You’ve got a great idea to promote your business, and you know just how to get it out there: social media. You’ve done your homework. You’ve put together some killer creative images and videos. You opened accounts on all the relevant platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and the rest – and have started sharing your message. You’ve got some followers. Those likes and comments are coming in. Everything seems to be going great, or so you think.
But wait a minute. How do you know how well your social media efforts are going – like, really, actually know, in a mathematical, black-and-white, numbers-and-percentages sort of way?
Enter social media KPIs.
If that term is new or unclear, you’ve come to the right blog. But, honestly, even if you’re well-versed in the notion of key performance indicators, I’d recommend you stick around and read a bit further on – we’ll be getting fairly deep into the nitty-gritty of things today, and you might find you learn something new, too.
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What are social media KPIs?
To start at the beginning of things, though, social media KPIs – or key progress indicators – are pretty much exactly what it says on the tin:
KPIs give a sense of performance over time, highlighting how far you’ve come and how much farther you can go.
That definition only tells one part of the story, though. Social media is a complex beast, after all – and that means there are no shortage of KPIs to explore, keep an eye on, and ultimately, unfortunately, get bogged down in if you’re not careful.
That’s where I come in. Today, we’ll be taking a look at a variety of social media KPIs.
- First, we will explore the distinction between KPIs and overarching social media metrics
- Then look at what to focus on to achieve your goals
- Finally, discuss how the big platforms of Facebook and Instagram handle KPIs
Whew – that’s a lot! So, without further ado, then, let’s jump in.
Social media metrics to track
Which metrics are worth singling out, though? And how do you know what goals or opportunities they relate to? These are great questions – exactly what we’re about to explore next.
The first major social media KPI I’ll focus on today is “reach.”
Think of reach as the number of people who drive by your social media billboard along their journey on the internet highway.
They see your content and are exposed to it but are having an exclusively passive interaction with it.
Reach isn’t an active KPI in the way some others, like engagement, might be, but it has an essential function in representing brand awareness, audience growth, and more. Some stand-out reach metrics include:
- Number of followers: the number of people currently following or liking your social media account.
- Impressions: the number of times a post was shown in somebody’s feed or timeline.
- Post reach: the number of people’s eyeballs who have seen your post since it went live. Remember that this means your post is simply showing up in someone’s feed, even if they scroll right by it.
- Share of voice: this metric is interesting in that it shows the number of people who mention your brand on a specific social media platform compared to competitors in the industry – helpful information!
Taking things one step beyond reach is engagement KPIs.
The metrics that inform these crucial progress indicators are typically a level up from the types of reach-aligned numbers we just covered.
Engagement KPIs focus on the quantity and quality of direct interactions people have with you on social media.
These numbers are worth knowing because they showcase how effective you are in speaking to the right audience, capturing that audience’s attention, and compelling them enough to click or connect with your brand in some way, shape, or fashion.
Regarding metrics, some tried-and-true engagement KPIs include:
- Clicks: the number of clicks your videos or posts get. It doesn’t matter what kind of clicks – likes, comments, CTAs, whatever – this metric is powerful, especially during the early stages of a social media campaign. It shows that your audience likes what you’re sharing because it’s driving them to interact with it.
- Likes: the most rudimentary sort of positive interaction you can track on social media – the number of times your audience clicks the “Like” button.
- Shares: the number of times audience members have shared your post on their timelines or to their follo Like old-time radio and TV endorsements, shares can be a rewarding (albeit difficult!) KPI to measure and pursue.
- Comments: the number of times people have commented on a specific post. Comments can just as often be a negative metric as they are a positive one, though – no one’s out there trying to get ratioed, after all!
- Mentions: similar to shares, mentions also trade in that same word-of-mouth style of brand awareness. But like comments, mentions can also be associated with either positive or negative sentiment, so be sure to dig into this number for the actual
- Profile visits: the number of times your profile page is visited over a set period of time.
If engagement KPIs are the next step in a customer’s journey following their initial exposure to your brand as identified by reach, then conversion KPIs come after engagement.
Conversion KPIs point toward actions your audience members are taking that align with the goal of your marketing efforts.
This might be as cut and dry as someone making a purchase, but it might also be a higher-funnel action such as a website visit, a user registration, or any other action you’re working to get people to take.
Conversion KPIs typically tend to include metrics such as:
- Sales: the number of direct sales that have resulted from a social media strategy, campaign or post.
- Lead conversion rate: the number of social interactions that have resulted in a tangible lead for a client. That lead could take the form of any number of actions depending on your business but typically involves a customer expressing interest in a service or product by sharing some form of contact information with you.
