Social Media Metrics that Matter
I was recently interviewed in a podcast episode for Tech Demand Weekly. Here I talk with the host Charles about social media metrics and how they can relate to your business.
Social media metrics are often easy to track. People often get stuck focusing on the wrong numbers. It’s important to focus on the right metrics that will drive results. This podcast episode was inspired by a recent post I was featured in Content Marketing Institute: 7 Social Media Metrics That Should Really Matter to Your Brand.
Check out the episode and let me know what you think!
If you prefer text, you can also read the transcript below.
“You can use vanity metrics… try to use them as part of a larger picture and to give you directional feedback.” – Martin Ochwat
Numbers are great. We all love them and we all want them to be higher on Twitter. We look for thenumber of followers, likes and retweets on Facebook. It’s the amount of group members, page followers, friends. Even on Linkedin, we all want to have that 500 plus connections link in our bio.
We think that by having these numbers as high as possible that we must be succeeding, but my guest today says these are not the metrics we should be striving for.
You can use vanity metrics. I don’t focus on them too much. Try to use them as part of a larger picture and to give you directional feedback. You might find that a Facebook fan is worth two or three times more than a Twitter follower.
Martin Ochwat, first started dabbling in online marketing in 2005 selling digital video game characters on Ebay. Martin has worked for and set up his own tech companies and now uses his experience to advise heads of marketing and entrepreneurs on growing their businesses. He has recently written an article for content marketing institute where he calls likes, retweets, followers and shares vanity metrics.
I started our chat by asking what he means by that and why we are so hung up on them.
So vanity metrics like you mentioned are usually simple metrics: impressions, likes, views, shares.
A lot of people get hung up on them mainly because they’re really easy to track. Every social media platform at the very top shows you how many fans, followers, or likes you have. And it’s just really easy to get that data compared to more advanced metrics such as customer acquisition rate, lifetime value, which is the downside of vanity metrics. So is it’s really difficult to measure the ROI of your activities with them.
And vanity metrics can often providelittle tangible value for your business. For example, if you’re tracking likes on a post, it’s really hard to measure, how getting more likes generate more revenue for your company.
So overall with vanity metrics. I think they still can be helpful, but they need to be combined with other metrics. So you can see the overall picture of your social media campaigns.
Do you think it’s maybe fair to say that social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, I mean they were originally made for, people being social.They weren’t necessarily thinking, ah, businesses will use these to promote their brands and to do this.They, I suppose wanted to just start off by hitting their core audience, which was going to be just a personal platform for people to use. And then as it’s grown, businesses have started to adopt it.
So because the platforms are made for personal consumption, and thesevanity metrics are designed for essentially making us feel better. if I get a hundred likes on a tweet, then I think, oh, I did a good job there. A hundred people liked what I had to say. They’re not really aiming originally at brands forusing social media.But those metrics have to stay there because the original idea of the platform was for just personal use.
Social media did start off as just for personal use. So, I think with metrics, especially vanity metrics, you can use them for more directional purposes. For example, you might find that a Facebook fan might be worth two or three times more than a Twitter follower.
So,you can try to measure metrics against platforms and see how it compares there. Or another example is a LinkedIn comment might provide more constructive feedback and it might be more likely to seen by others in your network compared to a Twitter reply.
Overall, I think you can still use vanity metrics. Mainly for directional purposes. They’ll let you know how a post is performing. If you’re sharing motivational quotes versus funny quotes on your social media, maybe you’re getting a lot more likes and shares with your motivational quotes. So, it can give you direction of what resonates with your audience. And you can try to focus on that aspect a little bit more.
So it’s not that you should actually just disregard these vanity metrics at all, that there are good uses for them. if I had a thousand followers on my business account then and I would see that as being a good thing.
I would not totally disregard vanity metrics. The problem is because, like we mentioned, they’re so easy to measure. I think a lot of businesses spend too much time and emphasis on these metrics, butit’s good to use them as part of your broader social media strategy and also incorporate other metrics into your analysis.So, that you can make sure you’re spending your time, money, and resources on the right activities.
So I found you Martin through a recently published article about the seven social media metrics that should really matter to brands. And can you give us a brief introduction as to what they are please?
Sure. So in the article I talk about seven metrics. I’d group them into three buckets.
So, the first bucket is understanding who your followers are. And for this you can use the demographics and fan base metrics.
Then you want to find out how are people engaging with your brand or are you speaking properly with them? Is your message resonating? So, forthat goal, you can use referrals and bounce rate as your metrics.
And finally, you want to see how is your social media growing? Are people following you and are things improving? For that you can measure social reach, follower growth and engagement. Those are the, the seven metrics that I talk about in the article.
