How do you know if you’re tracking the right social media KPIs or if your content strategy is working?
There are the obvious signs – visitors to your website, people liking and sharing your posts on social media platforms. It’s always great, as a content creator, to see this type of interaction. However, if your social media content strategy is part of an overall marketing plan designed to either win new customers or sell a product, are you seeing an actual return for your efforts?
This is where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come in. They are an effective way to measure and manage your ROI (Return on Investment). Figuring out which ones are vital for your business can be an art in itself.
For those who don’t know, KPI is a set of metrics that help you to measure the success (or failure) of any given activity or business process. There are hundreds of tools capable of measuring thousands of different metrics so you need to identify which social media KPIs are important to your brand.
B2C brands care about engagement and brand awareness, customer opinion and service, this means KPI metrics such as likes, shares, comments and follower numbers are the ones to track.
B2B brands differ in that they’re looking for the number of clicks, website traffic and conversions to customers coming from their social media channels.
Individual Business Goals
Your individual goals will determine the social media KPIs you should be measuring and they can be broken down into the following basic categories:
- Brand Awareness/Reach
- Website Traffic/Visitor Personas (target audience)
- Conversion/new clients/sales
We’ll look at each individual KPI in turn and hopefully arm you with the information you need to work out what metrics you should be measuring – and how to go about improving them.
It All Starts With Awareness
First up is Brand Awareness/Reach
Fairly straightforward you’d expect? The more you talk about your brand or product, the more chance you have of people finding out about it? And yes, in a sense you’d be right to maximise the exposure but you also need to approach it carefully.
Simply posting a dozen times a day across every social media platform you can register on isn’t an effective use of time or resources. Your first task should be to identify which platforms will work for you.
Your reach on social media channels increases more positively when new customers are introduced to your business by their peers or other respected “voices” on those platforms – it promotes your “credibility” as a brand.
When people see a brand recommended by family or friends, they’re more inclined to believe in their “credibility” as a referrer and the impact is usually at a much higher level than if they come across a static ad from the same brand.
Instagram for Reach
If you’re selling something, setting up an Instagram account where people can use hashtags to highlight your products is a great way of spreading the word. Top brands already know the value of Instagram marketing.
Nike is one of the most followed clothes brand pages on Instagram with 76.2m followers. Their feed consists of both still images and animated images/videos. They include celebrity photo shoots and endorsements through to products.
National Geographic currently boosts 86.2m followers, not surprising when you see the quality of the visual content on their Instagram page. The content comes from a number of their photographers. The history behind each photo is given in the description underneath it, with a link to the contributors Instagram account.
According to research, Instagram user interactions with brands is 400% higher than on Facebook and Twitter, delivering 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.
KPIs for Brand
For Brand Awareness the KPIs are fairly straightforward, you’re looking at measuring followers, mentions, target audience (persona) sentiment, content sharing, website visits, likes and shares on social media platforms etc.
Set up tracking KPIs which measure brand awareness – are you getting more likes, shares, comments on Facebook? Do you have more followers on Twitter who are re-Tweeting your content?
If you’re not seeing an increase in content sharing, followed by higher visitor numbers on all posts, look at the ones which are working using a tool like Beacon.
Beacon allows you to drill down into each individual social post to find the detailed analytics. It identifies page visits from that unique post – even if there’s been no visible sign of engagement through likes, shares, and re-tweets:
Which leads us to Engagement.
Keeping The Connection
Engagement is the second most important set of KPIs to measure and again, it’s the same ones as for Brand Awareness. Having a large reach with low engagement is a bad sign as it shows that you don’t have a marketing message or content that resonates.
You need to be getting visitors to your website or shop portal, otherwise, it doesn’t really matter if you have a million followers. Reaching millions of people means nothing if they aren’t interested in what you’re offering.
The more engagement you get, the more Google considers your content to be of high value, which in turn boosts your SEO rankings. Search engines look for natural links, so the more informative your content is, the more likely people will link to it naturally.
As long as your audience is engaged, no matter how small that audience is, it will grow organically. This generates potential leads as they share content with friends and family across both social media and through direct sharing (what’s also known as Dark Social).
Driving The Traffic
The more active engagement you have, the more it converts into website traffic and here’s where measurement becomes a little tricky. Tools like Google Analytics will help with seeing referrals but they’re not intuitive and can often be confusing.
Beacon can also help you set up unique social media KPIs for each individual social post you make which measure targets for Hard Bounce Rate, Soft Bounce Rate, Multiple Page Visits, Average Pages Viewed and Average Time On Site.
Each of these KPIs provides information which can be used to set up campaigns and gain insights with in-depth customer journey reports, allowing you to track visitors from social posts to your website, to a sale or new client sign up.
Beacon empowers marketing professionals to apply these to their social media campaigns. Without social media KPIs, you’re posting in the dark.
Move Into Conversion
More people visiting your website provides a greater chance of converting them into new customers or clients. Measure the number of referrals your site gets from social platforms and work out which ones are worth the effort of creating unique content for.
Once you have visitors, you need to keep them engaged and move them into a conversion – whether this is through them buying a product, signing up for a service or becoming a new client.
As long ago as the August 2007 edition of Target Marketing Magazine, the levels of conversion from site visits to orders/inquiries were low – at just 2.9%. Things have improved somewhat since then but you need to identify your industry’s conversion rates before you can set KPIs to measure your brand against.
But be aware, conversion rates shouldn’t be the only level of success measurement you focus on. As Dan Barker writes on Smart Insights: “Conversion Rate is a horrible metric to focus on.” This is because it doesn’t allow for variables in the KPI – not every visitor to your website is a potential customer for starters.
The Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly is a great source giving regularly updated benchmarks on conversion segmented by devices and media for large Ecommerce brands.
You shouldn’t expect to have high new customer rates from social media because a lot of your followers will be current customers and another significant portion are only interested in the content. That’s just the way it goes.
Answer These Key Questions
Concentrate on the metrics which answer the following questions:
- Are you reaching the right personas?
- Are you engaging with the right personas?
- How many of your social media fans are inquiring about your product or service?
- How many of them actually become customers?
And if you’re not sure about Personas, you need to bone up on them – they’re important. Identifying your brand buyer personas is one of the key components in creating a social content strategy. It ensures successful customer journeys through your social media activity. They improve your vision and let you see things clearly.
Create personas to help keep up with changes in buyer trends. It helps to keep on top of social media influences and helps ensure the website content you create addresses the needs of your potential customers. Personas make sure the social media KPIs you’re tracking are still the right ones for your brand or business.
Setting social media KPIs is vital for any online campaign. Without measuring the effectiveness of your social activity or tracking your customer journey from social post to a web page, you will struggle to improve the ROI of your social media marketing.
Your social media KPIs should focus on what works for your brand and they may not be the same as everyone else’s.
Every audience is different. If your ideal persona isn’t inclined to hit the like button but is still giving you new business then it’s a win. Track what makes sense and actually reflects success.