We all know we should be doing it. But do you know how to measure success on social media? If the only way you measure your success is by follower count, you’re doing it wrong. Here are the social media metrics that actually matter.

We get it. It’s thrilling to watch your number of followers swell. It’s actually a scientific fact that we get a rush of dopamine from social media success. In an age of influencers and big brands, shouldn’t follower count be the end goal?

In reality, using a number to calculate social media success is a #FAIL.

We’ve all seen the offer of paid-for followers: services that will skyrocket your follower count in exchange for $$. It’s easy to equate your business worth with followers. But it’s a shallow and misleading account of how to measure success on social media. You might have 15k followers, but if they’re not active and engaged by your content, they may as well not exist.

While follower count may have been the end goal in the past, social media platforms have evolved. In an effort to clamp down on sham followers, most algorithms now work on delivering informative and engaging content rather than favouring accounts with high numbers. The modern age is all about what a brand can give, not take.

Feeling confused? Don’t worry. We’re going to tell you the three most important metrics and show you how to measure success on social media.

Reach: Your New BFF Metric

Social Media Metrics - Reach

When it comes to considering how to measure success on social media, reach is one of the most important metrics. Reach measures how many people have seen your content. It’s a great indicator of your potential audience size. If your reach and follower count are wildly different, you should consider your content. Is it relevant to your core audience? Social media marketing isn’t just as simple as sending out a tweet, or a Facebook post every day. You need to deliver engaging and useful content.

There are three different aspects of reach. Organic Reach measures the number of people who saw your post in their personal feed. Viral Reach is the number of views your post got via social sharing. Finally, Paid Reach is exactly as it sounds. How many people saw your post as a result of paid-for advertising.

Paid-for advertising is a great way to amplify your reach. The highly personalised targeting that social media adverts allow is a great way to narrow down your key potential customers. As these people join your community, they become part of the positive feedback loop of sharing and boosting your reach.

Engagement: Social Media Metrics Aren’t Just Numbers

Don’t forget, it’s people you’re trying to reach. Not just numbers. Where reach measures how many people are viewing your content, engagement measures how many are interacting with it. It’s the vital metric to measure when building a community.

If you’re interested in how to measure success on social media, an active community is the goal you should be aiming for.

Engagement differs according to the platform you’re using — but in simple terms, it’s the likes, follows, retweets, shares, and comments you’re getting. Engaging your viewers is the way to ensure you’re building up a virtuous cycle.

The more people engage with your post, the more people see your post. Then they, In turn, engage with the post and even more people see it. And so on.

If you’re using engagement to measure success on social media, there are a number of granular metrics you can use. These metrics often work in conjunction. For example, looking at your likes and shares is the most simple method. If you combine this with follower growth, you get a deeper view. You can see exactly how many people joined your community following a post. This can be expanded further by viewing your social mentions following a post or ad campaign. While analytics can deliver an almost overwhelming amount of data, most of the core metrics work in collaboration when putting them into use.

Mentions: Listen To Your Audience

Social Media Metrics - Mentions

We already told you that follower count isn’t the sort of volume that’s useful. The volume we’re interested in is, the number of people talking about your brand. You can also measure the conversation about your industry. Or a specific piece of content. The scope is huge. If you’re not social listening, then you’re missing out. Not only is it a great way to measure brand mentions, but you can also gain some great feedback. It’s readily available and direct from the customer. Did we mention it’s also free?

There are some really handy monitoring tools that can give you a detailed overview, if you do want to invest. However, you can also track conversation just by @mentions, hashtags and the inbuilt search functions.

If your social mentions are low, it might be time to go back to the drawing board. Look at the content you’re putting out. Is it useful? Engaging? If the content quality is there, but the audience isn’t, reassess your marketing.

Look at where your audience is, and make sure you’re there too.

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