How do you know which are the most important, or even worth tracking at all?
How do you get started with social media for small businesses?
From a business perspective, social media should be doing at least 1 of 3 things:
- generate leads
- spread brand awareness
- maintain or improve brand experience or reputation
If the social media metrics you’ve been tracking don’t contribute to at least 1 of those things, it’s time to reevaluate your measurements.
According to Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion, the most misleading social media metrics are often the easiest to track, such as followers, likes/retweets, scores or rankings. While these numbers can be useful for tracking reach and brand awareness, these “vanity” metrics are not the most important for businesses and are often grossly misinterpreted.
So what are the most important social media metrics for businesses?
Honestly, the answer to that question varies from business to business, and depends heavily on what your goals are.
Metrics to Watch When Your Goal is Exposure
For example, if you’re mainly concerned with getting exposure for a new product or policy, then track metrics that show the reach of your content, such as:
- brand mentions
- referrals to your website
Measuring reach and brand awareness metrics like these shows you what types of content spread well and on which platforms. That helps you improve your strategy and be smarter about how you use social media.
Metrics to Watch When Your Goal is Revenue
On the other hand, if you need to increase your revenue, you want to focus on metrics that show how social media impacts your bottom line, like:
- social media visitors to leads
- social media leads to customers
- average order size
- word-of-mouth referrals
These lead and sales-oriented metrics help you calculate the ROI of your social media strategy which is always an important part of any marketing plan.
In fact, lead generation and sales metrics are the ones Chris Brogan prefers to track because the make the most sense for most businesses. But at the same time, he urges businesses to determine their own highest priority metrics. You are the only one who knows what’s best for your company.
Social Media Metrics for Other Business Goals
Other business goals may include trying to build a loyal community, improve customer experience, or maintain a good brand reputation.
Important social media metrics for these goals might be:
- engagement duration
- activity ratio
- sentiment of brand mentions
These engagement-oriented social media metrics can be a little harder to track than number of likes or followers. But that’s a good thing: it means these metrics are closer to showing you if what you’re doing is actually working.
If you’re still not sure what social media metrics to track, or think you need to monitor all of the metrics listed above, Social Times lists the top 10 metrics they believe businesses should track. Their list incorporates lead generation, brand awareness, and community building metrics, making it a good place to start.
What social media metrics do you watch?
How did you decide which were the most important for your business? Please share in the comments!