Affection is difficult to measure. It’s a feeling. You just know. But how can you quantify something so intangible? Visit the magazine stand at your local market and you’ll find quite a few quizzes that claim to tell you whether or not it’s love. Beyond that, there’s not really a way to gauge how much affection someone holds for you, except to ask.
But what about your business? Is there a way to measure how your audience feels about your brand? In the age of the internet and social networks, we can get a pretty good idea with the right metrics. Tracking social media awareness, engagement, consideration, and conversion metrics across social platforms can tell you whether your content resonates with your audience and how they feel about your brand.
While there are many ways for people to engage with your content, the options all fall into one of 4 categories: reactions, interactions, shares, and actions.
Reactions. When someone notices and appreciates your post, they may like, favorite, or save it, or follow your account. This is the easiest and most basic form of engagement among individuals and brands. It could signify that they agree with your post or they may simply want to let you know they saw it. While reactions are nice, this type of social media engagement requires little effort and doesn’t ask for any response about your brand.
If you consistently put out useful, engaging content, people will start to take note and decide to follow your brand for future updates. This is ideal for increasing awareness. After all, the more often people see your posts, the more likely they are to remember your brand. While a follow may not require as much effort as a comment, it does show you that your new fan likes your content enough to sign up for more. When tracking your growing audience, the most important thing is to see how fast your audience is growing, not just how many new followers you gain. Measuring your audience growth rate is key.
Audience growth rate can help you measure awareness and track growth for a specific post to see how successful it is. You can also use audience growth rate to compare the growth of your audience against competitors. Plus, you can compare performance across all of your social networks to see which accounts attract the most followers – and to determine how you can apply that success to your other accounts.
1. Audience Growth Rate [Awareness Metric]
Net New Followers/Total Audience x 100 = Audience Growth Rate Percentage
Likes and favorites are valuable because they let you know that the content is valuable for your audience.
Measuring the applause rate for your posts can help you understand what percentage of your audience finds value in your content. You can use this information to guide your content strategy moving forward. Here’s how you can track your applause rate:
2. Applause Rate [Engagement Metric]
Total Approval Actions (Likes, Favorites, and Saves)/Total Followers x 100 = Applause Rate Percentage
Interactions. Sometimes a “thumbs up” just isn’t enough. Content that is strong enough to elicit a response may spur a reply, a comment, a mention, or a follow. These interactions provide higher quality engagement than a simple reaction. Responding requires more effort to craft a comment in words than it does to hit a reaction button.
Tracking social mentions can show you how engaged users are with your content; give you an idea of who these individuals are with metrics around demographics, where they are from with metrics around geographics, what days and times you should share your content; and let you know what users are saying about your product or service. Mentions can be direct (e.g., @creativeinferno) or indirect (inferno).
You can also measure Social Share of Voice (SSoV) to see how many people mention your brand compared with competitors. Simply measure every brand mention (direct and indirect) across your social networks. Then measure competitor mentions during the same reporting period. Divide your mentions by the total number of mentions and multiply by 100 to get your SSoV percentage.
3. Social Share of Voice (SSoV) [Engagement Metric]
Total Brand Mentions/Total Mentions (i.e., Total Brand Mentions + Total Competitor Mentions) x 100 = SSoV Percentage
Shares. The holy grail of social media engagement is getting your followers to share your content. When you can get someone to connect with your content and go on to retweet, share, or reblog it, you’ve done something right. Shares help increase your social reach, expose your content to a new audience, and provide social proof that your content is valuable. After all, your followers wouldn’t share your post if they didn’t endorse it.
Measuring the amplification rate of each post can tell you the ratio of shares to your total number of followers. This ratio allows you to see what type of content your followers deem valuable enough to share with the audience they have carefully built. A high amplification rate indicates that your followers are more willing to associate themselves with your brand.
4. Amplification Rate [Consideration Metric]
Total Post Shares/Total Followers x 100 = Amplification Rate Percentage
Actions. Compelling someone to move beyond the content you have shared to visit your website is the ultimate goal for social media engagement. The action you want them to take once they click may change, but the intent is the same. You want to connect your social media efforts with the rest of your marketing efforts. There are two basic conversion metrics you can use to track these actions. Simply include a link in your post, driving traffic to your website, blog, white paper, lead generation form, or event information, and you can measure the click-through and conversion rate.
Click-through rate (CTR) tells you how often people click the call-to-action in your post. Measuring your CTR can give you an idea of how compelling your offer is to the people who see your post.
5. Click-Through Rate (CTR) [Conversion Metric]
Total Clicks/Total Impressions x 100 = CTR Percentage
Conversion rate tracks the number of visitors who click through to the linked page and then take a desired action. Examples of an action might include signing up for a newsletter, downloading a white paper or e-book, filling out a lead generation form, registering for a webinar, or even purchasing your product or service. If you have a high conversion rate, it’s an indication that your content was valuable and that your post was relevant to the linked content.
6. Conversion Rate [Conversion Metric]
Conversions/Total Clicks x 100 = Conversion Rate Percentage
The true value of any metric depends on your goals. Of the social media metrics we have listed, you may prioritize them. You may track CTR for some posts, but focus on audience growth rate for others. That’s normal, since your goals will shift from post to post. The point is to gather the data that will allow you to make informed decisions for your business.
As you continue to monitor how your audience shares their love for your brand – through likes, comments, shares, or actions – pay attention to the type of content that drives awareness, engagement, consideration, and conversion. Then you can adjust your content strategy to produce more of the content that achieves your goals.