How to Measure Social Media Success

Measuring Social Media Success

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
– Albert Einstein

Do you spend countless hours on social media, promoting your business, content and products? For many, the answer is yes. The importance of social media is no longer a question to marketers and businesses. Social media outreach helps build your brand, drive sales and attract links which improves your search presence. According to Business 2 Community, “86 percent of marketers stated that social media is important to their business” and “89 percent of marketers stated that increased exposure was the number one benefit of social media marketing.”

As often seen, many businesses relate “likes” on Facebook, “follows” on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and the like, as great exposure. However, what do those likes and follows mean to your business? Are they translating to purchases on your site? Are these people sharing and engaging in your content? You could have one million likes on Facebook, but are those one million people doing what you want them to do?

Here are some tools and tips to measure your social media efforts:

Understand Your Business Goals and How Social Media Can Support Them

Let’s be realistic. Social media is an investment of time and money. To ensure that your time and money is not wasted, align all social media efforts with your business goals.

Business goals

Remember, results take time. Continue to measure and optimize your social media strategy against target metrics until you reach an optimal return on investment.

Free Measurement Tools

There are many free and paid social media measurement tools. Always take advantage of free tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics and Simply Measured, just to name a few. Here is a snapshot of a report generated by Simply Measured:

Audience profile analysis

Audience profile analysis

Remember: If your efforts are not being measured, they can’t be improved.

Metrics That Matter

There are a few social media metrics we consistently advise our clients to measure. Here is a list of straightforward metrics that give you powerful insights:

1. Activity

How often are you posting and responding?

Evaluate post metrics:

  • Post rate – How many posts are you publishing over a defined period of time? i.e. weekly or monthly
  • Post type percentage – Are your posts images, videos or offers? Divide the total of post types to number of total posts.
  • Post topic percentage – What topics do you post about? Company updates, thought leadership articles? Divide the total of post topics to the number of total posts.

Evaluate response metrics:

Response rate – How frequently do you respond to posts?
Average response time – Do you interact with your audience in a timely manner?

2. Reach

How many eyeballs are seeing and liking your brand?


  • Facebook: Daily reach or weekly reach
  • Twitter: Total followers + total followers of those who retweeted your posts

Audience Growth Rate:

  • Facebook: New fans / total fans
  • Twitter: New followers / total followers

3. Engagement

Think of engagement like this: You, as an individual may know many people. That’s great; you’re popular. However, you may only have a handful of close friends you talk to weekly. You engage with them the most – whether it be through text messages, emails, happy hours and dinner nights.

Those relationships are valuable and you’ll keep those people close to you. Targeted relationships on social media should be treated as such (but in a more business-like manner). You can measure your engagement with the following equations:

Applause Rate: Number of likes, favorites and +1s

  • Facebook: Total number of likes / total posts
  • Twitter: Total number of favorites / total posts

Amplification Rate: Number of shares, retweets and repins

  • Facebook: Total number of shares / total posts
  • Twitter: Total number of retweets / total posts

Conversation Rate: Number of comments and mentions

  • Facebook: Total number of comments / total posts
  • Twitter: Total number of mentions / total posts

Engagement Rate: Combination of applause rate, amplification rate, conversation rate divided by daily reach

  • Facebook: Daily engaged / daily reach
  • Twitter: Favorites + mentions + retweets / total followers

4. Acquisition and Conversions
This is where Google Analytics plays a major role. Ask yourself these questions and find the data to prove it:

  • What is the percentage of total visits to my site from social media?
  • How many people are converting?
  • What are they up to? Review metrics such as average session duration, page views, pages per session, assisted conversions, etc.

Continue to Measure and Optimize

Track these numbers over time in a data friendly program like Excel to determine where you’re seeing the most growth and return on investment. If you find social media to be valuable in helping you meet your business goals or sales objectives, continue your efforts and optimize toward success.

The typical process includes researching your target audience and figuring out what social sites they are using, launching your efforts, measuring and analyzing the data, determining the value of your efforts, reevaluating your goals and crafting new campaigns.

Remember, you can count your one million followers but does that really count?