Since social media first emerged (and then became dominant) in the 2000’s, there’s been a pendulum swing between the enthusiasts ‘social media is THE way to build your online business’ and the skeptics ‘people don’t buy straight from social media.

Turns out, they’re both (somewhat) correct.

Social media is a great way to build your business (as the $84 billion spent on Facebook ads last year proves). However, businesses that get distracted by vanity metrics, rather than key performance indicators (KPIs) will find their ROI gets lost in the storm of likes, tweets, upvotes and social media noise.

How do you differentiate between KPIs and vanity metrics? This is a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question, because it all depends on context.

There’s qualitative data (people are mentioning your brand in a positive or negative way) and there’s quantitative data (you’ve had X number of clicks, likes retweets, or similar, leading to specific business outcomes.)

Here’s what we recommend:

Social Media Channel Management

If your company is active on several social media channels, you need to set up a dashboard to be checked daily. Sudden spikes in activity are things you want to find out about (good or bad.) It’s also a good idea to monitor your main competitors for a sudden uptick in media mentions.

Companies like Hootsuite aggregate channel data so you can get an overall view of your social media performance in one glance.

Meltwater or Trackur can keep track of qualitative data – analyzing text to see if your brand is attracting negative or positive mentions. A simple tool like Google Alerts will also keep you up to date with any new media mentions of your company.

Setting Social Media KPIs

This is where the rubber meets the road, and there’s no one-size-fits-all.

The simplest form of KPIs is this: actual revenue. Did people buy from your Facebook store (or click to your store from your ad and then buy?)

Did people sign up for a free consult from your LinkedIn company profile?

Because while it’s nice to have a lot of followers on any social media platform, you need to know if you’re attracting buyers and influencers, or if you’re attracting people who will like your stuff, and never buy.

That’s why you need to go a step beyond the usual social media stats (followers, engagements, comments) and track these people back to your website and CRM system to see if they did anything meaningful to your bottom line.

You can do this type of tracking through Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, or custom reporting software.

That’s the difference between KPIs and vanity metrics. It’s only when you have actual conversion data that you can start to correlate which social media metrics are important.

For example, an interior design company may find that while they have a similar number of followers on Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz, the Houzz followers are 5x more likely to contact them for a quote. Therefore, that’s where they need to concentrate their efforts.

It varies for each business, however; typical KPI reports would contain:

  • New & Returning social media customers
  • Conversion rates from social media
  • New email subscribers from social media
  • Conversion rates per visitor coming from social media to your site
  • AOV (average order value) from social media customers

These kinds of metrics don’t generally fall out of your website without some configuration and – most likely – some development.

Cadence of Social Media Reporting

There’s an optimal timing for your social media reports so you can get perspective without being lost in the details.

Monitor social media key metrics each day (this should be simply a 1 minute look at your dashboard). This is where you can check for a sudden uptick or downtick in followers, or a surge in media mentions. This is done daily because if you do get a sudden change, you’ve either scored a lot of good press, or bad press, and either way you need to jump on it and steer the narrative.

Monitoring KPIs weekly. Look at what’s working and what’s not working with regard to your business revenue goals. A week is enough time to account for lag time between posting content on social media, and seeing results in the form of subscribers and sales.

Do a monthly deep dive into CAC (cost to acquire a customer) and ROAS (return on ad spend.) Equally important is a calculator on return on time spent, and an evaluation of which content resonated the most with your audience.

There’s no law saying businesses have to be active on every social media channel. Some channels are better suited than others for your business, and monitoring your KPI’s will tell you where to double your efforts, and where to simplify.

Getting meaningful social media reports means asking better questions, listening to your audience, and getting to true ROI metrics. We LOVE asking better questions at Drizzle Digital. Get in touch with a social media marketing agency that will set you on the right path! Let’s chat today!