You have a social media strategy in place, and you’ve been executing it seamlessly. But how do you know if those efforts are paying off? Social media measurement is the key to tracking your brand’s performance on social media so you can see what’s working and what’s not. This is a crucial step to optimizing your social media strategy and maximizing your returns.
In this guide, we take you through the step-by-step process of measuring your social media performance. We also show you the key metrics you need to track. Let’s find out.
The 5-Step Guide to Social Media Measurement:
What is Social Media Measurement?
Social media measurement is the process of measuring important performance metrics for your brand’s social media accounts. This helps you understand whether your existing strategy is paying off and if there’s anything that needs improving. It can also give you an idea of what types of content resonate with your audience and how to better engage with them. Additionally, social media measurement is an essential step for understanding your campaign performance and tracking your return on investment (ROI).
So what can you measure on social media? Here are some of the ways in which you can use social media measurement:
- Tracking your content performance to see what works or doesn’t work
- Understanding what your audience likes or dislikes based on their response to your strategy
- Assessing the ROI of your paid social media efforts
- Measuring how your influencers are performing and which influencers deliver the best results
- Understanding how people are responding to your latest campaign
5 Steps to Measuring Social Media Performance
Based on the above description, it’s clear that social media measurement is a vital part of a successful social media strategy. Follow the steps below to effectively measure your brand’s social media performance.
Step 1: Start with a Defined Goal
First, make sure you know exactly what you want to get out of your social media efforts. This will help you streamline your measurement by narrowing down what to look for and what success looks like to you.
Social media generates a sea of data, which means you’ll have a wealth of performance data at your fingertips. But do you really need all this data just to see if people are engaging with the content you produce? If you’re trying to measure each and every metric, you’ll end up with a lot of noise that makes it difficult to extract insights you can actually use.
Perhaps you want to use social media to promote your products and drive sales. Or maybe you want to build a community by engaging your audience through social media. In many cases, brands may have multiple social media goals. Even if that’s the case, it’s important to clearly define all of them so you can shape your social media measurement efforts accordingly.
Step 2: Identify the Key Metrics to Track
The next step is to make a list of the key metrics you should be tracking based on the goals you’ve outlined. Which social media metrics make sense for the goal you want to achieve? Here’s a quick overview of the key metrics that you should track for common social media goals.
Brand Awareness Metrics
If your goal is to drive more awareness for your brand, you’ll want to look into metrics such as impressions and reach. While impressions measure the number of times your post shows up on users’ feeds, reach measures the number of unique viewers for your post.
Share of Voice Metrics
As the name suggests, Share of Voice compares your brand’s presence against that of your competitors. Volume and sentiment are two critical metrics to measure this. Volume measures the number of people talking about your brand or content on social media. Meanwhile, sentiment measures the feelings and attitudes that people maintain towards your brand.
Looking at these two metrics together can give you a more complete picture of where your brand currently stands in the market. For example, if the conversation volume is high but the sentiment is mostly negative, your brand reputation is likely at risk.
When you want to build an engaging community, it’s important to look at engagement metrics such as likes, shares, comments, and clicks. These metrics tell you how people are engaging with your content so you can get a better idea of what resonates with them. On their own, engagement metrics may not be able to tell you much else. It’s important to use them alongside other important metrics to get a more comprehensive picture of your performance.
While awareness and engagement metrics are great for social media measurement, you also need to track conversion metrics to see the actual impact of your efforts. These are essentially metrics that help you understand how effective your efforts are at driving action.
Conversion metrics don’t necessarily have to be purchases and sales, although those metrics will help you measure your social shopping ROI. Beyond these, any relevant action taken by your audience can fall under conversion metrics. This may include clicking on your link, visiting your landing page, or filling out your lead generation form.
Regardless of your goal, the above social media metrics can paint a complete picture of your performance if you strategically use them together. For example, combining your awareness metrics with your engagement metrics will help you understand how many people you were able to reach and engage for a specific campaign. This will give you an idea of just how impactful your campaign was.
Step 3: Measure Using Social Media Analytics Tools
Now that your goals and metrics are clearly defined, it’s time to start measuring and collecting your performance data. Most social media platforms come with built-in analytics tools to give you a comprehensive look into your performance. However, these native analytics tools may not be able to show you the specific KPIs you want to track. In this case, you may need to look for third-party social media analytics tools that specifically track the metrics that matter to you.
Ideally, you should look for social media analytics tools to provide real-time data on your performance. This will help you make informed decisions based on the most updated information. So, for example, if your brand is caught in a controversy, you might notice a sudden spike in negative brand mentions. With real-time updates on the spike, you can quickly analyze those mentions and come up with an appropriate response to mitigate the issue.
