From brainstorming and creating content to scheduling posts and responding to engagements, the work of successfully running a social media account can feel overwhelming.

The worst part is –even if you pour your heart and soul into building up a social media account, if you don’t go in with a strategy in place, all of your hard work can be for naught.

That’s where analytics come into play. Properly tracking, analyzing, and reacting to data from your social accounts is a key component of ultimate success.

How to Use Social Media Metrics to Meet Your Goals

While often overlooked, tracking your social media analytics is one of –if not the– most important steps of social media marketing. Without setting goals, selecting metrics, and ultimately interpreting data and adjusting behavior, you can never know if your social media efforts are a marketing success or a financial drain on your operation.

With that said, here are four steps that you can follow in order to properly take advantage of the power of tracking social media metrics.

1. Understand your goals

It doesn’t matter if you’re using pay per click ads on Facebook, promoting current events on Twitter, or reaching out on Instagram, it’s critical that you set goals right from the get-go. Without an objective (or multiple objectives) in place, you can never truly understand if your social media marketing is successful.

Common social media goals worth pursuing include:

  • Providing customer education for your products, services, and business as a whole
  • Using social media as a form of customer service and feedback for existing patrons
  • Building a community that consists of both repeat and potential customers
  • Promoting products and sales
  • Increasing brand awareness through repeated exposure to consumers
  • Researching, finding, and engaging with new consumers to build your audience

There are plenty of reasons to use social media, and you can have several in mind as you go about strategizing your campaigns. However, it’s essential that you identify what these are so that you have an end goal that you can use to gauge success or failure.

2. Select your metrics

Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to figure out what metrics will help you understand if you’ve met them. This can require a bit of creative thinking as you match up your various metric options with your objectives. Common metrics that define success include:

  • Engagement: That is, how often people are liking, commenting, or even sharing your posts. This can be helpful in determining goals such as customer education, customer service, or community building.
  • Impressions: The number of people that see your content defines your reach and can be important for goals like brand awareness and product promotion.
  • Conversions and referrals: The number of times that someone clicks through to your website (or that they share your content, leading to others clicking through to your site) and makes a purchase is a pivotal piece of data, especially if your goal is to make sales directly through social media.
  • Timing: The rate at which people engage with your content at different times of the day or week can be helpful in adjusting future campaigns in order to reach your audience in the most efficient manner possible.
  • Audience Demographics: Understanding the age, gender, geographic location, and interests of your followers can help with building your audience over time.
  • Competitor Metrics: Comparing your success to that of your competitors provides valuable insight into how your content is performing.

As you match up your goals with the appropriate metrics, you begin to lay the foundation to analyze your social media marketing.

3. Set up your analytics tools

The next step is to understand and set up your analytics tool. This can vary dramatically depending on the platforms that you’re using.

For example, Facebook Pixel allows you to track detailed information regarding the demographics and behavior of your followers and can be connected right to your website at times. In comparison, Pinterest has its own analytics dashboard that presents much of the same information in its own unique format.

It’s important that you understand how the analytics tools work for each social platform that you’re using. In addition, you can install Google Analytics on your own website in order to track what social platforms are sending you the most traffic.

4. Analyze your data and make adjustments

Once you have your goals, metrics, and tools in place, it’s time to start tracking your data. As you gather information, it’s important to look for patterns and trends that can help you adjust your strategy.

For instance, you can create a Facebook campaign aimed at driving traffic to your site and converting that traffic into sales. As you implement the campaign, you can use a combination of Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics to track who engages with your content, clicks through to your site, and makes a purchase.

Once you’re done with the campaign, it’s important that you consider the money, effort, and man-hours that the event took and then compare it to the sales that you generated. This comparison will either confirm that your campaign was a success or provide detailed insight into how it can be conducted correctly (or even abandoned entirely) in the future.

Using Metrics to Succeed on Social Media

From tracking how effective your customer service is to reaching thousands of potential new customers with your brand, there are many, many different metrics that you can take advantage of when marketing on social media.

The important thing is that you take the time to set goals, select metrics that work with those goals, establish and understand your analytics tools, and then use the gathered information to tailor future marketing behavior.

If you can follow this process, you’ll be able to get the most out of your social media efforts — which is absolutely crucial considering how incredibly time-consuming a proper social media presence can be.

*Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash