Which social media metrics should we track as a B2B tech firm?
Most B2B tech businesses realise that having a social media presence is important. However, linking social media metrics to business goals can be a challenge. According to HubSpot, 44 per cent of Chief Marketing Officers say they have not been able to measure the impact of social media on their business.
Why metrics are important
Robust measurement can help you understand what is and isn’t working and ensure you distribute the right content on the right platforms at the right times. It can also assist you in proving the value of your activity and securing a budget for your social media efforts.
Each platform has analytics you can use to understand your audience and the performance of your social posts. Alternatively, you can save time by using one of the many freely available tools to bring data from various social media platforms together in one place.
Social media audit
A good way to start exploring measurement is to conduct a social media audit. Best practice is to conduct this every 12-18 months.
Looking at each of your social media accounts in turn, ask yourself a series of questions:
How many followers do you have?
Which posts perform best and worst?
Which types of content do best and worst?
How often do you post?
When are the best-performing posts published?
How many people view your videos? Do they watch them to the end or drop off after a few seconds?
What is your reach?
How many click-throughs are you getting?
Are people responding to your posts? If so, what is their sentiment towards you?
Social media metrics
The number of metrics is vast and it can be hard to decide what to focus on. The solution is to keep your goals top of mind – what does the metric tell you about your progress towards your goals?
The engagement rate tracks how much and how often your audience is interacting with your posts, whether through likes, comments, shares, clicks or mentions. Platforms use different metrics and naming conventions for this.
Impressions and reach are key metrics if your goal is brand awareness. Impressions are how many times a post shows up in someone’s timeline, while reach is the potential unique viewers a post could have.
Share of voice
Share of voice refers to how many people are talking about your brand online in comparison to your competitors.
Return on investment
Social media is more associated with creating brand awareness than sales conversions, but in reality most marketers are measured on how their programmes and campaigns generate leads and revenue.
Key metrics in this context are the click-through rate, referrals and conversions.
The click-through rate (CTR) in ads and posts compares how many people click versus the number of times the ad or post was seen.
Referrals are how a user lands on your website – in this case, from which social media platform.
Conversions are when someone purchases something from your site and are generally more applicable to B2C than B2B.
As well as tracking any revenue that social media generates, you should also keep an eye on expenses – work hours, agency or freelance or costs, software and services, content development expenses and advertising costs.
You can then work out your return on investment (ROI). This is defined as income – cost divided by cost x 100.
The golden rule for reporting is that the further away the person you are reporting is from your department, the further along the sales funnel you should focus on in terms of metrics.
Marketing and / or communications departments may be interested in likes and engagement, but senior management will want to concentrate on conversions and revenue generation.
Once you have decided which metrics to use, you can deploy them to optimise your social media strategy using a “test and learn” approach. It is important to avoid radical changes and concentrate on one element at a time so that you can clearly see what is working. Lots of small changes can cumulatively add up to a major transformation in performance.