Okay. So let’s start with reach then. A fairly easy metric to track on Twitter and Facebook using their analytics features. But other than the obvious, how many people saw it?What else canyouuse your reach analysis to tell you?
So reach is really important and the main thing you can get with reach is it really tells you the potential of your social media account today. If you have a larger reach, then you have a larger chance of acquiring visitor traffic to your website.
Overall, it’s still very important to be growing your reach. As it grows, you have the potential to attract more people. A few tips to help you with growing your reach are:
1) Optimizing your social profiles. You can update your logo, add a more clear and compelling description, and even include trackable links in your bio so that people can get redirected to your site.
2) You can run tests, to see how videos versus images are performing on your Facebook or Twitter. And like I mentioned before, try different styles of speaking, whether it’s funny or motivational.
3) A quick tip is always remembering to promote your social media profiles on your websites, blogs and emails. And as you grow your reach over time, you’ll see more visitors and ultimately more revenue coming in for your business.
I think that’s actually a really good a tip.
Obviously, you can put those links on your about me page or your services page. If there’s a particular service that you actually provide, one of your social media sites maybe actually really resonates well with. There’s a lot of places that you can actually make sure that you’re linking not just from social media back to your website but also the other way.
I think there’s a lot of opportunities on your website. One tactic there that’s really effective is using sticky social media buttons.
For example, if you go on Content Marketing Institute‘s website, as you scroll through articles, the social media buttons will follow you. They’re always visible, they’re always top of mind for your readers. And if you incorporate them where it makes sense: newsletters, blog posts, even a product page on your website, you’ll over time get more followers and you’ll get more reach.
Yeah, it’sa great thing because obviously reach is such an important metric in all sorts of ways.
Whether it’s a business or a podcast or a video or part of your content marketing campaign. Then you want to know you are getting the most from that content and you’re reaching as many people as possible.That you’re then targeting the right amount of people to actually potentially get some leads coming in. Or it might be in my case with a podcast, it’s just reach as many people as possible and therefore I’ll get the most listeners I possibly can get.
It really is top of the funnel. if you look at social media as an acquisition channel. It reaches at the very top of the funnel. The larger your reach,the bigger your funnel’s going to be.
And I’m sure you know with your podcast you always need to be building your reach. I’m sure you have a lot of already loyal followers, but it’d be even better a few months from now you have 10 times as many followers. So don’t forget to include social share icons on your podcast as well.
So I’ve spoken to a number of digital marketers on this podcast and they all say brands should be using social media as a way to direct prospects to their website. We kind of already talked about that a little bit there.
Bounce rate was another one of your seven metrics that you actually spoke about in your article to look out for. So that’s the number of visits to your site that come from social media links, but then that don’t stay to consume the actual content on the website.
How can you go about actually lowering your bounce rate? Is it all just about creating quality content or is there more that you can be doing throughout it?
Creating quality content is a really good place to start. Making sure your posts are compelling and people are clicking through them. The thing with bounce rate though is if you have a high bounce rate, there’s a lot of missed opportunities because these are people that engage with your content on social.And they ended up on your website either on desktop or mobile, but then they left soon after.
Jere’s a few tips that you can use today to improve your bounce rate. The biggest one and easiest ones isreducing your page load time. There’s a stat that 40% of people will abandon your site if it takes more than three seconds to load. So have a really fast website, ideally two seconds or less
You can always create a landing page. There’s a lot of great tools like Unbounce that helped me create really fast landing pages and direct traffic to those landing pages so that it can load really quickly.
Another tip you can also use is have a compelling call to action that matches your posts. Say for example, you’re running a promotion on Facebook, you get 20% off your products. Once people get to your landing page, they should see the same call to action of 20% off just to make sure they ended up in the right place.
And a third point is don’t forget visually if someone sees your Facebook post and there’s a lot of colors.Maybe there’s people laughing or maybe it showcases your product when they ended up on your landing page. It’s great if they can see similar images so they know they’re in the right place and there they’re seeing the right offer.
If you follow these tips, you’ll definitely see a decrease in your bounce rate so then you can capture more value from your leads.
I really liked the thought actually that there must be brands and companies out there that are reallyhappy smiley on their social media. And then as soon as you get through to their website, it’s just gray and dank and dark.You’re kind of going, what have I done here? I traveled through some kind of ultra-dimension and ended up in this boring place.
I mean, that’s what I kind of imagine is happening if you click on that link on social media. It looks really interesting. The brand looks like it actually has the same values as I do and I enjoy the stuff that it does. And then as soon as you get to their website, it’s just really bland and very formal and not actually clickable at all.
