There are tons of different metrics you can conceivably track on social media, and they vary from platform to platform.
But which metrics are actually important?
What are your key performance indicators (KPIs), the measurable quantities that actually mean something for the success of your business?
You don't need a whole lot of KPIs — only five or six.
But it's important to choose the right metrics that are capable of giving useful information about how your social media marketing is doing.
Jeremy Goldman is a social media strategist whose company works with firms like L'Oreal and Unilever.
For his firm, successful campaigns start with identifying the right KPIs.
In a recent interview with the Content Marketing Institute, Goldman shares his expert approach to quantifying social media marketing success.
CCO: In the context of content marketing, how do you wade through the seemingly infinite social media metrics to get to the social media KPIs?
Goldman: First, it’s completely normal to get metrics and KPIs mixed up to some extent.
In fact, I’ve seen people at even senior levels flub this. Metrics are simply measurements quantified.
KPIs are metrics that you’ve determined are mission critical to your business.
You touch on something very important here: These days we can measure more than ever before.
However, that isn’t necessarily a good thing in that it causes some organizations to lose focus. Just because we have more metrics doesn’t mean we need more KPIs.
The more KPIs your organization has defined, the less focused it likely is. I had one company boasting that it was determined to go from four KPIs to 16 KPIs in the next fiscal year.
Is that always a good thing or does that dilute the value of a KPI?
CCO: Speak to the newly minted content marketing manager. What are the first steps they need to take to figure out the best social media KPIs for their content marketing goals?
Goldman: That’s going to depend on the organization and the scope of the particular role, so the first thing is to figure out how to be of greatest value to the organization in general.
If the best thing is to get eyeballs on the company’s latest white paper, the best KPIs may be visits to the lead-gen form connected to the white paper, and the total number of white paper downloads – simple as that.
CCO: What are typically the most important social media KPIs for content marketing, and how do you create a sustainable, team-oriented process for driving toward them?
Goldman: Again, it’s going to depend on the organization, but I think sales leads is probably the number one KPI for content marketing.
If you’re not making any sales, it’s hard to keep the lights on, and it’s hard to write good content without any lights. Tied to that, customers coming from those leads are a powerful KPI, not to mention traffic on specific pieces of content.
I like that you ask how to have a team-oriented process because that’s something not enough people touch on. It’s important to have the entire team pushing in the right direction.
Every team member must understand not just team KPIs but what role each member of the group needs to play to reach them. You can’t all be rowing in different directions.
I see that happen all too often.
You can read the rest of the interview over at The Content Marketing Institute.