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How-Tu Tuesday: Understanding Social Media Metrics

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

July 21st 2015

Traditional and digital marketing methods differ hugely in many ways, from the tools used to the delivery and implementation of these tools. However, the same common goal is shared; raising brand awareness and increasing sales. Just as it has always been key for advertising campaigns, PR activities and direct marketing to be measured in terms of engagement and ROI, it is just as important for companies to measure the success of their digital marketing and social media efforts. Any investment, whether that be money or time must be accounted for and the successes or failures highlighted in order to grow and improve.

Below are a number of key social media metrics that should not be ignored, detailing the best ways to gain a meaningful measurement that can be easily understood and put into context of the wider marketing plan and goals.

  1. Engagement

Engagement measures how much and how often others are interacting with the content being posted on your accounts. Engagement covers everything from liking, favouriting, retweeting, sharing, repining, sharing and commenting. There are a number of engagement and sharing metrics which can be used to illustrate audience interaction levels. This is important for highlighting the success of content and areas where there is potential for growth and further reach. A number of the social networks provide their own detailed insights which should be utilised, including:

  • Facebook – engagement rate is measured through the number of people who have liked, commented on or shared a post, divided by the post’s reach
  • LinkedIn – engagement rate is identified through the number of interactions, clicks and followers acquired, divided by the number of impressions
  • Google+ – engagement is measured through a combination of +1’s, shares and comments

Engagement metrics should be used to guide content strategy by understanding which posts work well and garner interaction, as well as identifying the types of posts which do not engage your following. Furthermore, levels of engagement can help companies to find key influencers and potential brand advocates; if there are people who are consistently engaging with your account then there could be some scope to utilise them and create more of a meaningful relationship with them, subsequently gaining an increase in exposure.

  1. Demographics

Measuring your demographic is an extremely important and effective way of deciphering whether your social media strategy is working and if it is attracting the people that are being targeted by your wider marketing activities and brand message. Facebook is particularly good at providing users with a breakdown of the type of people who are engaging with your content and both Facebook and Twitter allow you to carefully select the gender, age, location and interests of your target market when using paid advertising.

Followerwonk is an extremely useful tool for Twitter and analysing followers. The metrics that can be gained from this software defines exactly who the customer is by providing statistics on where they are located in the world, when they are most active on Twitter, the most common words that are being used in tweets, their influence and engagement rating and how many followers they have themselves.

  1. Reach and Exposure

It is important to understand the difference between reach and exposure; reach is based on your total follower count, whilst exposure further expands on your potential audience by also taking into account the number of followers each of your followers have. Users can measure their reach by simply checking how many followers they have across the different social platforms, however, exposure is a slightly more complicated metric to gauge. Social media management and analytics platforms such as Hootsuite and Sproutsocial provide detailed insights into the levels of exposure generated from each post published. A comparison between exposure and mentions should be made as this will highlight potential influencers; if a post’s exposure levels are much higher that its mentions then this means someone with a large following is sharing the content.

  1. Website Traffic

Platforms such as Blogger and WordPress provide basic insights illustrating the number views per post/page, unique visitors to the site, how those visitors found your website and the device and browser they are using. However, if you want to know more about the people you are attracting to your website Google Analytics is an essential tool to make use of. Google Analytics is a simple piece of coding which, when copied into a website’s template, can monitor all traffic to the website. This includes all traffic coming from the various social media platforms which highlights how the public are finding your website and which platforms customers are most active on. Check out our previous How-Tu Tuesday on Google Analytics if you want to find out more.

  1. Sales (ROI)

Google Analytics is also a powerful tool for measuring ROI. This is arguably the most difficult metric to measure in social media. However, there are a number of ways to identify a link between your social activity and the sales you are generating. They include:

  • Tracking links to the website, which illustrates a customer’s journey to your website and their activity whilst they are browsing. This is most effective for a company with an ecommerce website as it highlights which social media platform the customer came from and if they went on to purchase anything. This depicts a clear link between the social platform and the sale
  • For companies who provide services and have no direct sales being made on the website, it is more difficult to measure ROI electronically. By manually recording all enquiries and obtaining information from consumers about how they found the website companies can get an understanding about the most popular platforms and which networks are most effective in driving sales

For more information on measuring the ROI of your social media activity, click here.

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