Pick the Right KPIs for Your Social Media Objectives

Tracking progress toward your goals with KPIs will make you a more effective social media marketer.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand, social media can help you grow and stay connected to your audience, find and nurture leads, and ultimately grow your business (among many other benefits). But with so many different ways to use social media, how do you know what’s working for your brand and what’s not?

Whatever your objective—brand awareness, lead gen, or something else entirely—tracking the proper key performance indicators (KPIs) will ensure you have a clear measure of how effective your actions are. In turn, you’ll be better positioned to make informed decisions about where to focus your energies and how to allocate your resources.

As you read through our performance tracking recommendations, keep in mind that these social media KPIs are most valuable when matched to goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-constrained. Vague goals (e.g., “increase online engagement”) tend to inspire mediocre input and outcomes. In contrast, even ambitious targets are easier to plan for and more attainable when they are dialed-in (e.g., “increase online engagement by 10% in 6 months”).

So how do you know which social media KPIs will best track your progress? We’ve broken it down for you based on common social media objectives. Follow these links to discover the social media KPIs that best suit your needs.

Building Brand Awareness

KPIs to Track: New Followers, Impressions, Reach, Frequency

Key Terms to Know:

  • New Followers: The number of people who have subscribed to your social media feed since your last analysis
  • Impressions: How many times people see your ad or content
  • Reach: The total number of people who view your ad or content
  • Frequency: How often you’re posting content

Why track these KPIs? These metrics give you a snapshot of the number of people in your audience, how often your posts are displayed, and the number of people viewing your posts.  From that data, you can make inferences about brand awareness.

When using social media to support brand awareness, it’s simple: you want to reach as many people in your target audience as possible with as much (high-quality) content as possible.

Tracking new followers matters because it is helpful to know how many people elect to follow your social media accounts. Tracking your month-over-month change in new followers is especially helpful because it can be an indicator of how well your brand awareness efforts are going. Having more new followers suggests more people are learning about your brand (and liking what they see). If you notice a decline in your rate of new followers or you actually lose followers, it’s a red flag that you should investigate further.

Just because someone is following you doesn’t mean they always see your content. That’s where reach comes into play. Reach tallies the total number of individuals who were served your ad or saw your post, which can include followers but also individuals who don’t follow your brand. The more people you reach, the larger your audience, which suggests more brand awareness.

Keep in mind, though, that organic content tends to have limited reach. You can improve the reach of your organic posts by making sure it’s relevant, engaging, and designed to delight your target audience. That will increase the likelihood that your audience will share your content, which, in turn, boosts reach. Additionally, you may choose to tag other brands in your posts, which might entice them to share your content as well. However, the most potent and efficient method to increase your reach and brand awareness is with paid ads and boosting select posts, which serves them in the social feeds of non-followers. This increases the number of people who see your content. Another benefit of ads and boosted posts is that you can set demographic and psychographic parameters to target specific audiences.

Equally critical to reach is posting frequency. Per the famed Rule of Seven, a prospect needs to hear your message seven times before taking action on it. Whether someone is already following you, has recently jumped on the bandwagon, or is still only interacting with your content via paid ads, a higher frequency of posting means more impressions. That means greater brand visibility and a higher likelihood that a prospective customer will hit that sweet seven count and become a potential lead.

An additional KPI to consider is share of voice (SOV), which is a measure of how much weight your brand has in social conversations pertinent to your industry. People wouldn’t be mentioning your brand if they weren’t first aware that it exists, which is why it can be considered a brand awareness KPI.

There are different ways to measure SOV, but the most common method is to divide the number of mentions your brand receives by the sum of both your brand’s mentions and your competitors’ mentions and then multiply the result by 100. For instance, if you were mentioned 80 times on Twitter in the last month, and your competitors were mentioned 90 times, you would divide 80 by 170 (the sum of your mentions and your competitors’ mentions) and multiply that number by 100. In this instance, you have approximately 47% SOV on Twitter. You can choose to measure this on any platform.

