We’re so used to measuring performance, it just seems natural to question how social media will impact your company’s bottom-line. However, what many fail to realize is that organic social media is a long-term brand awareness and engagement tactic. It is simply a channel of communication between you and your customers. Now keep in mind, there’s a difference between organic social media and paid social media—paid is an entirely different story which we’ll save for another day.

So, how do you measure organic performance?

Google Analytics is one of the most popular analytics tools available—it can report on almost anything in regards to your website and traffic. This guide provides detailed steps for how you can use Google Analytics to track your social media performance.

Another method is to analyze your social media data, which is available on Facebook and LinkedIn but not on Twitter which can only be accessed if you have a paid account. There are countless metrics that you can pull and analyze, but the core three are Activity, Engagement and Audience. As social media constantly changes, you’ll need to keep an eye on these three metrics in order to shape your social media strategy over time.

  1. KHJ_ActivityActivity is measured by the frequency in which you post (i.e., two times a day). You’ll notice this is the one variable that is under your direct control. There are best practices for the frequency per channel which can be found here, but you should only use this as a guide. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach—the channel, the industry and the audience are just some of the factors at play. Therefore, you’ll want to test, observe, analyze and then optimize your posting frequency for each channel.
  1. KHJ_EngagementEngagement measures the number of people who’ve liked, commented on, clicked through, favorited or shared your post. In other words, it measures anyone who’s interacted with your content at all. You can also measure engagement by looking at the engagement rate of each post—which is total engagements divided by total impressions. Engagement is tied to the quality of your content. The more intriguing and relatable your content is, the more likely people will engage with you. If your content is engaging, people will follow you.
  1. KHJ_AudienceAudience can be measured in multiple ways. The easiest and most direct way to measure your audience is through the number of people who currently follow you or like your page. This number will grow organically as long as you’re posting quality content and have an optimized frequency of posts.You can also measure your audience by looking at how many people are viewing your content (this includes both people who do or don’t follow you). Impressions, which were mentioned earlier, measure the number of times a post may be seen, whether through your brands posts or through a follower’s share/repost of your content. This number can be deceiving for two reasons: 1.) the number is inflated since posts can be seen by someone multiple times and 2.) this number includes any post that is pushed to a person’s newsfeed, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve actually seen the post. In order to see the exact number of people who’ve seen your posts, you would want to measure reach, which measures unique impressions.

Although these three metrics are good key indicators of your social media performance, you shouldn’t get too hung up on the numbers. These numbers are only the tip of the iceberg—more importantly, you need to understand and develop a connection with the people behind those numbers; the people who like your page/follow you and view your content.

At the end of the day, if you’re able to humanize your brand and show that you genuinely care about your customers by providing quality content that speaks to them and by responding to their concerns—then your social media will flourish.

Social media isn’t the only thing that will impact your bottom line. Read why mobile-friendly website design has become key to being found in today’s vast sea of websites.