It is easy enough to overwhelm a client with social media metrics in an attempt to demonstrate that you’re essential to the growth of their business. However, not all of those metrics are going to be important or valuable to them.
In the long run, you’re much better off not only providing useful social media metrics to your clients, but being able to articulate precisely why they are important.
One of the most fundamental reasons the social media metrics you present to clients are important is because they can be used to inform future business decisions.
These decisions can involve everything from staying the course with current social media marketing strategies, to tweaking content already posted, to making huge changes once you’re able to more clearly articulate your true audience.
By focusing on key social media KPIs, you can hone your marketing strategy to achieve better results for your clients that impact their business.
Depending on the client, you’ll want to be measuring success around:
- Engagement metrics
- Audience metrics
- Content metrics
- Conversion metrics
- Competitor metrics
But in order to make sense of the data, you’ll want to start by discussing specific goals for social media marketing.
Setting Social Media Marketing Goals
Before jumping into what social media marketing metrics are most important for most companies, it’s important to remind yourself that your client might need something else.
In fact, nearly all social media metrics are vanity metrics if you don’t have a clear goal or reason why you’re tracking them.
The following represent some of the least useful social media KPIs to measure:
- Website page views
While these metrics can be useful in context, they’re essentially useless without being measured in comparison to any other data.
You don’t want to get caught up chasing vanity metrics — they’re not good for business. Measuring these vanity metrics alone won’t move the needle when it comes to accomplishing important business activities, like converting visitors to paid customers.
As it turns out, more than 36% of CFOs think their chief marketing officers rely too heavily on vanity metrics, failing to focus on what’s truly important.
The first step to working with your clients will be establishing what their goals are. By doing this early on, you can establish benchmarks for all the social media KPIs you intend to track, to compare their performance before and after hiring you.
Simply doing this will let you demonstrate how you’ve helped with growth, proving your worth as a member of their team. Make sure that they understand why certain metrics matter for their business and why some vanity metrics don’t.
Do they want a 10% increase in engagement, do they want a 5% increase in sales referrals, or do they want to see a 25% increase in conversions over the next three months?
Establishing clear goals will allow you to frame up both the marketing campaign and the results — as tracked through metrics. It will also help your client to see you as a professional that they want to keep around for a long-term partnership with their business.
For every social media goal established, you will want to tease out relevant results from not just one metric, but several metrics to help you tell a fuller story. If the data doesn’t reveal the story you’re trying to tell, then it’s time to shift gears with your marketing strategy.
Engaging with Engagement Metrics
For many of your social media goals, engagement metrics will be necessary — more so than others. Your engagement metrics consist of likes, comments, shares, and clicks.
You can broadly think of audience members who engage with your social media accounts as those who are genuinely interested in your content and who are aware of your brand.
Within your engagement metrics, you will want to put more weight on comments, shares, and clicks — as they indicate significantly more interest in the content and your brand than a like or reaction.
In fact, there is a lot of skepticism about the importance of likes. Five years ago, likes were essential to building brand awareness on social media platforms.
That’s no longer the case.
Algorithms and consumer habits have changed — neither seems to put much weight in giving a like to a post. And as a result, a 'like' may not be a true reflection of the quality and value of your content.
Given all of this, you will want to present engagement results to your client with a focus on comments, shares, and clicks — assuming such information is relevant to the client’s marketing goals. Point out why these engagement social media KPIs matter most, explaining why and how we can track them.
Overall, you want to have high engagement rates and see those engagement rates increasing through your marketing campaign. Having high engagement rates is an indicator of a healthy, responsive audience.
Measuring engagement can also be a useful way to determine which social platforms are the best fit for your message in terms of the audience that congregates there. Social Report offers a handy dashboard to help you measure this:
Arranging Audience Metrics
Marketing 101 comes down to knowing your target audience. Collecting and presenting audience metrics to your clients can help them understand how well the marketing campaign is resonating with their target market.
The data you’ll want to present to them will include demographic breakdowns with regards to age and sex, as well as geographical information.
For example, if your client is a brick-and-mortar pastry shop in Bend, Oregon, having lots of engagement from people in Alabama isn’t that important to your client — unless they’re planning on expanding their business to the Heart of Dixie.
Additional audience metrics you’ll want to have on hand when working with your client are the:
- Total number of followers
- Number of new followers
- Any new accounts your account is following
Counting on Content Metrics
Another set of meaningful metrics to pay attention to are those that give you insights into your content. Specifically, what types of content result in the best audience engagement and conversions?
Tracking these metrics is essential because they can help you establish patterns and adjust your marketing strategies to better position your clients to meet their marketing goals.
To make this work, you’ll want to break down the type of content posted on your client’s social media accounts into the following categories:
- Link posts
- Video posts
- Image posts
- Text-only posts
- Original content
- Other content
Control for other factors: Pay attention to the timing of the post in order to compare engagement metrics with your content metrics and establish content trends. Discovered trends will inform how you approach current and future marketing campaigns.
Creating Conversion Metrics
Conversion metrics are the exact opposite of vanity metrics. Though they are still good for the ego, they represent real results.
Keep in mind: Conversions might mean different things to different people. A blogger might “convert” a social follower when that follower signs up for email updates. A direct-to-consumer brand might “convert” a social follower when that person places their first order.
Depending on your client’s business type, track micro-conversions, or smaller steps taken towards a final, large conversion (like adding a product to a cart even if it doesn’t lead to checkout).
Educate yourself and help where you can: A less digital savvy business owner might need you to identify, define, configure, and track conversions. While not always something that a Social Media Agency is directly responsible, it’s an added value that you can bring to the table.
Remember: Conversion rates for a post can be incredibly high even if the traffic is low; the metrics are not mutually exclusive. In fact, low traffic with a high conversion rate could mean that your client’s marketing campaign is doing an excellent job of resonating with only their target market.
The conversion rate you want to present to a client should consist of the number of users who, after clicking on a link in your post, take action, compared to the page’s total visitors. What that action is will depend on what sort of call-to-action your client wants, based on their goals.
Competing with Competitor Metrics
Providing competitors’ metrics to your client, as part of your presentation, is crucial, because it helps establish a frame of reference for what’s happening on social media with regards to the industry as a whole and your client’s share of voice in their target market.
Of course, you shouldn’t simply copy your competitors’ social media strategies based on the metrics and insights you glean from digging into their accounts. However, they can serve as a way to generate new ideas, strategies, and tactics. Where your client’s competitors may have some strengths, you can help your clients fill in the gaps where the competitors may have weaknesses.
Some social media metrics you’ll want to keep track of with regards to competitors are their strengths, weaknesses, and engagement levels.
Final Thoughts: Five Essential Social Media KPIs for Your Clients
Though engagement, audience, content, conversions, and competitor metrics are all incredibly valuable to your client, they’re only as valuable as the goals you help your client set. Based on these goals, additional metrics — such as the timing of posts, impressions, reach, listening, social traffic, and branding — can be essential to track and present to your client.
To start tapping into those essential metrics for your clients' social media accounts, download your free trial of Social Report’s social media management platform.
Maddy Osman is an SEO Content Strategist who works with clients like AAA, Automatic, Kinsta, and BigCommerce. Her background in WordPress web design contributes to a well-rounded understanding of SEO and how to connect brands to relevant search prospects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website and read her latest articles on Twitter @MaddyOsman.