in social advertising and attract a purposely-built and targeted audience. Do it the right way.

2. Impressions / Reach

Impressions and reach are two metrics that don’t get the respect they deserve. The amount of people being served your content (reach) and the amount of times your content is being served (impressions) can tell you a lot about how your content is performing.

The algorithms used in the social news feeds dictate who sees what content, so a rapid drop in these visibility metrics can indicate that your content doesn’t mesh well with the algorithms, and thus what people are responding to. If you’re running social advertising, you’ll want to reference these metrics to ensure the delivery of your ads, and to determine how engaging your ads are by looking at your click-through-rate.

Impressions and Reach are important metrics to track because if you don’t know how many people are seeing your content, you have no context on the amount of engagement that content generates.

For example, getting 25 engagements on 1000 impressions is much different than getting 25 engagements on 10,000 impressions. Visibility metrics help add context.

3. Engagements

Engagements are probably the most tracked metric for social media marketing – we’ve all become obsessed with being the brand in our competitor set with the most engagements.

Don’t get me wrong, engagements are great and should be measured, however, you need to also assess whether they’re driving actual value for your business? I would suggest that there’s very little measurable value to your business being driven by only publishing content that’s intended to get Likes.

Sure, engagements help extend your reach, but it’s important not to use them as your indicator of overall success. You’ll want to have a balance of engagement and other metrics (such as website visits) to really know if your content strategy is attractive to your social community and generating business benefits for your brand.

4. Website Visits

Website visits tell you if your social media strategy is going the extra mile and attracting users to actively seek more information about your brand.

It’s very important to measure website visits so that you can identify where your social strategy fits in with your overall digital marketing efforts. Also, you can learn even more by looking at the amount of pages your social traffic visits, how long they spend on your site and more! Great, useful data here.

5. Conversions

With less than 10% of marketers being able to quantify their social media efforts, measuring conversions is a wonderful place to start.

We recommend measuring conversions from social media just like you would any other traffic source in Google Analytics – though the one thing to keep in mind is that Google Analytics doesn’t’t always tell the whole story.

Currently, Google Analytics measures last-click conversions, meaning the traffic source that immediately caused the conversion gets the credit. The average internet user bounces around a lot before converting, so it’s very rare to see someone respond directly to social content piece and convert. Therefore, social media sites usually get less credit than they deserve for conversions.

I recommend getting familiar with Google Analytics so that you can start tying conversions to your social media efforts.

If you measure these five metrics on a month-over-month basis, you’ll begin to see how social media marketing is generating business results for your brand.

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