Our team recently joined over one hundred other social media experts and agencies at the Sprout Social Agency Partner Day. This event inspired collaboration and sparked innovative discussions on how we can best optimize clients’ social media strategies. A core topic at the event was the importance of KPIs – how do we refine, plan and achieve our social media goals using Key Progress Indicators (KPIs)?
Without social media KPIs, how can you track the success of your social efforts? The answer: You can’t. Before you run a social campaign, it’s important to distinguish goals and classify how you want to measure and report your results. Throughout Agency Partner Day, three key social media KPIs continued to surface: followers, link clicks and engagement. Here’s why your business needs to take a second look at these key metrics:
Followers: Your total number of channel followers.
The follower metric is typically seen as a vanity metric, but that wasn’t always the case. Before the world fell into the trap of fake social media accounts, trolls and bots, your follower number was a strong indicator of people who were genuinely interested in your brand’s content. Now, it has become a numbers game of, “My followers are greater than your followers,” but the source of follower growth isn’t always authentic.
With the increase of accounts paying for “fake” social media followers, our team is taking the opposite approach to support authentic growth through extremely targeted campaigns. Your best bet: quality over quantity in your follower base.
How do you attract the right followers? Focus on your target audience and potential customers by getting to know them, understanding their pain points and starting the right conversations.
Link Clicks: Total number of times users clicked on any links within your social posts.
It’s important to use metrics that fall in line with your business goals. For example, if your goal is to grow potential customers, your objective should be relevant people visiting your website and viewing your content from social media. To achieve this objective, the social metric that matters most is link clicks. Keep in mind the term “link clicks” is a bit ambiguous. Link clicks means the number of times the links within your posts were clicked – any and all links. This includes hashtags, @ mentions of other users and any URL links you include in your posts. When considering how to measure content performance, link clicks are a good indicator of what’s resonating with your potential customers.
So how do you know if you’re getting the right number of link clicks? It’s important for social media managers to set benchmarks relevant to a client’s industry, company size and competitors. (It’s also important to note these benchmarks are going to be different for each company.)
Engagements: Total number of times a user interacted with your post. These interactions include clicks to anything linked on the post, retweets on Twitter, comments on Facebook and LinkedIn, follows, likes, etc.
Are you tracking trending social conversations that could lead to sales? Are you asking your audience how they feel about your product or service?
If not, you should start now. Engagement is a key progress indicator that companies typically overlook. This number indicates the amount of real people attempting to engage with your brand. A small engagement on social, such as a retweet with comment or a reply to a status update, could lead to a lasting relationship – if leveraged properly.
How do you encourage engagement on your content? Your social media team can help maximize your content to best fit the needs of your audience by running targeted engagement campaigns. Once you start engaging with prospects and customers alike, you begin to create brand advocates. Brand advocates contribute to your retention rate as well as your growth rate by continually sharing their personal experiences with your brand to their peers.
Ongoing social engagement -> happy customers -> brand advocates -> more happy customers!