Social Media: Key Success Factors

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There are lots of different metrics for gauging the success of your social media accounts. This article explores some of the most important metrics to pay attention to across your social media accounts.

Impressions: The number of times that your posts are seen

Impressions are a critical component of success – the greater the number of times that your posts are seen, the greater impact that they are likely to have on your business. Ideally, you will find that over time the number of impressions you get on each post will grow, reinforcing your brand identity with a broader audience. 

Engagement: The amount users interact with your content

While impressions are important, it is also important that users are engaging with your content. Engagements by users not only likely to be much more important to achieving your ultimate objectives (such as click-through driving sales of your product), but they will naturally increase the number of times that your posts are seen by other users. 

Some of the most important forms of engagement include:

  • Shares of the posts: The times that users re-share the post to their own account. Not only is this an important metric used by social media platforms that the content is engaging, but it also increases the reach of your post – not only will the post be seen by your followers, but it will be seen by followers of the account that shared it.
  • Likes of the post: Likes are another critical form of engagement. Similar to post shares, they illustrate the popularity of your post (in turn increasing its visibility), while often exposing the content to the followers of the person who liked the post (although typically to a lesser extent than if they had re-shared it).
  • Link clicks: If you are sharing a link to an article or your website, then the number of times that a user clicks the content is an important form of engagement. Having a link seen by lots of individuals, but never clicked, is unlikely to drive the off-social-media actions that you were intending, such as driving purchases on your website. 
  • Video views: If you have shared a video, media views capture the number of times that your video has been seen. One thing that is important to pay attention to when considering video view is the length of time that the video had to play to be counted as a view. Different platforms count views in different ways (or present multiple statistics) – while a 3-second view may have exposed individuals to your brand logo, if you have a 10-minute video, it likely was not sufficient for them to see the full message.

Conversions: The tendency for users to buy your products (or other desired outcomes)

While getting impressions and engagements is good, ultimately it is important to not lose sight of the bigger picture. Getting social media engagement is unlikely to be an end in itself. Rather, you will likely be using your social media account to drive other actions, such as sales on your website or interest in your products that ultimately result in purchases.

Measuring this ultimate success is not always easy. If you are driving sales to a website you may be able to measure the number of users who come from your social media accounts and ascertain their contribution to your sales. If however, you are reliant on in-person sales, or your company’s product is ultimately sold to end-consumers via other retailers, it can be a lot more difficult to measure the impact social media is having on ultimate sales.

Growing a following: The total number of users following your page

The final key success factor in social media is the size of your following. This can have a substantial impact on the number of impressions and engagements you get on the material that you post. The more followers that you have, the more individuals will likely see your post, engage with it, and ultimately convert off-site.  

Final thoughts: Social media is a process - gradually building over time

Establishing a social media presence is a long-term process. While you may get lucky and find that one post goes viral, most likely increasing your presence will not be a quick process. There is not a magic formula to suddenly establish a large, engaged following. While monitoring performance is important, helping you keep focused, don’t expect substantial improvements over a short timeframe.

You will however likely find that improvements in one area feed into others. Increasing your engagement of the posts will likely expose your posts to a broader audience, some of which may start following your page, and also start engaging with your content. It is like rolling a snowball, while initial progress is very small, over time it is likely to build and become more substantial.