To know which social media KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) work best for your brand you first need to understand what they are.
A KPI is an indicator of measurable value which can be used to identify how well a brand or business is doing at achieving trackable goals – whether on social media or in sales performance.
For social media KPIs, the three main areas measured and tracked are Engagement on social media platforms i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram; Follower Growth; Social Visits and Leads (Reach).
However, while you could measure pretty much every metric there is within these three main areas, it’s worth taking the time to really drill down into your social media content strategy and work out the vital social media KPIs for your brand and business.
Here’s a handy guide on how to find which social media KPIs will work the best for you:
Tip 1 – Evaluate What You’re Already Doing
By this we mean, evaluate the social platforms your brand has a presence on and work out if they are the right ones. Begin with the “roots” of your social media campaign.
Look at your current performance on each of the social channels you use and how you’re measuring them already and ask the following questions:
- What social media metrics are we typically focusing on at the moment?
- Who is doing the measuring and when are we measuring?
- What do we do with the results? Are they passed on to other people?
- When we have the social media metrics, are we acting on them?
As you assess your existing social media campaign and the channels your brand is using, you’ll gain valuable insights into the current performance of your efforts. Here you can look at various metrics.
How many followers the brand has across social media channels; the fluctuation in follower numbers (are they affected by the time of year i.e. product sales); how often do you post to each channel and what time of day; what interactions do your posts receive?
This is where using an app like Beacon comes into force. It can drill down to each individual social post and provide detailed metrics for it over and above the likes, shares, and comments. With Beacon’s web analytics for social, you cut through the fog and can see what posts provided actual direct traffic to your website.
The Beacon dashboard shows all of your tracked social media and website activity, it reports on a set of KPIs that give you an overview of how your website is performing, based on the traffic from individual social posts.
Within minutes of posting from Beacon to your linked social account(s), you will see these KPI metrics producing figures (good or bad, depending on how engaging your social post and website content is!) and at this point, you will want to set a target to measure, and improve these metrics.
- The Beacon dashboard starts delivering insights for your social media KPIs as soon as a post goes live
Take notes on the basics and don’t get too complicated in what you’re measuring.
Tip 2 – Identify Where Your Future Goals Are
Once you’ve carried out Tip 1 you will have a far greater idea of what’s been going on with your social media channels and what’s been successful – or not. This is where you can start to refine and identify the key goals you want to achieve with your social media activities.
Think of it as the “meat” of your reviewing process. This is where you can answer key questions such as; how many followers do we get on average each month; how often are we posting per day/week/month; and how many interactions are our posts getting and what kind are they?
So, you could find that Facebook is your most active platform, you post every day and you’re getting a steady rise in the number of people following your Business or Brand Page. However, there’s not many comments or likes/shares of your content and you’re not seeing much traffic being driven to your website.
This provides you with a KPI to track and monitor – increase the likes, comments and shares your posts get on Facebook by being more proactive and interactive, offering more things which encourage people to visit your website (can you offer coupons or sale codes for example?) and set a goal of when, and what, you want to achieve here.
Or you may want to expand your efforts on another platform. Instagram is getting big traction among brands because of the greater engagement rate, especially in the younger bracket.
A Pew Research Center survey for the early half of 2018 found Instagram use in the 18-24 bracket was at 71% in the USA. If you’re a clothing brand, musician, a food retailer, someone with a quirky brand identity, then Instagram is a platform you could focus on.
Focus on strategic goals for visual KPIs. What do you hope to achieve from your social media content strategy? Set goals that monitor this area including:
- Increasing Product Sales
- Driving Traffic To Your Website
- Increasing Brand Awareness
- Higher Customer Satisfaction
- Gaining Relationships With Influencers
Use SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) targets to achieve your goals no matter which social channel you’re going to be using, as the basics will stay the same.
Tip 3 – Bring All The Research Together
If you have a global brand, one of the social media KPIs you can measure and track is geographic location. This allows you to schedule posts at optimum times for different countries and discover what strategies and tactics work in different global markets.
As well as knowing where your social media followers come from, it’s also important to know what the distribution and reaction is to different types of social media posts, including visual – i.e. photos, videos, SnapChat or Instagram Stories – as well as status updates which are only text or perhaps include emojis or smaller graphics.
Some content is more effective than others. On Twitter, for example, Tweets with an image have a much higher engagement rate at 150% more reTweets, they receive 89% more favourites and 18% more clicks than those without.
Set your brand and business goals once you’ve carried out the full analysis of all your social media efforts. Don’t forget to talk to all members of your social media and marketing team and make sure everyone has the same understanding of what you want to achieve.
Tip 4 – Plan Your New Strategy And Social Media KPIs
Now you’ve reached the end of your evaluation exercise, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice. You should have a good overview of the key metrics which will help you establish the KPIs you want to track and measure in order to continually analyse and adjust your social media performance and strategy.
A key performance indicator is a measurable value that demonstrates how effective a company is at achieving key business objectives.
As we’ve seen, defining your brand or business KPIs comes down to two things:
- What are the most important objectives for you?
- Choosing fixed KPIs which can be used to forecast changes.
The most obvious fixed KPIs are those we’ve discussed earlier, including follower numbers which can be tracked month by month, year by year etc, post engagement (checking which style of content works best), website visitor numbers, etc.
This allows you to track changes over specific time periods and alter your posting strategy to take advantage of clear patterns in the analytics.
Don’t forget your internal KPIs as well. Once you’ve worked out which KPIs you want to focus on, set up internal strategies and tracking for who will be doing what and when it makes it easier to analyse productivity per platform and gives a good overall perspective on what your social content team is doing.
The KPIs you measure as a brand or business will depend upon the ultimate aim of your social media activities.
If your priority is to increase revenue and sales, then your KPIs should fix on finding the number of leads and conversions you obtain from your social media channels. This will allow you to identify which of your followers are paying customers who click through to your websites to make purchases as a result of your activity.
Conversely, if your intention is only to raise your brand reputation and reach, then your KPIs should be measuring follower numbers, engagement, shares and comments.
Remember to note somewhere why you chose specific KPIs to track and analyse so when you come to evaluate your ongoing performance, you have the reasons why your team decided to focus on them.
Using a growth metaphor, discovering which social media KPIs will work for your brand and business comes down to the steps we’ve mentioned: understanding the current process (roots), discovering where your opportunities are (stem) and choosing which metrics to monitor (flower).
Ultimately there is no single set of “best social media KPIs” only the ones which work the most for your brand. Check out our free 14-day trial and start bringing some real insights into your web analytics.