If you’re going to invest time in managing a social media presence for your brand or business, it’s crucial to also measure and track your performance. But where do you start? While there’s no one-size-fits-all method, you can certainly find ways to measure all the work you’re putting into your social presence.

Establish and Align Your Objectives

What are your primary goals with social media? Are you interested in building an engaged community, generating leads, or making sales? Of course, most business owners would say “all of the above,” but it’s important to be realistic and determine what is most important to you. Defining and measuring your core key performance indicators (KPIs) will help tell a story of your success on social media.

Some companies set different goals for different social networks. We recommend only one or two primary goals per network so you do not become overwhelmed. Then, of course, you can have secondary goals as well. If you struggle with identifying and aligning your goals and objectives, a great place to start is with the SMART guidelines: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive.

Determine Your Success Metrics

If your brand awareness could use a boost, perhaps it makes sense to focus on reach, impressions, profile visits, and follower growth. How many people are seeing your content or coming to your social media profile? If you’re running any paid Facebook campaigns, tracking impressions can also give you a Cost Per Thousand (CPM) that you can then compare to other marketing efforts. Notice I listed follower growth last since I consider this more of a vanity metric. While it’s great to see your follower count jump, that number is irrelevant if they aren’t seeing your content or engaging with it.

Speaking of engagement, this is a great metric for most brands to track on social media. Each platform will have its own forms of engagement, but keep in mind that you should track more than just likes, comments, and shares. Think about all types of engagements – including photo views, replies, mentions, video views, video watch time, and more.

Clicks is another metric that many brands track. Social platforms can easily show how many individuals not only saw your social media posts but the number of people who took an action. This shows your audience is not only being reached but also interested in the message and taking the next step. This is why including a call-to-action on all of your content is so important!

The most complex but rewarding metric to track is conversions. Depending on the pixels and UTMs that you have put in place on your website, you may be able to track an individual all the way from a social media post to their conversion event – whether it’s a form fill, download, or final purchase.

Track and Analyze Performance

Once you’ve determined which metrics will be your focus, it’s time to track them. Whether you do this manually using a spreadsheet, or through a third-party platform, consistency is key. Due to variations in some measurement tools, be sure to use the same metric exported the same way each time.

A monthly cadence should be enough to compare your numbers and then make decisions on how to adjust your social media strategy. It’s also important to understand that some metrics change as the platforms update, so you will have to be nimble and adjust your reporting accordingly.

Share it Right and Share it Wide

If you want/need your whole company supporting your social initiatives, it will help if the whole company (more or less) has access to the scoreboard. Don’t make social media measurement results more complicated than they need to be. Simply sharing your results will inspire the internal discussions and ideas necessary to take your program to the next level.

Pro tip: Try to include anecdotes in your social media measurement. Ask your teams to document circumstances where you turned lemons into lemonade, delighted a customer, or just did something awesome on social media. Sometimes those unique case studies create more internal support than a whole stack of spreadsheets.

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