Social Media KPIs to leverage business growth
From TikTok to Facebook, global social media usage is booming at 4.89 billion people—that’s more than half the entire world population. And while not all of these audiences are using social media to interact with businesses, a significant number are. According to social media marketing statistics, social plays a vital role for businesses:
- Internet users spend an average of 151 minutes per day on social media
- Total spend on social media advertising is projected to hit $268 billion this year
- More consumers report finding a product from a targeted ad (49%) over an organic post by a brand (40%)
But in order to understand how social media is impacting your business specifically, you need to track the right social media metrics and KPIs. That’s where we come in—throughout this article, you’ll learn more about what social media KPIs are, how to set the right ones and which KPIs to track for each of your marketing goals.
What are social media KPIs & metrics?
KPI stands for key performance indicator. It’s a business term and isn’t limited to social media marketing. But in this guide, we’ll focus solely on social media KPIs.
KPIs are the numbers you look at to see if your strategy is working and meeting your goals. Metrics and KPIs by themselves don’t tell the whole story. It’s the combination of several KPIs that will help you see if you’re reaching the goal you want.
The KPIs listed in this article are grouped by category. To find most of these metrics, you’ll need a business account on each platform. The analytics section will give you the data you need, or you can use software like Sprout Social to compile the social media analytics you want more efficiently without pulling from separate networks individually.
How to set social media KPIs & metrics
But first, let’s talk about how to set the right social media KPIs so you’re tracking the most important metrics and analytics. Your KPIs should be directly correlated to your business goals. But more than that, they need to pertain to where you are in your business growth, strategy implementation and more.
Here are a few tips when pinpointing the right social media KPIs to track.
Determine your social media goals
First things first, you need to set social media goals. What are you hoping to achieve through your strategy? These should match the overarching business goals your company’s CEO, sales team and/or marketing team have decided on.
For example, if your company is trying to grow its audience and brand awareness, your social media goals to match and support that are likely going to focus on reach. But if your company wants to generate more leads and sales, your social media goals should surround conversions.
We’ve broken the social media KPIs listed in this article up by the social media goal to help you pinpoint the best KPIs and metrics to track to measure performance accurately and in a way that helps your company’s bottom line.
Look at your company’s growth stage
If you’re working for a startup that’s relatively new, sales are still important. But reach and engagement and focusing on building that community is going to be the best-case scenario for long-term social media and business growth. Startups are also going to be looking for market validation, so KPIs and metrics surrounding customer feedback are key.
More established businesses, however, might be focusing more on conversions and the costs associated with bringing those in from social media.
Pinpoint just a few KPIs to monitor
Keep this in mind: KPIs can be metrics, but not all metrics are KPIs. You might monitor a whole slew of social media metrics to determine your overall performance.
However, your KPIs are going to be directly correlated to your business’s bottom line. Name only a few that really help you understand whether your social media efforts are assisting your business’s overall goals.
For example, if your business goals focus on social media sales, you’ll still want to monitor metrics like follower count and web traffic. But your KPIs are going to be related to the number of sales per platform, total revenue or cost per acquisition.
1. Social media KPIs for reach
How do you know that your marketing messages and campaigns are getting to the right people? How far has that message spread? Reach is an umbrella term for how many people come across your social media accounts and posts. It also includes the potential number of people your marketing message can access.
An essential metric to track, follower count tells you how many accounts are keeping up with your brand. Every platform has its own version of followers or fans. These numbers are found right on your profile page. They can also be located within your social media management tool.
Social media impressions are not the same as social media reach. Impressions tell you how many times a post or profile has been seen. It doesn’t distinguish between unique accounts, but only totals up the views. So one account could see the same post in their feed four times, which equals to four impressions.
There are different types of impressions that are dependent on the network that you’re looking at. On Pinterest, for example, you can see impressions per Pin. On Instagram, impressions are given for both posts and stories.
