Which social media metrics matter?
What are vanity metrics and why are they important? We break down social media marketing lingo to help you better understand your metrics and start to make actionable insights.
24 September 2020
So, you’ve chosen a social media management tool to help you better track your business’s performance (and if you haven’t yet, click here). Now it’s time to tackle the second hurdle – separating the key metrics from the fluff.
Social media marketing (SMM) tools are designed to neatly package all your metrics into small, digestible nuggets of actionable insights. Still, while many platforms can seem beautifully simple and intuitive, they don’t actually know what you want to see – so they just give you everything.
It’s up to you to sift through the vanity metrics and cherry-pick the data that’ll help you shape and tweak your strategy. But where do you begin? What does it all mean?
Let’s break it down
Getting used to all the lingo can be a bit overwhelming if you’re new to social media marketing, but you’ll probably be familiar with a couple of the terms we use! Here’s a jargon-busting tool to help you better understand social media marketing terminology.
Fans and Followers
Pretty self-explanatory, this is how many users follow your activity on social media – but remember, not all users behave the same way online. Some are casual readers, some are glued to your content, and a few might just be there stir up trouble. Take a closer look at the different types of followers here.
Impressions and Reach
Impressions measure how many times your content is displayed on social media, while reach measures the total number of people who see your content (unique views). Because they sound quite similar, people do confuse these metrics – but they are two very different things! As people often see the same post multiple times in their feeds, your impressions will be higher than your reach.
Engagement tracks the number of interactions your posts get (this could be reactions, comments, shares or retweets etc.) and, depending on what SMM toolkit you use, this could also cover link clicks (sometimes expressed as a click-through rate, or CTR, showing the number of clicks compared to the number of impressions).
There are two measurements of engagement to look out for: Engagement Rate and Engagement on Reach. The former is calculated with the number of followers you had at the time of the post, while the latter is based on the reach your post achieved.
Keep an eye on engagement to discover which of your posts are doing well, which aren’t, and why that may be. It could be that your content isn’t all that popular, or it could just be down to timing!
This bit is all about you! Frequency is how many posts you have published in a certain time frame. Are you a daily tweeter? Do you opt for three Instagram posts a week, or just as and when the content is there to share? Keep an eye on this metric, because your frequency will have an impact on pretty much everything else.
Measuring your brand awareness sounds like a challenge – seems pretty vague, no? Splitpixel measures brand awareness scores by looking at page/profile mentions and post shares. Are people tagging you in discussions? Are they retweeting your content with their own thoughts?
Social media management tools (like AgoraPulse) measure your brand awareness score in this way – but it’s still important to do a little manual social listening from time to time.
Another term we throw around a lot – just above, for example! This just means monitoring and interacting with mentions and shares, getting involved in discussions on social media, and connecting with your fans. You can’t just post and walk away; you need to be consistently engaging with your followers.
Referrals, Conversions and CTR
Now, let’s get something straight on this one. Organic social media marketing is NOT all about sales – and you’re setting yourself up to fail if you think you can use the same approach on social media as you do through your other marketing channels.
Paid social is a different story, but if you think you’re going to make a killing on social without spending any money on ads – we’d like to quickly burst that bubble for you.
Still, it’s vital that you track referrals (how people land on your website) and conversions (when a user makes a purchase, enquiry or booking on your website) from your social media channels. Then you’ve got CTR (click-through rate) to help you identify effective ads. Focus more on these metrics when reviewing your paid social activities, but don’t completely write them off when it comes to organic!
Tracking your social media marketing with KPIs
Vanity metrics, exposed!
Sell yourself, not your business
Keep an eye on conversions
In addition to tracking conversions from the platforms you market on, you’ll also want to look out for assisted conversions – the people who come through via one channel, leave your website, and then return later to complete a conversion via another channel.
There are also non-revenue conversions that can be just as valuable, like downloading an ebook or signing up to a monthly newsletter. These can convert into hot leads further down the line!
Create for both paid and organic social (separately)
So, what next?