Social Media Marketing KPIs: A Guide to What Matters

by Josh Barney
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Social media marketing KPIs vary from business to business and they aren’t industry dependent.

Your social media marketing KPIs might be completely different to your competitors and that wouldn’t mean that either of you are doing anything wrong.

Social marketers say that the top 3 challenges they face include identifying and reaching their target audience, measuring ROI and supporting overall business goals.

SproutSocial

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators. And they’re often used incorrectly.

If you want to smash your social media marketing campaigns this year, dominate the world’s most popular digital marketing networks and take your brand to the next level online, you’re going to need social media KPIs.

But before we get into our recommended social media KPIs, you must understand something…

Social Media Marketing Objectives

A Key Performance Indicator is exactly what it says on the tin, a metric that indicates how well you’re performing in your key areas. 

fact post social media content idea

In order to truly understand what your ‘key areas’ are, you’re going to need some social media marketing objectives – otherwise, there’s no point in having any social media marketing KPIs! 

For example, if your core social media marketing objective is to make more sales, ‘post likes’ is probably not the best social media KPI for you!

1. What are Social Media Marketing KPIs?

KPIs are the important numbers that we look at to measure our performance. They come in two categories, ‘key objectives’ and ‘key metrics.’

Key objectives detail what you want to accomplish with your social media marketing efforts, while key metrics tell us how well you did.

facebook organic reach engagement
If your Key Objective was to build a receptive audience, you might use ‘post engagement’ as a key metric to track your success.

Some examples include:

  • Key objective: Increase engagement, Key metric: Likes per post
  • Key objective: Build a following, Key metric: Followers gained/lost each week
  • Key Objective: Increase organic reach, Key metric: Post reach
  • Key Objective: Increase Brand Awareness, Key Metric: Brand mentions & Profile Visits
  • Key Objective: Website traffic, Key Metric: Link clicks

2. Why Use Social Media Marketing KPIs?

Social media marketing KPIs are important for three reasons:

  1. Social media marketing KPIs enable us to pinpoint specific objectives and measure our progress towards them. This can give us a picture of what’s going well, where we should focus more effort, and how much of the strategy is paying off in terms of meeting goals. 
  2. Secondly, social media marketing KPIs help provide insight into whether or not changes made to your efforts are leading to desirable outcomes. If you change up some features on your Facebook page but followers don’t start coming in as expected then it’s time to try something new – and review the numbers along the way so you know why things didn’t work out this time around. 
  3. Lastly, social media marketing KPIs can help you find areas that may need improvements. Analyzing and understanding your weaknesses will create aims for you to work on.
social media marketing performance stat
47.7% of respondents told us that their social media marketing performance was ‘Underperforming’. Use KPIs to set better aims and understand your performance.

BTW: If you want to improve your social media marketing results, check out the FREE video lessons, ebooks and step-by-step action plans inside the Einstein Marketer Studio. Sign up for free and gain access to tons of social media marketing lessons!

3. How Can You Measure Social Media Marketing KPIs?

Your social media marketing KPIs will be measured with ‘key metrics’. These are the numbers that show you how well you’re performing in terms of your key objectives.

For example,  if your key objective is to increase engagement, then your key metrics will include:

  • Post likes
  • Post comments
  • Post shares

The number of likes, comments, and shares on your posts over time will give you an indication as to whether or not your posting strategy is successful.

instagram engagement posts
Use key metrics like post likes to measure KPIs like content strategy success.

If the post received a lot more engagement than usual, then it would be considered successful. If those numbers are much lower than average then there is work that needs to be done in order for future posts to succeed.

After deciding upon your key social media objectives, search for relevant metrics that will allow you to track your performance over time.

Measure your results intermittently – try weekly or monthly, and don’t obsess over the numbers on a day-to-day basis.

Success on social media takes time – measure your social media marketing KPIs with a long term perspective.

4. The Advantages of Measuring Social Media KPIs

For some, tracking social media KPIs might sound like a lot more work – but its advantages outweigh the negatives.