In the social media world, post reach (a more specific metric than the overall category of reach KPIs) indicates the number of unique accounts that saw your post. Going back to the previous example, when that one account saw the same post four times, the post reach is one.
Post reach is often found in the same analytics area as post impressions. Due to the differences we’ve outlined, post reach will likely be lower than impressions. For example, you’ll be able to see that a post reach of 10 unique accounts generated 50 impressions.
Reach can be roughly calculated by dividing the number of impressions by the number of followers you have. It is also readily available for some platforms as well as by using a social media analytics tool.
Web traffic is a great way to see how well your posts with links to your website are performing, and it’s also another good measurement for campaign performance. Web referral traffic indicates the number of times someone clicked from your social media account to get to one of your website pages.
This data is readily available in Google Analytics or through a website builder if you have one.
This metric is useful for a number of things:
- How well a blog post is received on social media
- Success of any sales you run solely through social media
- Campaign success when you use a landing page that’s shared on social media
Share of voice
Share of voice (SOV) tells you how much online visibility you have compared to your competitors. This one doesn’t come readily available in native analytics. Instead, you’ll need to decide on keywords, hashtags or categories that you want to focus on. For example, if you want to see your SOV around topics relate to coffee, you would compile a list of hashtags and keywords to look at.
Then, you’d use a tool to gather information on how often your brand is mentioned with these words compared to the total number of times the key terms are mentioned overall. Without a uniform social media reporting system this comparison can be cumbersome, i.e. when you review hashtags individually, which is why a tool like Sprout offers both a hashtag report and keywords report to get a more effective overview of your SOV.
2. Social media KPIs for engagement
With reach metrics, you’ll know that people are looking at your posts and accounts, but how can you tell what else are they doing? Are they only looking or are they also clicking through posts, interacting with them or sharing them?
Social media engagement is vital to a brand’s success online. No engagement is akin to you talking to a group of people and everyone is either staring at you silently or just passing by.
Have you ever come across an Instagram caption where the first line was so intriguing that you just had to click to read more? Traditionally, clicks were about posts that had links that you could click on. But as social media posts have changed, so have clicks.
Clicks are everywhere. At the post level, a click could be an expansion of an Instagram caption or a tap on a Tweet to look through photos. There are also clicks that are made on your Instagram profile page and clicks you make to expand a Pin.
These numbers are found in native analytics or summarized in a tool like Sprout. As you dig into the social networks you’re targeting, you’ll learn in detail which clicks they track and how they name these metrics.
You’re familiar with double-tapping that post to show how much you enjoyed the Instagram photo. Likes and favorites indicate that the account appreciated your post enough to interact with it. And while some platforms like Instagram and Facebook are now hiding the Like count from public view, you’re still able to see these numbers in your analytics.
Post and profile shares are an excellent way to measure engagement. It means your post was so intriguing that your audience had to send it to someone or share it to another platform.
Shares have different names on different platforms. On Pinterest, it’s a save; on Twitter, a retweet; on Instagram, use of the share icon to either DMs or a Story; and on Facebook, it’s still called a share but you have many options to choose from. A high share count is also an indication of how viral a post is.
Along with likes, comments are another of those essential interactions that every platform has. Comments include those on posts and livestreams. You can track these in Sprout or find them in your native analytics, either per post or totaled up for an overall count.
Just like shares, comments are a good indicator of an engaging post. Your comment count can also help you figure out the bandwidth your social team has, or where they might need more resources. Not only are they meaningful as metrics, but you should also be developing a strategy to effectively manage social media comments so you’re engaging with your fans through replies and interactions.
Mentions are when an account tags your business account or mentions your brand. It can happen in a post, in a comment, in a story or directly to you. This metric is not always tracked natively so you may need to use a social media monitoring tool like Sprout to track how and how often your brand’s accounts are mentioned.
According to a recent survey fielded by The Harris Poll on behalf of Sprout Social, 55% of consumers learn about brands on social media. Your brand is being talked about whether or not you’re tracking it. To calculate your mentions metric, use a brand keyword report to see how often your brand is mentioned online, with or without being officially tagged.
