Five Questions That Will Help You Define Social Media KPIs

Social media is no longer a hobby (and no longer the sole domain of interns).  It’s often one of the first points of contact that consumers have with your brand.  If you’re devoting time and effort to your social strategy, you need to measure what’s working…and what’s not.  And measurement all depends on some well-defined social media KPIs (key performance indicators).


So what are KPIs?

Simply put, key performance indicators are the metrics you use to measure a campaign’s success.  They should be established before your campaign begins so that you know what to monitor and track throughout.  As with any other type of marketing, social media marketing, both organic and paid, should have measurable, trackable goals.  After all, if you don’t track anything, then how can you do more of what works?


Do social channels affect my KPIs?

Each social network has its own quirks and ways that users interact with content, so there will be some slight variations in what you can measure per channel.  However, some metrics like impressions/reach, likes, and comments will be available across most channels.  Still, if your objective (more on that in a minute) is network specific – like “grow Instagram follower base,” for example, that will obviously impact what KPIs you need to measure.


What should be the focus of my social media efforts?

It’s tempting to try and do everything at once with your social media presence but determining one overall goal for a specific time frame helps you define KPIs and create content with a more targeted focus.  Are you trying to grow your follower base?  Do you want to increase engagement on your posts?  Do you want to increase visits to your website?

To think of it in another way – what stage of the customer journey (Awareness, Interest, Decision, Action) are you at right now with your social media?  Maybe you’ve been posting content consistently for a while and aren’t getting the engagement you’d like on your posts – you want to get more fans into the Interest stage.  Or maybe you’re just starting out and really want to build Awareness amongst your target audience. Your specific objective not only determines what kinds of content you’ll post, but what KPIs you should measure to assess your progress.


Which KPIs do I measure?

Now we get to the nitty-gritty.  Social media can really be used at all points of the customer journey but keeping your overall goal in mind that you chose previously will determine where you should focus.


Awareness:  Social is a great awareness tool – just think of all the brands you’ve discovered through an Instagram browse or Facebook video.  Awareness is all about eyeballs, so measuring things like total impressions/reach per profile and average impressions/reach per post is your main focus here.

Interest:  This is the stage at which consumers have seen your brand and like what you have to say.  Page likes are a good indicator of Interest, as well as post likes, comments, video views, and profile visits.

Decision:  Customers trust what your brand has to say and are more than happy to share your brand with others.  Things like content shares, brand mentions, and social media reviews indicate that consumers have decided that your brand is worth talking about.

Action:  And finally, this is the stage at which the customer is ready to do something, ideally take their love for your brand from social media to your website or store.  In this stage, you can measure social media metrics like link clicks, and web-based metrics like referrals by source, page visits, page views, content downloads, product exploration, and purchases.  If Action is your goal, it’s important to tie your social media marketing efforts to your website to see if your social efforts are really moving the needle.


Okay, I’m measuring…now what?

Use the things you learn from your measurement and reporting to refine and adjust your content strategy.  Simply put, do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.  Social media is always changing, so it’s important to pay attention to what resonates with your audience.