7 Key Performance Indicators You Should Measure on Social Media

Key performance indicators — or KPIs, as the industry refers to them — are extremely useful for measuring the performance and progress of your business, whatever it is. Every department can benefit from monitoring and recording the success of your marketing efforts, and this can lead to increased followers and engagement in every facet of your operation.

Social media is a great place to gauge progress because it’s an excellent indicator of brand awareness and customer engagement. You can also tell a lot about your business by the way social followers interact with it online.

As you may have heard, social media can significantly improve engagement because it helps to define the things your “friends” (read: customers) want to see from your business, and it can attract new followers. But activity on social media is successful primarily when you’re able to make progress.

Progression happens when you’re able to identify both what works and what doesn’t work, and you then capitalize on that information. You have to focus on the most important indicators and monitor them regularly for the best results

The following seven KPIs are the place to start.

1. Social Followers

It’s easy to measure the number of users who have subscribed to your social media accounts. Keep a close eye on these numbers and you can set goals and attract more followers. The total followers you have is one of the simplest yet most indicative measures of your success.

2. Audience Reach

Beyond the number of your current followers, you’ll also want to know how many followers you have the potential to reach.

“Reach is a data metric that determines the potential size of audience any given message could reach,” says Hootsuite’s 2015 Social Media Glossary. “It does not mean that that entire audience will see your social media post, but rather tells you the maximum amount of people your post could potentially reach.”

This calculation includes the number of followers and shares as well as overall brand impressions. The further your reach, the easier it is to expand.

3. Inbound Links

This KPI references the number of links that go back to your blog or website from quality references. It’s a cornerstone of SEO strategy and is more tied to social media than many people realize. Keeping track of your average inbound links will help you assess the quality of your content and consumers’ response to it.

4. Engagement

Retweets, social shares, comments, and other forms of social engagement are also extremely useful for businesses. It helps you extend your reach and provides valuable feedback on the content you’re sharing. If customers engage enthusiastically with your brand, you’re performing well. If they largely ignore you, you’ve got room for improvement.

5. Brand Mentions

Brand mentions also indicate how well your brand is performing in the social universe. Using software and social plugins, you can calculate the number of times your brand is mentioned compared to brands with similar products or services. You want to come across as an authority in your industry, and obtaining your brand mentions can help you determine your standing.

6. Referral Traffic

Word-of-mouth marketing is extremely important for your brand. About 90 percent of consumers trust recommendations from someone they know, so if your social followers refer your business to others, that’s a great sign. Keep an eye on how much of your blog and website traffic derives from such referrals.

7. Return on Investment

Ultimately, marketing is about money. It’s vital to track not only how much you’re spending on marketing, but how much you’re receiving in return. If you’re not breaking even and/or seeing profits from your efforts, you probably need to make a change.

You can’t afford to continue operating without a good return on investment. Monitoring KPIs ensures that your marketing efforts move in the right direction and you’re not wasting valuable money and resources.

Through your social media efforts, you can make a world of difference in your company’s performance, but only if you watch your social KPIs like a hawk.

Larry Alton (@LarryAlton3) is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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