With the exception that you’ve been dwelling in a cave (eco-friendly - no judgement!), you’ll probably already know that social media plays an essential role in promoting your business/brand and building an online presence.

However, if you’re routinely posting out to every platform going and not seeing the kind of returns you’d like, you may need to take a look at social media KPIs.

KPIs enable you to assess your current activities, then work out quickly and easily what needs doing and on which platforms, saving precious time and money with more refined, measured processes. However; rather than just delving in and measuring everything, the best tactic is to work out which social media Key Performance Indicators are likely to work the best for your company/brand.

First things first: what exactly are KPIs?

A KPI is an indicator of measurable value, used to identify how well a brand or business is doing at achieving trackable goals - whether on social media or in general sales performance.

When talking about social media, the three main areas measured and tracked are:

  • Engagement
  • Follower growth
  • Reach (social visits and leads)

As mentioned above, you could (and many companies make the mistake of doing it!) measure pretty much every metric in these three main areas, but it is worth taking the time to examine your social media content strategy so you can identify which KPIs are likely to be of real value to your brand and business.

Make a brew and settle in - here we go!

TIP 1 - Evaluate Your Current Activities
Which platforms do you currently have a presence on? Are they working for you?
Take a good look at your performance and how you’re currently measuring them:

  • What social media metrics am I focusing on at the moment?
  • Who is doing the measuring and how often?
  • What do I do with the results? Are they passed on/recorded somewhere?
  • Am I acting on my social media metrics?

By assessing your existing social media campaigns and the channels you’re using, you’ll gain valuable insights into your performance - and if your efforts are actually working, or not.

Take a look at various metrics, for example:

  • How many followers your brand has on all social media channels used
  • The fluctuation in follower numbers (does this go up and down based on different factors i.e. the time of the year, product launches?)
  • How often you post, and what days/times of the day you’re posting, and the interactions your posts receive (all of those lovely likes, re-tweets and shares!).

To do this you’ll need a few tools.

You can use in-built tools such as Twitter Analytics to get a good impression of how your posts are performing “on platform” and general tools such as Google Analytics to get an overview of web traffic as a result of your social media activity.

Tools such as Beacon take it to the next level, drilling down into each individual social post and providing very detailed metrics (beyond likes, shares and comments) to see actual, direct traffic to your website. Here’s a graphic of my dashboard:

Beacon Screenshot[22241].png

Here, I can see tracked social media and website activity, reporting on a set of KPIs, giving me a good overview of how my website is performing, based on traffic from individual social posts (good or bad, depending on how engaging my social posts and website content are at any given time). With this kind of information available at a glance, I can set targets to measure and improve my metrics.

TIP 2 - Identify Your Future Goals
When you’re all done and dusted with Tip 1, you’ll have a good idea of what’s been happening with your social media channels and what’s been working. Now you can refine your processes by identifying the goals you want to achieve going forward.

Think of this as the backbone of your reviewing process. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • How many followers do I get on average each month?
  • How often do I post per day/week/month?
  • How many interactions are my posts getting and what kind are they?

It could be that Twitter is your most active platform - you post every day and you’re getting a steady rise in followers. However, you’re not getting many comments or likes/shares, and, after checking your analytics, you see that you’re not driving much traffic to your website directly from your posts either.

This could be your first KPI to track and monitor - focus on being more proactive and interactive with other users in a bid to encourage likes, comments and shares on your posts. Provide as much value to your audience as you can, for example; could you offer coupons or sale codes on your products, or perhaps a free trial of your service in return for feedback? Set a goal outlining exactly what you want to achieve and a specific date to do it by.

Alternatively, you may want to spread your wings, expanding your reach to another platform. Instagram is a great example, it consistently gets a lot of traction with brands due to a high engagement rate, in particular with the younger demographic. A Pew Research Center survey for the start of 2018 found Instagram use in the 18-24 age bracket to be at a whopping 71% in the USA.

Ask yourself; what do you really hope to achieve from your social media content strategy. Set goals, such as:

  • Driving more traffic to your website
  • Increasing your product sales
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Gaining and building relationships with influencers
  • Providing higher levels of customer satisfaction

And remember, you can always use SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely - it’s been around for aeons!) targets to achieve your goals, whichever social channel you plan on using, as the basics will stay the same.

TIP 3 - Bring Your Research Together
Now it’s time to collate all of your results, ready for the next stage in the process.

It’s important to note the reaction and distribution to different types of social media posts as well as knowing where your social media followers come from. Include visual elements - i.e. photos, videos, SnapChat or Instagram Stories, in addition to status updates with just text or perhaps including emojis or smaller graphics, remembering that some content is generally more effective than others.

Again, Twitter is a great example of this. Tweets with an image have been proven to bring in a much higher engagement rate at 150% more re-tweets. Image Tweets receive 89% more favourites and 18% more clicks than those without - that’s a massive difference!

Once you’ve carried out a full analysis of all of your social media efforts, you can move on to setting your brand and business goals. Chat to all members in your social media and marketing teams to make sure everyone has the same understanding of the goals you want to achieve. I use Discord every single day - it keeps me in touch with everyone, regardless of location.

Nearly there!

TIP 4 - Create Your New Social Media Strategy
Now’s the exciting part! You’ve reached the end of your evaluation phase and it’s time to put into practice everything you’ve learned. With a good overview of the key metrics, you can establish the KPIs you want to track and measure and continually analyse and adjust your social media performance and strategy accordingly.

As I’ve covered, identifying your brand or business KPIs really comes down to two things:

  1. What are the most important objectives for your business?
  2. Choosing KPIs which can be used to forecast changes over time

The more obvious fixed KPIs Include; follower numbers, post engagement (what kinds of content work the best for you) and website visitor numbers. With this kind of KPI, you can track changes over specific time periods and tweak your posting strategy to take advantage of patterns in the analytics.

Include your internal KPIs too. When you’ve worked out the KPIs you want to focus on, set up strategies and tracking processes to establish who will be doing what and when. This makes it easier to analyse productivity per platform and also provides a great overall perspective of your social content teams’ ongoing activities.

In Conclusion...

The KPIs you measure will ultimately depend on the aim/goal driving your social media activities.

If your priority is to boost revenue and sales, your KPIs should concentrate on finding the number of leads and conversions you get from your social media channels. This will enable you to identify which of your followers are paying customers (who click through to your website to make purchases as a direct result of your social media activity).

Or, if your intention is to build your brand reputation and increase reach, your KPIs should measure follower numbers, engagement, shares and comments.

Always note down why you chose specific KPIs to track and analyse. This will help you to evaluate your ongoing performance as you’ll have solid reasons as to why you and your team decided to focus on them as a reference. I use tools such as Trello to keep all of my notes together for future reference (and set tasks on there too).

And finally, remember, there isn’t a “one size fits all” set of social media KPIs - only the ones that will work the best for your brand.

The end has arrived! Thanks for staying with me. If you’d like to try out Beacon, they have a free 14-day trial running at the moment.