When someone is just learning about your company, they’ll do things like visit your website, sign up for your newsletter and check out your profile page. The profile visit count tells you how often your page has been seen in a given amount of time. This number is found in native analytics and is a good reminder to keep your profile updated with your most important link destinations.
3. Social media KPIs for conversions
Now you know how to track both the results of your publishing on social media and how audiences are interacting with you. Now what? The next step in the marketing funnel is converting these interactions into customers.
When you sell products and promote them through your social media presence, you definitely want to know if all of your efforts are paying off. To figure out your sales revenue, take a look at your Google Analytics or website builder. You’ll be able to see which clicks from social media to your website converted into purchases and what the total from that is.
Many networks are also incorporating e-commerce so you can shop directly on the platform through posts or streams. In these cases, the numbers can be found in your shop analytics.
Lead conversion rate
The lead conversion rate lets you know how well your social media strategy is paying off. It takes time to build trust with a customer but there are many ways to generate leads via social media. They might not purchase from you at the very moment they see your product but eventually, when they do, they’ll be counted as a customer.
Google Analytics offers a way to track your lead conversion rate via social media. For some organizations, more complex attribution models and tracking tools may be an even better fit for their marketing funnel.
The last social media metric for tracking conversions is the non-revenue kind. This metric is for all the non-product or service actions that a customer could take. It includes things like email newsletter signups, a white paper download or filling out a signup form. This conversion is one that you set—you decide what counts as a conversion and what doesn’t.
4. Social media KPIs for customer loyalty
Having a positive social media interaction with a brand is highly important to customers and it shows up as increased purchases and recommendations to friends.
Sprout’s recent study found that after a positive interaction with a brand, consumers are willing to buy that brand (78%), choose that brand over the competition (77%), recommend the brand (76%), increase their spending with that brand (72%) and develop a stronger bond (70%). All of these stats indicate how social media help increase customer loyalty.
Cost per lead
The cost per lead KPI tells you how effective your advertising or lead generation strategy is. Every company and industry has different benchmarks for costs per lead. In general, if you have a high cost per lead, you have room to adjust your strategy and improve how you’re allocating your social marketing budget.
To find the cost per lead, take a look at your social media ads. Cost per clicks and conversion costs are found in ad analytics. You want to make sure that you’ve set up your paid social strategy for success with an efficient use of budget.
Social media is increasingly becoming the platform of choice for consumers to navigate service questions and issues. The issues resolved metric is not one that you can find inside of a native analytics dashboard. Instead, you’ll need to calculate this on your own by tagging Instagram and Facebook DMs in their combined Inbox, or by using Sprout’s Inbox Team Report to get a detailed look at how effectively your team is managing messages.
Sprout Social’s 2022 Index showcases that more than half (59%) of consumers expect a brand response in less than 12 hours, and the 76% expect a response within 24 hours.
To track how quickly you respond to issues, you’ll need a tool like Sprout that can report on these metrics. A faster response time leads to happier customers which in turn leads to customer loyalty.
Customer lifetime value
The customer lifetime value tells you in dollar amounts how much a customer buys from you over a period of time. After their initial purchase, your goal will be to get returning customers that will make further purchases. With the right customer loyalty strategies, you’ll find that you have a high customer lifetime value.
To calculate this metric, multiply the customer value by the average customer lifespan. Online CLV calculators also exist to help you with this process.
Use social media KPIs to grow your business
Tracking social media KPIs is an important part of any social media marketing strategy. Without tracking, you won’t know if you’re succeeding in your business goals. Use a combination of KPIs to match up with the goals you established.
For example, when you know how many comments, shares and likes your posts are generating, you’ll be able to track your overall post engagement rate. This number will increase over time as you use strategies that target engagement.
The future of customer service and business growth is in social media. Take a look at our report on how consumers and executives alike use social media and how those actions are impacting business.
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