Measuring What Matters in Your Social Media Strategy

Published on Dec 16th, 2014

Many brands measure their social performance by the number of fans and followers. As tempting as it may seem, just focusing on the number of fans or followers does not indicate the true size and value of a brand’s social community. Rather than focusing on potential fans, savvy social brands track and focus on quality activity and interactions based on audience-centric metrics.

Here are three critical building blocks that every brand should utilize in their 2015 social media strategy.

  1. Growth and Performance

Growth and performance metrics allow brands to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of their social media efforts over time by tracking audience size and engagement. The performance metrics for growth and engagement are:

Unique engaged audience (not just fans or followers)

Amplification (shares or retweets)

Consistent activation (average post or tweet engagement)

For example, the top brands leading the retail industry by number of fans – Walmart , Victoria’s Secret , Target , Nike and Levi’s – have over 129 million fans combined.

However, the Unique Engaged Users’ (those who share, retweet, etc.), performance is measured by actual engagement. See below how effective their Facebook social strategies really are.

  1. Content Strategy

Content strategy metrics show the tactics that produce the most compelling content, providing ways to benchmark social results and gain awareness of marketplace best practices, including those used by competitors.

Content strategy metrics like content type, time of posting and keywords can help brands find out:

If their content is as “shareable” as their competitors.

Which content types are driving the most engagement for their brand.

Specific day/time combinations during which their social audience is most likely to engage.

If their post frequency is enough based on their audience engagement.

The chart below shows which content types are driving the most engagement for automotive brands on Facebook.

The data shows that posting photos on Facebook is paying off in terms of audience engagement for the automotive category. And, given the dramatic rise in social video in 2014, there is clearly an opportunity for even more engagement in this category in the coming year.

  1. Audience Quality

Audience quality metrics assess the characteristics of social audiences, gauges their loyalty and affinity to specific brands, identifies influencers and advocates, and determines their engagement with those brands and their competitors’ content over time.

Key metrics for measuring audience quality are:

% Returning Users

Frequency of Actions

% Shares or Retweets

Brand Cross Engagement

Below, you can see the top luxury brands with the most loyal audiences on Twitter in 2014.

Brand cross engagement provides deep insight into the behaviors of brands’ engaged audiences by showing how likely these audiences will interact with competitors and other categories’ brands, and also shows their various interests.

The list below provides a snapshot of the top media properties that Visa fans also interact with on Facebook.

Fox News

Today Show

ABC News

Good Morning America


Going deeper, Visa can also see which of competitors their fans are also interacting with:

Capital One

American Express


TD Bank

Ally Bank

By using these building blocks and associated metrics, brands can track, experiment and improve upon their social media communication strategies. With a fine-tuned strategy tailored to what their fans want, brands can turn fans into loyal advocates, increase customer interactions and significantly improve marketing performance.

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