Social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach large audiences. Its' major problem is that companies tend to leverage it for something other than what it can do best: creating connections.
While it is not entirely wrong to hope for sales on social media, it is better to focus on more realistic business goals such as:
This way, you can make the best out of each social network and use them to their full potential. Figuring out how to connect the dots within the mix and tracking the right social media KPIs will help you understand what worked and what didn’t, allowing you to see the areas that need improvement. You can then act fast and adapt your approach for the better.
Measurement generally involves dealing with lots of numbers and data, but when it comes to social media, it focuses entirely on “figures with an impact." You do not measure Facebook as a channel. You measure its impact on your business, so you need to align your KPIs to your goals and tactics. That’s why tracking and monitoring social media goes beyond the number of followers you have and the number of likes you generate on a specific post.
In 2011, Avinash Kaushik - the Google evangelist - introduced a concept on “how to measure things in social media.” In his opinion, four main areas deserve your attention: the economic value, the conversation rate, the amplification rate, and the applause rate.
When discussing the Economic Value of Social Media, we think simultaneously about the total revenue you can generate via social media campaigns and the savings provided by your efforts.
Social Media Sales & Leads
There is no doubt you want to track the number of direct sales or leads driven by your social media activities. Even if the primary purpose of “going social” is to build brand awareness, any financial deal that will come out of it will be an extra reason to celebrate.
Social Media Conversion Rate = Conversions / Clicks x 100
Social Media Savings
While social media may impact your sales activity, it can also help you reduce costs. Let’s say you decide to involve Twitter in improving your customer service activities. This will directly impact the call center traffic and the costs related to it positively, and you will want to know to which extend.
Cost per Acquisition
As with all social media today, it is clearer than ever that you have to pay if you want to play. Therefore it would be useful to analyze if your investment in advertising on social media related to the sales and the other business objectives you have in mind makes sense.
People usually call it social media engagement. It’s probably the most critical measurement area, especially since Facebook and Twitter consider it a sign of quality and boost the organic reach of entertaining and relevant posts.
The number of fans or followers you have on social media means nothing if they don’t feel like talking to you. It would be best to focus your efforts on creating excellent, useful content that invites the right people to react and eventually recommended your ideas to their friends.
The conversation rate is a good indicator of what resonates with your audiences, so you can direct your resources in generating more of that instead of losing time and money producing irrelevant materials.
Let’s look at some useful data that will reveal “how friendly and popular you are” on social media.
CTR (Click Through Rate)
CTR refers to the number of users who clicked a link to your social post and were driven to your website or landing page. It is the first sign that someone really wants to interact with you. They liked your message well enough to click on it and discover more of what you have to say.
Likes & Shares
While liking a post is a nice sign of appreciation, sharing your post is a deliberate decision. It involves recommending your ideas to friends, which means that your audience valued your work in the first place.
Of all conversational KPIs, this is the most relevant one. It best describes the sense of being active on social media, which is to communicate with each other, and what better way of doing it, if not by commenting on a post? Some of your feedback will be positive, while other interventions will include criticism. Don’t panic! It’s all fine! Doing business on social media can sometimes be stressful, but we all have to learn to deal with it in one way or another. In the end, anything is better than silence.
Average Engagement Rate = (Likes+Comments+Shares) / Followers x 100
Amplification means how far your message can travel. It’s usually a combination of “reach” and “share,” therefore including your investments in influencer marketing on social media, too.
It refers to the number of times your content is displayed regardless of whether people clicked on it or not.
Reach relates to the number of people who have potentially seen your content. For example, if you have ten impressions from the same person, your reach would only be one, and if you have 100 followers on Facebook, and one of them shares your post with his 260 friends, your reach will be 360 people. To go even further, if you are present on multiple channels with 150 followers on Instagram and 250 on Twitter, your reach will be 400.
For each channel in part, you’ll probably want to know how your posts get delivered, so you will calculate the individual post reach using the formula:
Post reach % = Post views / Total followers x 100
Audience Growth Rate
Even if you have to resist obsessing about how many people are following you on each social channel, in part, it might be relevant to see how fast you can attract fans during campaigns focused on business objectives.
Growth Rate % = New followers / Total followers x 100
Share of Voice
Share of Voice measures the conversation your brand owns in comparison to competitors. Besides brand mentions, you can also use social media tracking tools such as Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Brandwatch, Agora Pulse, or Buzzsumo to discover how much or little attention a topic, in general, gets on social media.
SoV % = Mentions / All other mentions x 100
This KPI enables you to overview your brand’s public opinion and analyze if the conversations are positive or negative.
Net Promoter Score
NPS measures how willing your audience is to act as influencers and recommend your products, services, and ideas to their friends. To find it out, you’ll have to organize a survey.
NPS = Potential Promoters / Total survey respondants x 100
Now that you know how many people are theoretically willing to talk about you, you’ll want to see how many really act on it. Two KPIs can help you get more insight into that.
Amplification Rate % = Shares / Followers x 100
Virality Rate % = Shares / Impressions x 100
The Applause rate is the least important social media KPI. Still, it remains a positive indicator that people are willing to communicate with you. It generally looks at your “Likes” on Social Media, as they are more relevant than the number of fans or followers you have on a specific channel.
Applause Rate % = Likes / Followers x 100