Yeah using your brand colors, helping them stand out on both social and, and your website will help improve your conversion rate. People are very visual. We like seeing eye catching colors. And that’s why it’s okay to create custom landing pages for your pages.
But coming from Instagram or Facebook ads, it might not be the best place to direct them to your home page. So, you can be a little more creative with landing pages. They’re usually hidden too. So only people that come from your social media will see them. And I think if you incorporate that into your strategy, you will see your bounce rate go down over time.
I think that’s really interesting that you can makeadditional homepages depending on where the user is actually come from. I suppose though, it’s something that’s been used in B2C(business to consumer) for many, many years. And like with most things in the B2B world, we’re only just really slowly catching up.
I traditionally come from the B2C space. I think one thing with B2C is the customer journey ismuch quicker. For example, in ecommerce, you might have a visitor land on your website and make a purchase two minutes later. It really gives you more opportunity to test and iterate more quickly. With things like landing pages, there’s a lot more opportunity to test and learn.
I’ve built a lot of landing pages in the past, making really small tweaks like improving my website speed by half a second, and your conversion rate goes up by 20%. For B2B, it is a little more tough. You might not get as many visitors and it might be harder to attribute or measure the success of your one landing page with your overall strategy.
But I think if you look at B2C, specifically, some e-commerce brands. A really good example I like is Harry’s. They sell razorblades and they have really, really good landing pages. Or sometimes I’ll go on Facebook and just check out their ads and look how they’re building landing pages. They’ll try five different landing pages for a single ad. And some might be a “blog style” page. One might be just a video testimonial page.
The more testing you do, the more you’ll learn. And over time that, that learning compounds. So you should see higher performance for your landing pages, your website and sales.
That stat that you gave there about, you saw a 20% increase in conversions. Just the, was it half a second on the load time? That’s incredible. You wouldn’t think that you would get that much more of an increase just for what is, quicker than I would blink.
I mean it also depends too.Your customers might be coming from North America on a fast Wi-Fi connection, but they might not. They might be elsewhere on a 3G or 2G connection. If it’s half a second for us, that can really compound.Depending on someone’s connection, it could be several seconds slower.Overall, it’s really easy to say, yeah, it’s just half a second, but it can make a big difference in your strategy, especially if ever a lot of mobile visitors.
So, make sure to invest a little bit of time in optimizing your site speed. Overall, it should pay you really good dividends.
That’s amazing. It really is amazing. I didn’t really think about it in that way. Obviously with us being in a world where we’re, we’re just starting to get 5G rolled out here in the UK. I don’t know whether you guys have got that over in Canada and America, but, our websites and our internet is so quick now.
I look back to when I was, sort of a teenager and we had our first internet capable computer in mom and dad’s house. There was a dial up modem that gave you all those beeps and everything and took half an hour to load on Google. The simplest of web pages took forever (to load). And now obviously it all just happens just like that.
And yet there are still obviously going to be places in the world that, not necessarily using dial-up, but at the very least, their internet isn’t going to be anywhere near as quick as what we’ve got it in America and in the UK.
It’s crazy to actually sort of sit back and realize it’s not all about us. There are other people, not everyone has 5G yet. So, you mentioned engagement in the group of seven metrics and all marketers obviously love that word. They will tell brands to engage with their prospects in order to create relationships with them. Just like B2C has been doing for many, many years. What can your engagement rate tell you about your audience?
I think engagement overall shows how people are interacting with your content and that can give you a lot of insights.
For example,you could test out different types of content, whether that’s images, videos, slideshows, a lot of social platforms like Facebook, Instagram are now doing stories. You can test out a lot of different content and see, are you getting more views with stories versus the news feed?
Another thing, engagement can also tell you about the audiences. When are they active? Are they most active Monday to Friday, nine to five?Or maybe they’re most active in the morning before they’re going to work or after work. So you can use this to your advantage in scheduling posts at the optimal times during the day. And if those times are not times that you’re working, you can also use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your posts.
The third thing is you can also see how your audience reacts to different types of content. For example, if you run contests, are they responsive to contests? Do they share and like with a lot of friends or is contest not the right form of engaging them? Maybe you need to be sharing customer testimonials or reviews.
Overall, by measuring engagement, I know everyone talks about it, but it can tell you a lot about your audience and using those learnings you can have more effective social media strategies.
I think you can probably almost rely on engagement a bit too much. Like you say it is a big buzzword, isn’t it, in B2B. And to go out there and, and really grab the attention of your audience. Of course, you could be running the risk of just doing the wrong thing and putting people off rather than actually turning them onto your product or your service.
