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Guest post: 5 essential social media metrics explained

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This is a guest post by Ash Read. Ash is the founder of Nudge, a simple tool that lets you schedule follow-ups for Twitter. You can find him on Twitter @ashread_.




When I first started working in the social media world, it was a little overwhelming trying to figure out which metrics I should be tracking, and more importantly, which metrics were actually meaningful for my business.

Engagement rate, share of voice, reach… the list goes on. In fact, Buffer recently shared a post explaining hundreds of social media acronyms and abbreviations. So, I guess you can see how it gets hard deciding exactly what you should measure.

The thing is, there’s a huge difference between knowing what stats mean and knowing what they mean for your business.

With this post, I’d like to share with you 5 social media metrics that I value extremely highly, and not only explain their meanings and how to calculate them, but also how they can affect your business.

Choosing the right metrics

Before we get into the different metrics and what they mean, I’d first like you to think about the below question:

What do you want to achieve from your social media marketing?

Knowing the answer to this will help you to decide what’s most important to you when it comes to social media measurement.

If you’re new to the market, then you might want to focus on brand awareness, with reach and improving your share of voice vs competitors being top of your list of important metrics. If you’re a more established brand that wants to focus on increasing customer loyalty and reducing churn, you’ll probably care more about engagement and response times.

Figuring out your end goals will help you to decide which metrics will help you along the way. With both of the examples above, the end game dictates the relevant metrics and it’s essential that you always keep sight of the goal when it comes to social media (you could end up wasting a lot of time if you don’t).

Working out which metrics matter isn’t easy. Below, I’ll explain five key metrics that every social media marketer should know inside out.

1. Engagement rate

The essence of social media is about sharing and engaging with content and engagement rate is a great way to measure the effectiveness of the content you’re putting out.

Measuring engagement rate
How you calculate engagement rate can vary by platform. Below I’ve outlined engagement calculations for three of the biggest social media platforms.

Twitter engagement rate
The Tweet Engagement Rate takes into account the Replies, Retweets and Favourites of the Tweet to the total number of Followers at the time of posting. Then it’s multiplied by 100 to provide you with the percentage of your Followers that are interacting with your Tweet.

Facebook engagement rate
The Facebook post engagement rate takes into account Likes, Comments and Shares of the post divided by the total number of fans at the time it has been posted. Again, this figure is then multiplied by 100 to give you a percentage of your fanbase that has interacted with that particular post.

YouTube engagement rate
YouTube engagement rate works like this: The total number of Likes, Dislikes and Comments to all the videos in the channel are added up and divided by the total number of the channel subscribers (in your selected time range).

Why engagement rate matters
Measuring the engagement rate on individual posts gives you a great way to analyse how successful your content has been and provides insight into what types of content your audience prefers to engage with. For example, maybe posts with images or video perform better for you.

Engagement rate can also be used to create a competitive analysis to see how you’re performing against your closest competitors.

One of the great things about engagement rate is that it’s always relative to the size of your following. This means you could compare an audience of 100,000 to one of 1,000,000, with unbiased results.

2. Share of voice

Monitoring mentions of your brand alone can be useful. But when you take that data and compare it to your competitors it can help to to uncover opportunities for improvement and show you how your performance measures up against similar companies.

Measuring share of voice The formula for calculating SOV is pretty simple: Share of Voice = Your Mentions / (Total Mentions for Competitive Companies/Brands)

share-of-voice

Why share of voice rate matters Share of voice can be a great way to measure the effectiveness of campaigns. If you benchmark your share of voice prior to the campaign and then again after you’ll get an impression of how successful your campaign was.

You can also use SOV to evaluate brand awareness and market share. The data will show just how much (or how little) of an impact you’re making in your industry.

3. Response time

When it comes to building a loyal audience on social media, and more importantly, creating loyal customers, your response time can be a key factor.

To make sure you can handle responses as quickly as possible, it’s important to make sure you have the right procedures in place to deal with any customer service questions via social channels. Even if you can’t answer the question right away, acknowledging the customer goes a long way to keeping them happy.

Following up on interactions is also a great way to keep your customers happy and build loyalty.

Measuring response time There are different measurements you can use for response time

  • First response time: This is the time between the initial comment or message from a customer and the your first reply.
  • Average response time: Average time between all customer messages and your responses.
  • Average handling time: How long, on average, does it take for a customer service issue to be resolved.

Why response time matters A recent study into social media customer service found that 42% of people expect a response within 60 minutes (32% expect a reply within 30 minutes!).

response_time

If you want to keep your audience happy and customers coming back, responding in a timely fashion is essential.

4. Response rate

If someone walked into your shop and asked you a question, I’m sure you wouldn’t ignore them. And if you did, I’d harvest a bet that you wouldn’t be in business for too long. Yet, quite a few brands are happy to leave questions and comments unanswered on Twitter.

Customers reach out to brands on a daily basis with support queries and questions and when you analyse how successful you are at social customer service, response rate is key.

Measuring response rate Response rate is quite simple to calculate. For example: if you’ve had 500 mentions today and responded to 465, you have a response rate of 0.93 (that’s 93%, if you prefer to work in percentages).

Whether you’re one of a large social media team, a community manager or someone who handles social media (as one of many responsibilities) at a smaller company, you should always try to respond directly, and personally, to as many @replies as possible.

Why response rate matters Studies have shown that when companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers end up spending 20 percent to 40 percent more with the company. Customers are also 3 times more likely to recommend a brand after a positive social experience.

5. Clicks

This one, easy-to-measure metric, can help you to identify a number of improvements to your content and give you an idea on what you need to work on.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is experiment. If you’re sharing a blog post, try two or three different headlines alongside the link to see which gets the most clicks. Try different images. Try placing the link in different places within your status.

If you start to notice spikes in clicks or trends, then you’re onto something and should be able to start identifying what types of content causes the boost in clicks.

Measuring clicks There are a number of tools out there to help you monitor clicks on your social content. Personally, I use combination of Buffer and Bitly.

Why clicks matter Measuring the amount of clicks on your social posts can serve a number of purposes. Clicks can really help you to drill down onto what content resonates with your audience. If no one is actually clicking on your content, why is that? It could be that your call to action isn’t strong enough. Maybe your headline isn’t connecting with your audience, or the image isn’t intriguing enough.

These five metrics are the ones I’m focused on right now at Nudge and the ones I feel give us the most value when improved. Which social media metrics are you currently focused on improving? Leave a comment below.


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