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What Key Performance Indicators Matter for Social Media?

Posted by Jessica Kumor on April 6, 2017

Social media marketing brings with it dozens of types of meaningful interactions with your audience. With that in mind, it can be difficult for marketers to determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) they should be tracking. If you’re trying to put a dollar amount on the value of your social media, you first need to drill down to the ones that are important to your business. Here are some of the KPIs that usually matter the most.

Audience Engagement Key Performance Indicators

What Key Performance Indicators Matter for Social Media?

  • Followers. Followers are by far the easiest metric to track, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the most important. Having active, engaged and — above all — real followers is incredibly beneficial. But having followers who aren’t real or who don’t interact with your brand can actually be harmful, and buying followers is usually not worth the trouble. While tracking followers is a good overall metric of performance, it shouldn’t be relied upon for all of your social media analysis. 
  •  Shares. Sharing is often considered to be a more important KPI than views or likes. A share means that a user not only saw your content and liked it, but liked it enough to send it to other people. Users who share content are identifying with a brand and allowing it to become part of their own social media personality. Sharing can greatly extend the reach of content and can even make content go viral.
  • Comments. When users comment on social media, they are spending their time engaging with the brand. They are also adding content and often engaging with other users. Social media content that has more comments will generally be more popular and successful than other social media content. It means your content has provoked a response. Of course, this response can either be positive or negative, which means that comments alone can be a somewhat volatile metric.
  • Mentions. Being tagged on social media indicates that users are going out of their way to interact with your brand. It shows you have achieved some level of brand awareness; users aren’t just consuming your content but are actively engaging with your business. Mentions are tracked by brands in order to identify their core demographics and how much buzz is currently surrounding their products. People who frequently mention a brand in their messages may eventually become brand ambassadors, developing a long-term relationship with your company.
Using Key Performance Indicators to Measure Return on Investment

What Key Performance Indicators Matter for Social Media?

Measuring the ROI of a social media advertising campaign is as important as it is difficult. Social media campaigns do a lot for a business that may not be immediately quantifiable, in terms of brand awareness, brand voice and brand identity. Nevertheless, it’s all but impossible to improve upon and optimize these campaigns if you can’t assign a dollar figure to their performance. 

Once you've identified your key performance indicators, it's time to run some numbers.

Begin by determining the value of each customer. You can do this by averaging out the amount of money customers generally spend with your business throughout their entire relationship. Now comes the tricky part. You need to consider the conversion rating. For social media campaigns, it’s very difficult to track conversion — but it can be done. Here is an example:

  • An average customer for your business makes approximately $1,000 in purchases on your site.
  • For each 100 followers you have on Twitter, one of them clicks through and makes a purchase.
  • Each follower you have on Twitter is consequently worth $10, on average.

And, of course, you must deduct the costs of your social media campaign. If your campaign currently costs $1,000 a month and you gain 1,000 followers a month, then the cost of each follower is $1. The actual return on spending is 10:1. Now you can compare this spending to other types of advertising campaigns, such as your PPC campaigns.

Knowing the ROI of your social media campaigns isn’t just important in expressing their value to higher-level executives and business owners. It also makes it far easier to project and predict performance. Even though social media campaigns can be a little difficult to pin down in terms of performance, it can be done — and sometimes even a rough estimate is better than no estimate at all. The more effective your reporting is, the more effective your marketing department will be — and the better your business outcomes will be. 


Topics: Digital Marketing

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