For a business, social media is a tool providing you direct access to your audience. If you’re unfamiliar with social media or just starting to use it to promote your business, social platforms can be intimidating and potentially confusing. But like any other piece of your business, you should come to social media with a goal in mind. Ask yourself: What am I hoping to accomplish by using this platform? Social media is a great way to showcase your brand, and for businesses the real value is often in the data these platforms provide and what you learn about your customers from that information.

Social media analytics tools grant access to mountains of data from your accounts: audience behaviors, demographic insights, actual and potential reach, engagement rate — the list is long. If you approach the data with a specific goal in mind, you can save time and frustration by narrowing your search to the metrics you actually need. Here is a breakdown of where to start based on some common business goals. 

Goal 1. I Want To Build More Brand Awareness 

Metrics to measure: Followers, Shares, Reach

If your main goal is to increase your online brand awareness, you’ll be interested in tracking how many eyes are landing on your content. More than just knowing how many followers you have, you want to know the rate at which your audience is growing. You’ll want to know not only the percentage of audience growth in a given time period, but how quickly you’re growing as well; And is it quicker than your competitors? Comparative analysis through competitor research can help you uncover opportunities to reach your target audience more effectively. 

The number of shares your posts get and your total post reach are closely tied together. The number of times a post is shared by other users is a metric easily found on each social media platform in your business account metrics. Your total reach is the number of times your post has been seen. By analyzing which posts have a larger reach, you can gather key data such as what time of day you get the most engagement and which content is most valuable to your target customer.  

Goal 2. I Want To Build A Community Online

Metrics to measure: Engagement metrics such as @mentions, comments, and likes. 

If your audience is connecting with your content, they will let you know. Metrics like the number of comments and likes your post receives will tell you if you are truly speaking to your target audience. When reviewing your social media reports, tune in to the posts that evoke the most engagement from your followers. Once you have narrowed down your most engaging posts, determine what they have in common, and refine your content strategy accordingly. 

When working towards building your online community, consider engaging directly with accounts whose target audience overlaps with yours. Comment on, like, and share posts published by accounts with similar messaging. When you engage with other accounts that your audience finds value in, you’re demonstrating authenticity. Take it a step further by creating a closed Facebook or LinkedIn group and inviting your ideal customers and followers to join. By creating this curated space, you will give people a sense of connection with you and the community within that group. Not to mention, groups are a great place to crowd-source information and find out exactly what your audience wants out of your brand experience. 

Goal 3. I Want To Increase Sales 

Metrics to Measure: conversion drivers like website clicks and email subscribers

If your goal is to increase leads or boost sales, you’ll want to analyze which posts are driving traffic to your website or gaining email subscribers. The growth rate of your email list is a key indicator of the effectiveness of your messaging. When your email list is growing, you know your content is providing real value to your audience. To grow that list, you’ll want to create social media posts that encourage your audience to follow a link and subscribe to your emails. You can measure the effectiveness of these posts by analyzing the click-through rate. Calculate your click-through percentage on any post with a call to action by dividing the number of link clicks on by the total number of impressions and multiplying that by 100. 

If you’re seeing a high click-through rate, for example, on certain posts but not others, you can easily identify which content is providing the most value to your customer. Try testing many different approaches. Change up your caption format, hashtags, and images. The more variance in the content you have, the more data you have, and the more refined you can make your strategy. Evolve your content based on your performance data and you will see growth in your click-through rate, email subscribers, and ultimately your conversion rate. 

Goal 4. I Want To Improve Customer Retention

Metrics to Measure: customer sentiments, reviews, testimonials

Ever had such a great experience with a business that you felt compelled to share it with other people? That sentiment is not unique to you. If people are genuinely loving your product or service, they will share it via writing a review, commenting on your posts, or creating a post featuring your business. If someone writes a review for your business, engage with your customer, and thank them. This simple act of acknowledgment could turn that person from a one-time fan to a lifetime loyal customer. The same idea rings true for negative experiences. If someone leaves a dissatisfied review, contact them directly and ask them how you can make it better. At the very least, this person may appreciate the acknowledgment. At best, they will give your business a second chance and let their friends know how impressed they were with your customer service!

Aside from tracking the content of these reviews and testimonials, you should be tracking the frequency at which people are writing them. Be sure to include the number of reviews per a given time period as part of your social media reporting to determine what you’re doing to make a customer want to share their experience. Looking to increase the number of reviews on your page quickly? Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to leave a review! This is a great way to improve your customer retention and engagement rate all at the same time. 

Test, Review, Adjust

Your social media strategy should be constantly evolving. When attempting to refine your strategy, be sure to continuously change up your messaging approach, content, posting schedule, and engagement efforts. When it comes to analytics, the more data you have, the better. Try ramping up your publishing schedule for three to four months with different types of content. This will allow you to clearly see what efforts are the most effective and which should be removed from your strategy entirely. 

Once you know your business goals, it’s easier to pinpoint exactly what metrics you should be focusing on and hone in on those details. With billions of people active on social media, your target audience is without a doubt present on these platforms. By utilizing social media metrics, you can access your audience and refine your strategy to prove your authenticity, build a loyal community, and grow your business.

Written by Caitlin Rostampour