What Social Media Metrics Should You Be Paying Attention to?

August 9, 2018 / By

I think it’s safe to say that we all understand just how important data is in guiding our social media marketing efforts. Not only does it help us create content that’s based on the interests, pain points, questions, etc., of our target audience, but it also helps us understand how and when our target audience consumes our content which helps us become better marketers.

While we know it’s essential, sometimes we can get lost in the influx of data that we actually neglect the numbers that really matter to us. Instead, we find ourselves staring at our screens as if we were trying to decode hieroglyphics on the wall of a cave.

Trust me; I’ve been guilty of doing the same thing. However, my goal in this post is to demystify and simplify the data so that you can focus on the social media metrics that pack the biggest punch.

The trifecta of social media metrics is comprised of three components (hence why it’s called a trifecta). They are, reach, engagement, and conversions.

Collage with business-centric photos and a banner overlay that reads, "Three Social Media Metrics."

Reach

The long and the short is that reach is essentially a social media metric that measures your potential audience size and helps you understand the big picture of the context of your content. Is your content striking a chord with your audience? How big is your audience?

Now, what value would I be bringing to the table if I left the explanation there? I’ll answer that, not very helpful. So, let’s break it down a bit more.

Reach is defined as the total number of people who see your content. This is to not be confused with impressions which is the number of times your content is displayed (clicked on or not) to a user.

Basically, reach is how wide of a net that you’ve cast with your content. How far is your messaging spreading and how big is the audience that’s receiving your message?

Its power in numbers and reach alone can only take you so far. Reach is most effective when it’s compared with other engagement metrics. This shockingly enough leads us to our next social media metric, engagement.

Engagement

So, we’ve established that reach is defined as your potential audience size. Now, it’s time for the rubber to meet the road and pair that metric with engagement to start getting more bang for our buck.

This is an important social media metric to pay attention to because it’s essentially the lifeline that connects your brand to your target audience and helps you understand if people are talking about your brand on social and engaging (hence, engagement) with your content.

At its core, engagement is based on the number of unique people who have engaged with your content. Now, based on the platform, the definition of engagement varies. On Twitter, a good gauge of engagement would be a retweet/retweet with a comment while on Facebook and Instagram; engagement could be defined by comments and replies.

You might have noticed that I didn’t mention anything about likes. That’s because I don’t believe that they are a good measure of engagement and they are more or less a vanity metric.

Hear me out.

I want you to think about it for a second and think about how you use social media. Let’s say it’s your lunch break and you are mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed. Nine times out of 10 you’re probably absent-mindedly double tapping as you speed scroll through your feed. By the end of it, you can’t even name five pictures that you liked because you did it without thinking.

Your target audience is probably doing the same thing for your content. They are blindly going through their feed and liking pictures on a whim. With that being said, do you think that a “like” is an accurate depiction of your engagement?

Sure, it makes you feel cool when your post racks up a decent amount of likes, but at the end of the day, do likes translate into relationships and revenue? Odds are the answer is a hard no.

Which brings me back to the crux of this section that engagement should be based on your goals. Are you interested in creating interactions through replies and comments or are you more concerned with building brand awareness and spreading your message via retweets and conversations on social? Make sure that you establish a goal from the beginning so that you can accurately gauge if and how to tweak your strategy moving forward.

Conversions

I have (in my opinion) saved the most important social media metric for last and it is, as you could already tell by reading the header of this section, conversions.

Why is it the single most important social media metric to consider? It’s essentially the proof that what you’re doing is working or in some cases, not working. A conversion is the primary action that you want a user to take from your social media efforts. It can be associated with organic and paid efforts.

No matter how big or how small your brand is, odds are that an overarching business goal is some sort of acquisition whether it’s lead generation, email newsletter sign-ups, product sales, etc.

As the old saying goes, “The proof is in the pudding,” and conversions give us the hardcore proof that our efforts are either working or need to be improved.

Reach, engagement, and conversions, these are the three social media metrics that I pay attention to on a daily basis. What metrics do you focus on?

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