- Non-revenue conversions: similar to my initial example, a non-revenue conversion could be an action such as creating an account on a website, registering for a newsletter, signing up for a mailing list, or more.
The key to securing leads is ensuring you’ve got a rock-solid landing page for users to click through, whether it is your homepage or another page on your website.
You need to have a landing page that:
- Contains WIFT (What’s In it For Them) bullet points
- Clearly defined calls-to-action
- Has a big ol’ “Buy Now” button that can’t be missed
After all, it doesn’t do any good to send potential customers and clients to your site if once they get there, it’s unclear how to close out their purchase!
You might ask how you track all this after they leave your social account. First, have Google Analytics set up on your destination page, with conversion goals to follow your audience’s sales path.
Customer Loyalty KPIs
Finally, closing out the customer journey from brand awareness to engagement to conversion is your customer loyalty KPIs.
These metrics reveal what people think about your brand once they’ve interacted with it as customers.
This acts as a predictor of whether they’ll be back as repeat business.
Important customer loyalty KPIs typically include:
- Cost per lead: this metric is a breakdown of the price you paid to create and manage your social media campaign divided across the number of leads or conversion actions it generated. A lower cost-per-lead indicates a strategy that resonated with your audience and had a strong desired impact. It suggests that you met their expectations with you as a brand through a compelling post, offering or service. A higher cost-per-lead, on the other hand, suggests you didn’t quite hit the mark, indicating an opportunity to push for better in future content.
- Issues resolved: this number indicates the number of problems presented to your brand that you were able to fix – a metric critical to building and maintaining a loyal brand following and online community.
- Customer lifetime value: tracking this number as a social media KPI informs you of the typical dollar value a customer represents to your business throughout your connection with them. It also indicates loyalty, likelihood of repeat business, and longevity of business relationship.
Social media KPIs specific to Instagram
Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of social media KPIs worth watching, I wanted to close out by digging into just how these numbers translate across the biggest social media platforms, starting with Instagram.
Regarding Instagram KPIs, a typical post covers all the same reach and engagement KPIs mentioned above.
On Instagram, overall reach is heavily determined by Story views and Reel engagements (comments and likes) as Instagram is a media-centric platform.
For conversion KPIs, sales are often managed through Instagram’s proprietary e-commerce platforms (including Feed Post Shopping, IG Live Shopping, and more).
So, when evaluating these metrics, ensure you are tracking these within the platform’s system. Track website clicks and conversions if you focus on getting people to your website via Instagram.
Last but not least, and certainly one not to be forgotten, follower growth and profile visits remain essential social media KPIs to monitor.
Social media KPIs unique to Facebook
Facebook was one of the industry’s original pioneers (if not THE original pioneer), meaning that most of the KPIs we chatted about above are cut from the cloth that Meta weaved.
Clicks, comments, shares, reach, impressions, follower growth – these are all primary Facebook KPIs, as is conversion rates and cost per click/lead/impression.
The best time to post should also be a factor here – just like with Instagram – but where Facebook tends to get interesting is when it comes to demographics. Demographics are the characteristics of your followers — age, household income, location, etc.
Facebook’s demographic-fuelled approach to social media is unparalleled, allowing you to target your audience based on age and location, gender, interests, and more.
By knowing your brand, product and audience, you can put together some precious social media content and target it at precisely the folks you designed it to appeal to.
Pretty potent stuff.
The difference between KPIs and metrics
KPIs and metrics are sometimes used interchangeably but are quite distinct in regard to managing your social media success.
In a nutshell, social media metrics are the numbers, information, and data that make up and inform an overarching KPI, typically representing a specific business goal you’re trying to achieve.
The number of followers or total impressions, for example, are metrics that might be helpful to estimate your reach KPI.
By identifying a relevant metric and singling it out as a critical progress indicator, you’re plotting a course for your social media strategy and your business. This shows you which opportunities are crucial to your success as you progress with your promotional efforts.
The final word on key performance indicators
There’s a lot to know when it comes to key performance indicators. Still, after going through everything we’ve covered today, I hope you walk away a little better-informed when it’s time to build your next social media campaign and track its success.
By choosing the social media metrics you’ll be tracking as key performance indicators; you’ll be plotting a thoughtful course forward for your business.
Remember to consider all the metrics along your audience’s journey with your brand to becoming a customer from:
- Initial exposure (reach)
- Their interactions with your posts (engagement)
- How these factors result in key desired user actions (conversion)
- How they influenced your people’s experience with the brand (customer loyalty)
Pair these learnings with the specifics we cover regarding Instagram and Facebook and you’ll be set up for social media KPI success – whatever platform you call home!