I think that’s actually something that you really need to sort of make sure that you are correctly measuring your engagement and seeing how it actually works. And might you say if people aren’t responding to the things that you are actually putting out there. Whether it be competitions or testimonials, if they’re not engaging back with that content.Then you’ve got to actually be at a point and go, why isn’t this working? Is there something else we can do instead?
I agree with engagement. It’s really easy to get focused on it. One thing to note is you might have different customers as part of your social media audience. Not everyone will engage with your content the same way.
I think one way to get around that is to always be testing. if you’re testing different strategies, you could see how your engagement changes. Say week-over-week, one person that does this really well is Gary Vee. He’ll constantly be putting out content in new formats.Just different types of content.
He started out doing mainly, more business advice type content and now he’s found motivational posts work best.
He’s always changing his strategy. He’s changing his video styles, long form, short form, running IGTV or IG Stories, or running videos on YouTube and Twitter. I think by changing up your content you’ll learn a lot about engagement rate.
If you have different audience members within your social, you might have different content that resonates with them. So that way you, you can have a, a more encompassing social media strategy that resonates with, with more people.
Well for me, the thing that I think businesses and brands need to learn from is their own personal profiles that they use on social media.
We connect with our friends, but we also connect with our peers and they might be people that you’ve never actually met face to face. But because they work in the same industry or in the same space as you do your, you’re still connecting and meeting new people all the time. And there will be bits of content that you put out there personally that will get different interactions from different groups of your followers.
I think there’s kind of a lot to learn still for brands from just looking at their way of doing things in the first place.
If I put out a tweet about my football team, then I’ll get the people that are also football fans and followers of my team as they might interact with me over that. But I won’t get people that are, podcasts listeners necessarily. That’s where you post tweets here for the other group. The football fans won’t necessarily retweet the latest Edison research in podcasting stats. But the podcast listeners will.
Even with football itself, it depends. Is your audience in Europe or are they in the United States? They might think it’s something completely different with American football.But I think it is a good point.
You and your audience could change over time. As your business grows, as your podcast grows, you might get different listeners than you had when you started out. One way you can also try and get ahead of that is if you have other competitors in your space.Take a look at their social media, what kinds of people are following them? What are they reacting to? What are they posting?
There’s a good chance if your competitors have different styles of posts, that could be something to try out and maybe it’s resonating with a different audience you’re missing out on. So, it’s always good to be looking around and seeing what others are doing and learning from it.
Are there any tools that you would champion with regards to digging deep into your social media metrics?
There’s so many tools out there. If you go on any social media platform, they all have their own tools. Twitter has Twitter Analytics. There’s also Facebook analytics and Instagram analytics. I think if like just easily starting out, you can use some of those tools.
One of the most powerful tools I think in the market today would one that’s actually free is Google Analytics. It’s a really good platform that you likely already have set up on your website and it aggregates data from all your social media channels. I like to think of Google Analytics really as the heart of your website. I think brands are not using Google analytics enough.
You can get away from things like vanity metrics, so you’re not following likes follows and shares, but you’re seeing how were those social actions lead to visitors on your website. How are they affecting your bounce rate or referral traffic? And you can really see the full funnel with Google Analytics to see the ROI (return on investment) of your social media activities.
So,overall, I think most brands can take more advantage of Google Analytics as long as you have things like conversion tracking set up.You set up UTM campaigns. And for your social and you have your referrals set up properly. There’s a goldmine of data in there that you could be utilizing today.
So to finish off Martin, your top tips and marketers out there in using social media metrics to make sure that they are reaching their correct audience and as many people as possible?
So,there’s a lot of potential with social media. You want to make sure you’re focusing on the right metrics and make sure those metrics are tied to real business goals.
You can use vanity metrics like we mentioned at the beginning, but don’t focus on them too much. Try to use them as part of a larger picture and give you directional feedback.
Also be mindful when you’re creating your social media campaigns. Think about your voice and how that resonates with your audience. If your audience is segmented in different members, try out different types of contents so you can reach out to everybody.
And I think what’s really important is to always be testing new things. Try different styles of posts, whether it’s humor, motivational images,video stories, or news feed posts by testing new things and using the data you collect.
By running it through the social media analytics or Google Analytics, you could see what works, what doesn’t work.
And overall, the last bit of advice I’d say is, is don’t get too comfortable. Stay curious, always be testing. And overtime. You should see your social media metrics improve.
My thanks to Martin Ochwat. That was the inspiration for this episode on social media metrics. That’s all we’ve got time for on this week’s episode of Tech Demand Weekly. Please share the podcast with your friends and peers.