When defining metrics for your social media campaign, it’s easy to confuse goals and key performance indicators (KPIs, for short) as being interchangeable.
They are two separate things.
- Goals encompass the bigger picture for your brand.
- KPIs are the concrete, measurable steps toward reaching those goals. They manage, control and achieve results, keeping your strategy on the right track.
However, since social media campaigns are often defined by other metrics like shares, click-through rates, and vanity metrics, where do you start in picking the KPIs that matter?
1. Examine your strengths and weaknesses.
The best way to discover where you stand in the current marketplace is to utilize social listening tools. This identifies who is talking about your brand, competitors, and products. You also want to understand how your fans perceive you. Sentiment analysis tracks positive and negative mentions of your brand across all social channels. If the feedback is encouraging, you can continue implementing more of the same initiatives that resonate with your audience. If it isn’t, this provides an excellent opportunity to revamp your current social marketing campaign.
2. Focus on specific measurements that are achievable.
When determining KPIs, focus on specific measurements that are achievable to track the effectiveness of your campaign. KPIs should be chosen on aspects related to your brand that is within your control and links back to your goals. Pick 3 to 5 variables that matter and where you have the capacity to drive change. Some of these may include ROI (often considered to be the most valuable KPI), increased sales, website visitors, conversions, walk-ins and more.
KPIs need to encourage active participation. If you run a restaurant, it’s easy to mistake “like us on Facebook to win a dinner for two!” as a valid performance tactic. This may bring in new fans, but how many of them went from your Facebook page to walking in the door? Instead of likes, your KPI would be focused on creating a specific action that drives clicks. That action might include being redirected to fill out an entry form on the restaurant’s website to gather information for future marketing endeavors.
3. Look closer at reach and engagement.
Social metrics are split into two categories: reach and engagement. Reach is your impressions, the content that everyone sees. Engagement is the +1s, favorites, page/post likes, retweets, @-mentions and reblogs, click-throughs, comments, and shares. These metrics need to be regularly tracked, as they show what aspects of your social media efforts are being fruitful and those that can be leveraged further.
By using KPIs, you’re able to see what elements of your campaign are performing adequately versus those that are underperforming. Over time with proper monitoring, KPIs also provide notifications to trend changes, giving you time to react to events that may have a significant impact on your brand.