Here are a few of the biggest advantages of measuring your social media KPIs:

  • Know your audience better than they know themselves – understand their behaviours, preferences and dislikes as a collective.
customer avatar
Create a Customer Avatar of your target market and use social media marketing KPIs to track your success of reaching them. Download your own customer avatar for FREE in the Einstein Marketer Studio.
  • Get a clearer picture of how well you’re targeting and marketing to your target audience based on your social media preferences.
  • Give yourself an accurate assessment of what’s working, so that you can replicate those strategies more effectively in the future, and scale up your social media performance.
  • Provide insights into potential growth opportunities for you as a brand or company. For example, if sales are one of your KPIs, your key metrics might reveal new ways to reach customers.
  • Measurement aids understanding – tracking your social media KPIs helps you see where there are gaps in your knowledge. This lets brands be proactive instead of reactive when it comes time to adjusting their strategy

4. The Disadvantages of Measuring Social Media KPIs

In the interest of fairness, and providing a level opinion, here are some of the biggest disadvantages of measuring your social media KPIs:

  • Social media marketing has a lot of moving parts. It can be tough to capture all the data you need in order to measure your KPIs. This is especially so if you have multiple people who are working on social media marketing and they each work with different tools.
  • There’s no standard for reporting and measuring social media KPIs across industries. This means that you may have to come up with your own plan.
  • Measuring social media KPIs means setting objectives – but these goals may not match what your company needs at any given time. For example, a goal might be to ‘increase followers’, but it might make more sense at that time for that company to focus their efforts elsewhere, such as customer satisfaction ratings.
  • Some of your objectives will be impossible to track. For example, if your aim is to generate more sales from social media, it might be hard to pinpoint the exact metrics that drive sales to your business.

6. Examples

Let’s look at some of the most common social media KPIs.

Use these examples to guide your own campaigns, but ensure that you select the ones that fit best with your business’s objectives.

Fit your social media objectives into your overarching business objectives to achieve real success.

This list is nothing more than a handful of metrics unless they are aligned with real objectives. Don’t make the mistake of aiming for everything – create specific objectives that you can achieve with your resources.

If you run a small business, narrow your aims to those that are most important to you.

Here are a few typical social media marketing KPIs:

  • Social media profile visits
  • Engagement Rate and Interactivity (Likes, Comments, Shares)
  • Social Proof: Number of followers, subscribers and engagement on a social media account.
  • Organic link clicks (to website/landing page)
  • Organic sales conversions
  • New followers acquired 
  • Sharing rate: The percentage of posts shared with friends by each follower within a set amount of time after posting (e.g. 24 hours after publishing)
  • Post reach (average)
  • Video view percentage
  • Comment rate: The average number of comments per post within a set period of time
  • Like rate: The average number of likes per post within a set period of time
  • Conversations: The average number of direct messages to your business within a set period of time
  • Leads generated: The number of leads generated directly from social media (use Google Analytics to track audience acquisition sources – dicsover how to do this in the Google Analytics Action Plan inside the Einstein Marketer Studio)
  • Sales generated: New customers acquired from social media (use Google Analytics)
  • Average order value from social media: The average order value of every customer acquired from a social media channel
  • Brand mentions: Use social listening to discover how many times your brand is being mentioned online
facebook insights page likes
Use native analytics tools inside social networks to track your metrics. Facebook have their very own ‘Insights’ tab where you can do this for your FB page.

There are many more social media marketing KPIs that could be added to this list. If you have any that you’d like us to add, leave your suggestion in the comments!

Social Media Marketing KPIs: A Guide to What Matters

With the right KPIs, you can measure your success and adjust as needed.

Social media marketing is a complex beast with many different goals that are tailored to fit your brand’s objectives.

Once you’ve identified what your objectives will be, it’s time to use metrics or KPIs to see how well they’re working for you.

At times, it may seem overwhelming when trying to find social media KPIs that work best for your business, but by focusing on measuring the results that are specific to you, you’ll have more clarity in no time at all.

What do you think about social media marketing KPIs? Are you tracking your brand’s performance on social? Let us know in the comments!

Josh is the Founder of We Imagine Media, an award-winning content marketer and best selling author. He creates and strategises content, sharing the most successful tactics with his lovely audience. He hates writing in the third person, follow him on the social links (above) so he can get back to writing as himself.

2 Responses

  1. Dear Josh,
    Thank you for sharing this valuable piece of information which is short, precise and to-the-point.
    I am planning to immensely use this short guide to review & comment on a “project social media accounts” as to conduct a “Post review” analysis of the project activities.
    Kind regards,
    Osman

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