Choosing the correct metrics (the way you measure) can help you in achieving your goals, but first, it is important to understand those goals. Your social media activities could have various different outcomes. Take a moment to think through what it is that you want to achieve from your social media activities. Do you want to meet people face to face? Do you want a significant amount of ideal customers to take a specific action, or do you want people to think about your brand on a regular basis. Before you start measuring your success it is critical that you are aware of what you define as success.
It is so easy to fall into the social media flattery trap. This trap occurs when a significant amount of people like or share your content, but with no results towards what you set out to achieve. We call these types of metrics vanity metrics. The type of metrics make you feel really good when you look at them, but it has no benefit to you other than making you feel good.
Vanity metrics are an especially easy trap to fall into at the start of your social media journey. Metrics such as, how many people have liked my post, and/or how many people have viewed my post are easy traps to fall into.
This does not mean that we should simply ignore these types of metrics. Rather your success might be dependant on a few different metrics.
If you have a goal for people to take a specific action then conversion measures how many of the people that you have reached, actually took that action. Normally conversion is measured when someone makes a sale, but there can be other actions that you measure. For instance, the number of people who take a course, or subscribe to your newsletter, or even like your LinkedIn page. Conversion is normally is a good metric, but it might be in the middle or at the end of your sales process. Let’s have a look at some other metrics.
Reach is a metric that measures how many people inside and outside of your immediate network have viewed and shared your article. For instance, you might measure reach by measuring the number of times that someone in your network has shared the content with other people (this is also sometimes known as amplification rate), or by how many times people outside your network have shared the content.
This metric is valuable as it highlights what your audience’s thoughts are about a subject and how they respond to a post. Engagement could be measured through the number of comments, or you might want to look at it more qualitatively as the types of comments that people make.
Awareness is a volume metric (measures size of activity) that measures how your audience might have seen or clicked on a post. This might be one of the first types of measurements that you become exposed to as you start measuring. Be careful though as measuring awareness on its own might be an easy trap for vanity metrics that does not lead you to your goals.
For a better understanding of the various different types of metrics have a look at this article by Hootsuite – 19 Social Media Metrics That Really Matter—And How to Track Them (hootsuite.com).