You can’t just blindly do social media marketing because some guy at a business seminar told you to. Whether you’re running a Facebook business page, looking for leads on LinkedIn, or (hopefully) using multiple social platforms to spread brand awareness, you need to track what’s working -- and what’s not.
Running social campaigns without check-ins and analysis is like running a manufacturing line without doing QA. If you don’t adjust based on what your results (or your metrics) are telling you, you won’t hit your goals.
Having a handle on these eight metrics will help you revise -- or rebuild, if necessary -- your brand awareness strategy as needed.
8 Social Media Metrics for Brand Awareness
Likes fall under the broad umbrella of “engagement.”
Specifically, likes show that users have seen your content and find you insightful, entertaining, or helpful.
Likes come in two forms: Post likes and page likes. On Facebook, someone liking your business page means he’s now connected to your page and will start receiving stories from your page in his news feed. Meanwhile, liking a singular post means someone’s letting you know he finds a specific link or thought interesting.
If you find your audience is responding to a certain blog or video topic you’ve been posting on social media, you can base more of your content around that topic going forward.
When someone clicks on your post, they’re agreeing to follow a link to your content. You piqued their curiosity and/or interest so much that they wanted more.
This is a good thing.
Clicks are likes on steroids. If you get potential buyers to click, it means you’ve really hit their pain point or written a super engaging social post. Good job!
Social shares are another form of engagement.
If someone publicly passes along content you posted, all of his followers will see it too. That’s a lot of extra eyeballs. And if the right person or company shares something, you could see your brand awareness skyrocket.
Remember that you’ve got to make something worth sharing. Are your posts entertaining and helpful, or are you simply regurgitating company selling points?
This too falls under “engagement.” Comments let you see how your content and products are resonating your audience.
Take note of the quantity of comments certain topics receive -- comments clue you in that people care enough to discuss it. But also take note of quality of comments, too. What do people have to say about your ideas and your products -- good or bad?
This one’s vague, but still important.
Social media reach is an estimated number of social media users that could have contact with a post. Reach is as much about potential for success as it is about proven success.
Social sites have tools to show you exactly how many people have “seen” your post. It’s important to know what “reached” or “seen” means for each platform. For example, on Facebook, someone “seeing” a post means it appear in their news feed, not necessarily that they clicked on it.
Note that Reach will be lower than Impressions, which is a similar metric except that counts multiple “looks” by the same person. Reach only includes unique “looks.”
Factors that affect reach include:
- Time and date -- used to see when your audience is most active
- Content -- used to see what your audience finds valuable
Bet you were wondering when we were going get to this.
Some people try to amass thousands upon thousands of followers, regardless of relevancy. Others don’t care about follower total, only about engagement levels.
Perhaps the answer’s in the middle -- for those trying to increase B2B brand awareness, follower count matters.
A side benefit of tracking followers is you can compare success levels of two or more social channels. You may find your LinkedIn page is killing it, but your YouTube channel is a heap of suck. If your analysis discovers the same trend over and over, maybe it’s time to focus somewhere other than YouTube.
To a lesser extent, this benefit applies to all other metrics on this list. Use your results to help you decide which social platforms to focus your efforts on.
7. Audience Growth Rate
Audience Growth Rate is the same metric as followers except that you’re examining a percentage increase (hopefully) over time.
Studying growth rate allows you to evaluate social marketing efforts over a month, a quarter, a year, etc.
Now you’ll know whether you’re trending upward or need to switch up your brand messaging.
If people @ you, it means they’re talking about you. If you’re interesting enough to talk about, you’re doing something right (unless you’ve pissed someone off).
Tracking social mentions shows:
- Whether people love, hate, or are curious about your brand
- How engaged people are with your content
- The time and day of the week they’re mentioning you
Sometimes users don’t know you can @ people ... or they don’t bother ... or they do it incorrectly. That doesn’t mean you have to stay in the dark about their habits. If you search your brand on Twitter or Facebook, mentions of your brand name in posts will still come up in the search results. You just won’t get that handy notification, so you’ve got to look manually.
A Brief Word of Caution
Be aware that each platform has slightly different ways of measuring things. For example, on Facebook Insights, “People Engaged” is the number of unique users who’ve liked, commented on, shared, or clicked on your posts in the past week.
More examples: Did you know that on LinkedIn, a post and an article are two different things? Or that when using a company page, you can’t see the names of people who follow your profile?
The point is, you should check the rules and stat parameters for each social site so you don’t make an apples-to-oranges comparison.
Keep on Track With Tracking
Brand awareness -- especially B2B brand awareness -- is a tricky subject. Now that virtually every company is active online -- even manufacturers -- competition for users’ attention will gradually get tougher.
It’s vital to make sure you’re tracking what you’re doing on social media and whether it’s worked so far. You’ll be a step ahead of the competition, whether you’re updating a simple spreadsheet each month or letting a social tool like HubSpot’s handle data collection.
Faithfully tracking social metrics can be the difference between rounding the corner toward the finish line and cluelessly running straight off a cliff.