By Felicia Guthrie
Are you tracking your social media metrics?
Whether you’re tracking social media metrics already or you haven’t started yet, it’s important to note why they matter and which analytics matter most. If you have a particular goal in mind – and you certainly should for social media – it’s important to track your progress. After all, how will you measure your success or gauge what you need to improve without data?
What are vanity metrics?
As the name suggests, vanity metrics, are metrics that can be vain: they look impressive, but they may be of little use. Vanity metrics, in some cases, can also be manipulated. For example, people can buy fake followers.
So, when we are talking in terms of metrics, this can include, views, page likes, page fans, subscribers or followers, etc.
These metrics might not be the best indicator of your success, but this doesn’t mean they are “bad” either. For example, if growing your audience is one of your social media goals, tracking your subscribers or followers (in addition to other metrics) can certainly be helpful. These metrics can sometimes also provide a bit of social proof (leading others to engage with your brand).
So, if you don’t have a massive number of followers or thousands of views, don’t worry too much, there are other goals you can strive towards and other metrics that you can use to measure your social media success.
What are growth metrics?
Growth metrics are metrics that can be used to measure your success and that can help refine your social media tactics. These types of metrics can also change slightly depending on which social media platform(s) you’re active on.
In general, some important growth metrics include engagement, clicks, reach, etc.
Let’s dig in a little more and talk about each of these.
Engagement – Engagement is one of the most important metrics because it indicates how audiences interact with your brand and can show you whether or not certain content is resonating with your audience. With that in mind, you can use engagement metrics to help shape your future strategy and tactics. Engagement includes a selection of several metrics such as comments, likes, and shares.
Remember when we said engagement metrics can differ depending on the platform? Currently in 2021, for example, the most important engagement metrics on Instagram, are comments, likes, shares, and saves. Why? Well, these metrics will dictate where your content shows up on your followers’ Instagram feeds. Have you ever noticed you see more content from certain brands? That could be because they have high engagement from a number of shares, likes, saves, and comments.
Clicks – This metric is important because it shows the number of users that are clicking a link to visit your online store, website, blog, or other provided links, and can tell you what types of content get you more traffic. Like engagement, this helps you understand what content is working and what needs to be worked on.
Also, ask yourself whether you include calls-to-action in your social media posts. Do you invite people to visit your website, read your blogs, or to shop your online store? If you aren’t doing this already, try implementing it into your current strategy and review the results. And remember, results aren’t always instant, so give things some time to breathe and grow!
Reach – Reach tells you how many people are seeing your content. By tracking this over time, you can spot spikes in your reach, and you can review what content is seen more. For example, let’s say quote images, quick tutorial videos, and product images are part of your editorial calendar on social media. You may see a consistent higher post reach on one or two of those types of content. Is something outperforming others? Is one piece of content not reaching as many people and not gaining as much engagement?
Tracking this metric can help you review the impact of your content so that you can refine your strategy. You may decide, for example, to change up the content, change up the timing, or change up your hashtags to reach a greater audience. Maybe all three!
As mentioned earlier, track your results but don’t be discouraged if you don’t see instant results because you may not always get them. Give it some time to breathe and grow.
Where to start
Now that you have an idea of why metrics are important and you know the difference between growth metrics and vanity metrics, put together a tracking document.
Think about your social media goals and start there. If you want to get more engagement, make sure to track data such as likes, comments, shares, etc – again this can be dictated a bit by the platform you’re on. If you want to grow your community – you’ll want to include stats such as followers or subscribers, reach, and more. You can even keep track of all available metrics to get a bigger picture of social media insights while still concentrating on a few key metrics.
If you haven’t looked at your insights yet, you might be asking where the heck they are anyway. Facebook Pages, Business Instagram accounts, Twitter, and Youtube will all have “Insights” or “Analytics” sections that you can access and review. If you’re using a social media program that posts content for you, such as Later or Hootsuite, you will also be able to access data there as well.
Does managing social media, posting, and tracking sound like TOO much? Do you need a little more guidance?