3 Unique Metrics for Measuring Social Media Success

In every job and every activity, there is a measuring stick against which you compare performance. Often times, it’s

It’s important to measure your performance every step of the way.

even against yourself (past year’s income, previous quarter’s bonus, etc.) So how do you measure the success of your social media campaigns or of your accounts in general? Here are 3 unique metrics I rely on most to gauge the performance of a single campaign or of a brand’s social media presence on the whole. Spoiler Alert: Follower count doesn’t make the list.
Rate Your Engagements and interactions: This one is relatively straight forward and definitely the most common. It is important to monitor how much engagement you’re getting on your page both per post and also on average on the whole. It’s also good to keep track of the variety of interactions you’re getting and adjust your content accordingly. If you’re getting all Likes and no comments, you have to ask yourself, “Why aren’t people commenting?” It’s also sometimes helpful to rank your different interactions in terms of priority and importance. Now, obviously these priorities might change depending on the post or the situation, but generally speaking, I break Facebook interactions down into: 1- Shares 2- Comments 3- Likes, and Twitter interactions into: 1- Retweets 2- Mentions 3- Replies 4- Favorites. In both of these cases, 1 is the action that means the most to me and the list descends from there in order of value to the brand.
Monitor your growth rate: Your growth rate is like your company’s performance year-to-date, while your follower count is akin to your revenue. If you’ve made $100K this quarter, that’s great; but if you made $150K last quarter, knowing that $100K alone doesn’t help you any. Similarly, if you have 200,000 followers, that may sound impressive, but not if you started the year with that same 200,000 followers. I’d much rather have 5,000 followers, knowing that I only started the year with 2,500. Monitoring your growth rate is important because it allows you to make adjustments not only when your followership may be reaching a plateau, but also to capitalize on campaigns that are pushing your rate of growth ahead of the curve.  I think people are turned off by this one because there’s some math involved and it’s not provided to you, but it is very easy to track and a great metric.
– Quality over quantity– Follower count is the most overused and overrated metric in all of social media. Did you get that? Maybe read it one more time just to be sure. But seriously, I mean it. First of all, anybody can buy followers or Likes (as sad as that is). I could invent a made up business and with just a few hundred dollars, create a page that has more than 50,000 fans. Second of all, what does your fan count matter if you’re not engaging anybody? That’s like asking a market researcher if he’d rather send out 10,000 surveys and get none back or sit in a room with 25 talkative real-life consumers. Now, I realize that the obvious counterargument to this is, “If a tree falls in the woods…”, but the takeaway here is not that you should have 0 fans; the point is that you should value the quality of your fans over the quantity. So how do you do that? Whenever I’m evaluating a page, I don’t only look at the number of followers, but also at the average rate of engagement across a number of posts. How many likes and comments are they averaging? What seems high/low for their individual posts? I’ll then compare that to their number of followers before I make a determination about their social media performance. CBS News and AllFacebook recently published a list of the Top 20 most engaging Facebook Pages, but I don’t necessarily agree with their list because it doesn’t take number of followers into account.  If you’ll notice, Manchester United is ranked at #5 right behind Justin Bieber in the “total number of interactions” column, except that Bieber has TWICE as many followers. Doesn’t that make Man U’s page twice as engaging? Here is my secret to calculating post quality and overall page performance:

  • Start with your number of followers.
  • Multiply by .17. This represents the 17% of people who will hopefully see your post (for more on EdgeRank, see my post on infographics).
  • Multiply that number by .015. This represents the 1.5% of people who you hope to engage out of the total who see the post.
  • Use this number as your benchmark until your audience grows significantly, and then repeat.

Here are a few notes about my equation: It varies by audience size. Smaller audiences should be able to get closer to 2%, larger brands might be just shy of 1, figure out where you are currently, set the bar a little higher, and aim for that.  It also varies by industry. If you are an accounting firm or a doctor’s office, it might be harder for you to get your engagement rate up than if you were a band or a sports team. In this case, identify competitors of yours who you feel are succeeding, calculate their engagement rate, and use this as your measuring stick.


How do you stack up against your competition? Are there other metrics that you use to rate your performance on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis?

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