Step 4: Analyze Your Performance Data
Once you have your measurement data in hand, you can take the next step of analyzing them to extract valuable insights. This step involves evaluating your performance data against the goals you’ve defined in the first step. So you’ll essentially be looking at the numbers to understand what they mean in the context of your goals. It’s important to have historical data, or at least industry benchmarks, to compare these numbers against and make a more comprehensive assessment of your performance.
For example, your campaign may have reached just 500 people although there were 3,000 impressions. However, if your previous campaigns were often reaching about 100 people on average, that still means your performance has improved by a significant number. Similarly, a 2% engagement rate isn’t necessarily low if you consider that the industry average is 0.50%.
This step will be one of the most time-consuming aspects of social media measurement as it involves looking at raw data and drawing logical conclusions from it. What do those engagements mean for your brand? How has brand sentiment changed over time and what actions may have made a positive or negative difference?
Some social media analytics tools simplify the process by helping you visualize the information. You can easily track the changes in your performance over time, which will allow you to analyze whether there were any significant changes brought on by a specific campaign, post, or action. At the most basic level, your analysis should help understand the following:
- How your performance has changed over time or how your metrics compare to those of your competitors
- What types of audience you’re reaching and how they’re responding to your efforts
- Which types of posts resonate the most with your audience
Step 5: Adjust Your Social Media Strategy
Based on your analysis, you can start making adjustments to your social media strategy to maximize your results. The above step should help you pinpoint specific actions, campaigns, and content that made a difference in your performance. Use these insights to make relevant changes and improvements that will optimize the impact of your efforts.
This step is where you replicate the success of your previous efforts or make improvements to your existing strategy. If something seems to work really well, you’ll want to replicate it again in your future campaigns. On the other hand, if you notice that something was missing from the campaign or didn’t work as expected, you’ll need to experiment with variations to see what will make a positive difference.
Similarly, perhaps you noticed a significant drop in brand sentiment after your latest video ad. This should compel you to see what people are saying about the ad and then use those discussions to draw actionable conclusions about what they didn’t like about it. You can then use these insights to create more compelling video ads that see a better reception.
Social Media Measurement Best Practices to Follow
While the above steps can help you get started with social media measurement, they’re only the basics. Here are some best practices to help you get more out of your social media measurement efforts.
Social media measurement shouldn’t just be a one-off thing. You need to monitor your performance on an ongoing basis to get timely and accurate insights. This will help you quickly identify any changes in your performance so you can come up with an appropriate response. If your social media ads suddenly stopped referring traffic, for example, you might want to review whether there’s a problem with your links.
Consistent measurement is also an important step for enriching your performance data to provide better context. You’ll be able to accurately understand changes in your performance over time, which then enables you to pinpoint what you did right or wrong. This can then inform your strategy to help you get more out of your social media efforts.
Use the Right Tools
Since social media measurement involves sifting through huge volumes of data, you need to simplify the process with the right analytics tools. Make the most of tools that will help you track your performance across all your social media platforms in one place. That way, you don’t have to go back and forth between different tools to stay on top of your measurement efforts.
It’s also important to look for tools that are capable of providing deeper insights into your performance with qualitative data in addition to quantitative. Many platforms will help you track what is being said about your brand on social media and measure the sentiment behind those conversations. This will give you a more comprehensive understanding of how people are responding to your brand’s social media efforts.
For example, on its own, a spike in engagement may seem like a very good thing. However, if you track the sentiment behind those engagements and review the comments, you may notice that people aren’t very happy with your brand. This will help you get to the source of their disappointment and come up with an appropriate response.
Measure and Improve for Greater Social ROI
Social media measurement is a vital part of a successful social media strategy. It’s an essential step to identifying what’s working and what’s not so you can realign your existing strategy for greater results. In other words, measuring your social media performance can help you boost the return on your social media investment. Use the steps and best practices highlighted above to start measuring the impact of your campaigns.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is social media measurement?
Social media measurement is the process of measuring important performance metrics for your brand’s social media accounts.
Why do you need social media measurement?
Social media measurement is important for understanding your audience, content performance, campaign ROI, and more.
What metrics are used for social media measurement?
Social media measurement uses a combination of awareness, engagement, Share of Voice, and conversion metrics.
What are the best social media measurement tools?
Keyhole, Brandwatch, and Hootsuite are some of the top tools for social media measurement.
How do you measure social media reach?
You can measure social media reach using native analytics tools on respective social media platforms.