Growing Your Audience

KPIs to Track: New Followers, Engagement Rate, Impressions, Reach, Mentions, Share of Voice

Key Terms to Know:

  • New Followers: The number of people who have subscribed to your social media feed since your last analysis
  • Engagement Rate: The amount of interaction—inclusive of reactions, comments, and shares—that your posts receives relative to reach
  • Impressions: How many times people see your ad or content
  • Mentions: The number of times people refer to your brand in social media conversations
  • Reach: The number of people who were served your content
  • Share of Voice (SOV): The percentage of space your brand commands in social conversation pertinent to your business or industry

Why track these KPIs? These metrics will show how many people are following you, how engaged they are by your content, the number of times your posts are displayed, the number of people you reach, and how you’re trending in the overall conversation. Tracking them will help you understand not only how successful you are in growing your audience but also the quality of the audience you are growing—both of which are important to your sales funnel.

Because having a larger audience suggests that more people are aware of your brand, growing your audience requires you to track many of the same social media KPIs you would track if brand awareness were your primary objective. So, we recommend reading that section before you proceed.

Finished reading about brand awareness? Great. Now, we can turn our attention more specifically to growing your audience.

Your best bet for growing your audience is creating strong, relevant content that engages and delights your followers so that they will react to it, comment on it, or share it. That tends to give your content visibility in their followers’ social feeds, increasing the number of people who see your posts (aka, reach). Ideally, these people will eventually follow you, too—all of which contribute to the growth of your audience.

To support the growth of your audience, you’ll want to constantly analyze post performance to understand what garners the highest engagement rates. For both organic (unpaid) content and boosted (paid) content, ask yourself questions like:

  • Does copy written in a certain tone perform better than others?
  • Does my brand get better engagement for serious content or humorous content?
  • Does posting a photo get better engagement than something more abstract like an illustration?
  • Do more of my brand’s followers watch video posts or ephemeral stories?
  • Does my brand get more mileage out of long articles or timely memes?

Use your insights to inform future content development efforts so that every post you publish best supports your objective to grow your audience.

Increasing Engagement

KPIs to Track: Clicks, Reactions, Shares, Mentions, Comments

Key Terms to Know:

  • Clicks: How often people act on your call to action
  • Reactions: The number of reactions your content generates
  • Shares: How often people repost your content
  • Mentions: The number of times people refer to your brand in social media conversations
  • Comments: Written responses to content shared

Why track these KPIs? These metrics are the most direct representation of how people are engaging with your brand. The more clicks, likes, shares, mentions, and comments you have, the more you can trust that people are paying attention to and care about (or are at least inspired to react to) your brand. Whether your audience is already engaged, and you want to take it to the next level, or you’re earning limited engagement and want to improve, tracking the social media KPIs above will set you on the right path.

Whether they’re liking a post, commenting on a video, or mentioning your brand in a conversation, you want people talking to and about your brand, which suggests you’re staying front of mind. Tracking measures of engagement acts as an internal check on whether people find your brand and content inspiring enough to react to it. You should be tracking clicks, likes, shares, mentions, and comments on your social posts; taps back, taps forward, replies, and exits on your Instagram Stories; and how frequently people use any of your branded hashtags.

Engagement is well worth investing in and tracking for a few reasons. First, there is a vanity element: the number of likes your social media pages and posts garner can influence how you’re perceived by a person encountering your brand for the first time. If they find you on social media and can see that you have a lot of engaged followers, they’ll instinctually consider you a brand worth paying attention to.

Second, high engagement expands your reach. When a person engages with your content, the majority of platforms will show that activity in their followers’ feeds, getting more new eyes on your brand, which helps awareness and lead-generation efforts. A single person interacting with your thoughtfully developed content can potentially lead to hundreds of unique impressions, or more.

But first, you have to develop thoughtful content. To do so, consider what content will best appeal to your target audience. It can be helpful to start with buyer personas. You can also check out our “Growing Your Audience” section if you need some help with content analysis.

Boosting Loyalty

KPIs to Track: Audience Sentiment, Issues Resolved, Comments/Direct Messages

Key Terms to Know:

  • Audience Sentiment: The measurement of tone, feeling, and context of actions your audience takes when reacting to your brand
  • Issues Resolved: The rate at which you resolve your audience’s brand-related complaints and problems
  • Comments/Direct Messages: Written communication with your social media account, either in a public-facing or private capacity

Why track these KPIs? These metrics tell you what people think of your brand and how satisfied they are with your product/services. We include comments because they provide anecdotal evidence that gives context to the other social media KPIs. The higher rate at which you resolve your audience’s issues and generate positive sentiment on social media, the more likely individuals are to be loyal to your brand. In turn, loyalty supports conversion, lifetime value, and referrals.

