Social Media KPIs Don’t Have to Be Frustrating.
What nobody tells you about establishing social media KPIs.
This is what I’ve recently received in my LinkedIn inbox from one of my readers:
“I’m struggling with establishing KPIs and measuring the results. Even though I know how to do it, it’s different when you have to do it in real life. Often there isn’t enough knowledge on how to measure certain things. Or for example, what analytics matter most. As a social media, I feel like all I do is write content to the point where it becomes a routine. I’m struggling to understand what else can be done, once you have your strategies set etc.”
Many entry-level marketers start as social media managers. It’s a great place to start but it can be freakin’ frustrating. As a young and ambitious professional, you want to do the right thing and prove that you’re delivering results.
Want to read this story later? Save it in Journal.
The first thing you do is build a strategy and establish KPIs. Brilliant! And then what…? Very often this is the moment when you face reality. It’s not as easy as it looks “on paper”, right?
You start to beat yourself up to the fact that you’re not hitting your targets. These darn KPIs become your obsession and your only goal. Demotivating huh?
In this article, I’ll explain how not to go crazy while establishing KPIs.
Why are you even doing this?
This is usually where problems start: lack of a clear goal.
Are you doing social media just because everybody does? Does it fit in your company’s strategy and can you make an impact?
For example, if you’re working for a construction company maybe it doesn’t make sense to post pictures of concrete and metal on Instagram to attract new business. But perhaps it is a good idea to use Instagram to attract new talent.
Be critical about it. Why are you even doing this? Clarity about your goal is key to success.
It’s good to take a moment with your manager to discuss how social media fits in the business strategy. It’s important to acknowledge that it’s not always directly related to sales or lead generation. There are different reasons why companies use social media, for example:
Xbox is using Twitter to provide support to their users
GoPro introduced Photo of the Day on Facebook. They post photos taken by their users. That’s how they gather information about who their users are and how/when they’re using their products.
Attracting new talent
Lush is using Facebook and Insta to build awareness among potential hires.
Daye is building a strong and distinctive brand on social media. They have a very clear mission which is to bridge the gender gap in both medical research and innovation.
“For us, this starts with providing as many people as possible with accessible, well-researched content on women’s health,” — Valentina Milanova, Daye Founder & CEO.
Now, depending on your goal, you’ll set different KPIs. Here are some examples:
- # of support questions submitted
- % of questions answered within 5 min
- # of photos submitted as “Photo of the day”
- # of insights about the target audience per week
Attracting new talent
- # of potential candidates following you
- # of comments on your posts
- # of brand mentions
- # of followers & reach
Note: this is not where the list of possible goals ends. Every business is different and you might find a completely different goal for your company. The point is that you have to clearly define it. Only then can you set the KPIs.
When you type “social media KPIs” in Google you can get stressed only by looking at the search results:
Take it easy. You don’t have to “focus on” all of the KPIs. Why would you make your life complicated?
I’ve done it myself and I see it happening over and over again with my younger colleagues. When you try to achieve everything at once you don’t achieve anything. Narrow focus, commitment and consistency are key.
Here’s what these articles don’t tell you:
Start with one most important thing. Pick one KPI which is absolutely the most important and focus on that.
One caveat though: I am not saying you shouldn’t track other KPIs.
It’s always good to have an overview of how your social pages are doing in terms of other metrics and to have this data for future reference. But don’t worry about them and don’t set any targets for all of them. Start with one thing.
This thing is going to be different depending on what stage your social media are in.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say my goal is to attract new talent but I’m building social media from scratch. I focus on the # of followers rather than website link clicks.
Imagine what would happen if I focused on improving 5-10 KPIs at the same time.
I would stretch myself thin. That would not only result in stress but also poor quality because out of desperation I would probably apply some quick and dirty hacks to boost my metrics.
Instead, I focus on getting more followers. I also make sure that it’s not “just followers” but followers who have the potential to become a new hire.
It’s not (always) about sales
The common mistake I notice some beginners make is trying to attribute sales or leads to social media.
Organic social media is not about sales.
Think about it. If you were your potential customer what would you like to see on your brand’s social media? For me, it would be an inspiration, information, education, tips, something pretty, something ugly, something shocking, something new… Anything but sales.
I don’t follow brands on social media because I like to be spammed by sales-y content. I do like to see products that I might buy eventually but I probably won’t click directly on an Instagram post and buy it right away. I want to see some inspiration and get to know the brand better. Then one day when I feel like a shopping spree I will go directly to your website and place my order.
If you want to see what effect your social media have on conversion numbers you can check the Assisted Conversions report in Google Analytics (or any other tool). But… There are 3 buts:
- Because of the changes in privacy regulations regarding cookies, this might not be so easy to track.
- You are not able to see traffic from Instagram posts because Instagram doesn’t allow links (only in stories if you have more than 10k followers, in the bio or if you’re an e-shop).
- Some social platforms algorithms are not in favour of posts with external links because they simply want you to stay on the platform and keep on scrolling.
- Pick KPIs that support your ultimate goal (customer support, attracting new talent, brand awareness, customer research or others)
- Stick to one most important KPI at a time and move to the next one only if you’ve achieved the first one.
- Don’t try too hard to attribute sales to social media.
📝 Save this story in Journal.