To some degree, we’re all guilty of being a bit vain at times. This rings particularly true when it comes to our business’ social media accounts. A huge following makes us feel great, ecstatic even, when we start to compare ourselves to others. But, the devil is always in the details. While surface level “vanity metrics” such as Likes and Followers matter, it is often other metrics that guide us toward social media success.
So what Metrics Matter?
You’re probably looking for a definitive answer here. Unfortunately, I can’t give you one without knowing what you’re after. Are you looking to drive brand awareness? To sell your goods or services? Or are you looking to push traffic to the landing page for an upcoming event? The list goes on and on. The specific metrics that matter are based on the goals you’ve tied to your social media activities.
What I can tell you, is that if you’re not hitting your (hopefully realistic) goals, engagement is probably an issue.
To keep it simple, I’ve included a few common goals, and how engagement impacts them, below. As you’ll see, many times the surface-level metric only goes so far in helping us optimize our efforts.
Goal - Build a Larger Following (aka Increase Brand Awareness)
Main Metric - Month Over Month Audience Growth
Secondary Metric - Post Engagement (likes, shares, comments, retweets, mentions, etc.)
If brand awareness is your goal, it makes sense that you’re looking to increase the size of your audience. Measuring against that goal is as simple as it gets – audience growth over time. However, audience growth only shows you breadth of awareness (aka more people know who you are) not depth of awareness (aka more meaningful relationships with those that are already familiar with your brand). Post engagement in the form of comments, shares, and mentions (to name a few) show that the content you’re sharing is actually resonating with your audience. This is crucial if you want to maintain the audience you build and turn your members into brand advocates. Nothing is worse than gaining an audience member only to lose two along the way due to a perceived lack of value.
Goal - Drive Blog Traffic
Main Metric - Blog Traffic Source
Secondary Metric - Post Engagement (shares, retweets, pins, etc.)
If driving traffic to your blog is your goal, you should monitor Google Analytics for an increase in socially driven traffic. However, traffic source isn’t the end all be all here. You could see an increase just by putting a few dollars behind a Facebook post, but it’s much more effective if the content is so good your current audience does the work spreading the word for you. Are your blog entries being shared, pinned and retweeted? If not, your email list probably isn’t growing and your traffic will depend entirely on your advertising budget. If engagement is great, pump out more of the same and you should continue to see your blog traffic increase month over month.
Without engagement, an audience of any size won’t help you achieve your goals. Focus on the “vanity metrics” if you must, but remember…
Audiences in and of themselves don’t provide ROI, the way you engage with them does!
Engagement truly is the litmus test that tells us whether or not the content we’re putting out there is providing any value to our audience. When engagement is high, we hit our goals. When engagement is low, we need to go back to the drawing board and ask ourselves what we can do better.
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