To gauge loyalty, start by listening to your audience. People often say exactly how they feel about a brand and the content it produces. Analyzing the sentiment of your audience’s comments (positive or negative) on your social media posts and pages can give you a clear picture of where your audience stands in terms of loyalty.

Hopefully, the majority of your audience’s comments and messages are positive, but negative comments and messages are inevitable. When it occurs, negativity like a complaint about a product or service experience should be quickly and efficiently resolved to ensure long-term loyalty. A thoughtful response to fix the problem has the power to make your audience feel understood and attended to, ultimately fostering brand affinity and a more positive brand sentiment than when you started. A person who expressed dissatisfaction on social media may even be inclined to post a public thank you if they feel like their initial complaint was addressed with care. Tracking your resolution rate helps to ensure that you’re consistently providing timely responses to problems.

Generating Leads

KPIs to Track: Click-Through Rate, Conversion Rate

Key Terms to Know:

  • Click-Through Rate: The frequency with which people react to your call to action (CTA) by clicking the provided link
  • Web Traffic: The number of visitors to your website
  • Conversion Rate: The rate at which visitors to your website complete a designated call to action

Why track these KPIs? These metrics indicate the number of clicks on your calls to action, how many visitors frequent your website, and how many visitors convert to sales. Tracking the social media KPIs above will show you how well you’re driving your audience to your website and whether or not you’re attracting the right audience to sell your product or service.

While brand awareness sets the foundation for any successful brand, lead generation ensures growth. To capture leads, you must first drive your audience to your website by means of engaging, relevant content that redirects them there. Once they are on your website, you will want to have a lead-capture mechanism in place, such as a newsletter sign-up form or a gated piece of content. Alternatively, for certain online retailers, it might make sense to drive them to make an immediate purchase.

Measuring click-through rate will allow you to analyze and optimize content to continually drive website traffic, which will ultimately set you up for a higher likelihood of lead capture and sales conversion. While conversion rate is not a social media metric, it should be measured in conjunction with your click-through rate and overall web traffic to ensure your social media strategy is supporting your bigger business goals.

Increasing Web Traffic

KPIs to Track: Click-Through Rate, Conversion Rate

Key Terms to Know:

  • Click-Through Rate: The frequency with which your audience reacts to your call to action (CTA) by clicking the provided link
  • Web Traffic: The number of visitors to your website

Why track these KPIs? These metrics indicate how often your audience is clicking on a call to action versus the number of visitors you have to your website. A high click-through rate confirms that you’re producing effective and compelling content; high web traffic equates to more potential leads and sales.

If increasing web traffic is your objective, your social media efforts should be designed to drive your audience to your site. For example, calls to action should entice people to click through to your website. The bios or “About” sections of any social media pages should include links to your website. For platforms like YouTube and Pinterest, include a link to your website with every video or pin. Constantly linking to your website drives traffic, increasing the likelihood of a lead or sales conversion.

The benefit of measuring your click-through rate is that it will allow you to assess the effectiveness of your posts in driving web traffic. If you notice some posts generate more clicks than others, start by asking questions that will help you make inferences about why they are successful. Here are some examples:

  • Does CTA copy written in a certain tone or style perform better than others?
  • Does post copy written in a certain tone or style perform better than others?
  • Does pairing a photo with a post result in better click-through rates than something more abstract, like an illustration?
  • Does video result in a higher click-through rate than static images or imageless posts?

There are a million variations on these questions that you can consider. Over time, the answers to them will help you understand what you can do to ensure your social media posts are optimally designed to drive website traffic.

In Conclusion

Your social media objectives may fluctuate. Expect to continually reevaluate your social media strategy to reflect your brand’s changing priorities. Rest assured, however, that tracking social media KPIs will always ensure that you have a strong understanding of how your brand is performing in the moment and how effective your strategy is in getting you to where you would ultimately like to be.

Ready for better? We can help.