Beyond Likes: Measuring The Real Impact Of Social Media Campaigns

It can be hard not to focus on how many likes your posts are getting—or worse, comparing yourself to other businesses on social media—but the truth is that there are so many other metrics you should be monitoring beyond simply the number of likes. It’s almost like our brains have been trained to delegate value based on the number of likes on social media; however, we’re here to dispel this misconception and give you a new perspective on approaching your social media campaigns. So today, we’re going beyond the likes and discussing how to measure the real impact of your next social media campaign!

Defining Success Beyond Likes

Before we get into the specifics, it’s important to think about your social media from a macro level before moving to the micro level. By this, we mean that your next social media campaign doesn’t actually start on social media. Allow us to explain.

Before you think about designing graphics, adding a hook, or writing a punchy caption, you must take some time to determine your ideal outcome(s) for your next social media campaign. Whether you aim to increase conversions, double your customer engagement, or achieve other key outcomes, defining these goals up front enables you to create a campaign that aligns with your overarching objectives. At this point, you’re probably wondering, ‘“OK, so if it’s not likes, then what engagement metrics should I be monitoring?’ ” We’re glad you asked.

Engagement Metrics To Monitor

We don’t want to overwhelm you, but there are legitimately so many engagement metrics that you could be monitoring to determine the success of your social media campaign. Here’s a rapid-fire list of just a few: comments, shares/retweets, click-through rate (CTR), replies/mentions, video views, time spent on page/post, follower growth, reach and impressions, hashtag performance, and social listening metrics

While most of these are fairly straightforward to monitor (it’s easy to check and record what posts have the most comments/views/shares/etc.), some of them require a little extra explanation. For example, did you know there is a difference between reach and impressions? Reach refers to the total number of unique users who saw your content, while impressions indicate the total number of times your content was displayed.

And then there’s time spent on page/post, which (as the name suggests) measures how much time users spend engaging with your content, giving you direct insights into the level of interest and whether your content is compelling enough to hold their attention. Lastly, there are social listening metrics, which involve tracking your brand mentions, sentiment (what people are saying about your brand), and keyword usage across social media platforms. Here are five suggestions for social listening platforms: Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Brandwatch, Mention, and Awario. Using such tools to analyze these metrics regularly allows you to identify emerging trends, monitor brand reputation, and gather insights for refining future social media marketing campaigns.

Return On Investment (ROI)

Now that we’ve discussed your goals and how to identify and track engagement metrics other than just likes, there is one more metric that we have yet to mention: ROI. Monitoring ROI from social media involves tracking the financial outcomes generated by social media campaigns and activities compared to the cost of running those campaigns.

More specifically, this includes recording sales generated from social media referrals, leads captured through social media channels, or any other measurable conversions tied to your campaign goals. You can use tools like Google Analytics or your favorite social media analytics platforms to track these metrics accurately. Once you have these numbers, subtract the total costs incurred in running the campaign, —such as advertising spend, content creation costs, and agency fees, —from the total revenue generated. Then, divide this difference by the total costs and multiply by 100 to get a percentage that represents your ROI. This calculation helps you understand the profitability of your social media efforts and assess the effectiveness of your campaign in driving tangible business outcomes.

Long-Term Impact And Brand Loyalty

As we’ve shown, likes never tell the full story. They’re certainly a one-dimensional metric, but they will never replace the importance of building a strong relationship with your audience. By taking the time to review and hone your social media campaign, you’ll be able to foster long-term brand loyalty and provide opportunities for customers to become advocates, thereby extending your brand’s reach and credibility. Because there really is nothing better than a personal referral or testimonial, right?

Plus, by utilizing other engagement metrics, such as social media listening, you can further tailor your campaigns to your audience, enhancing their trust and loyalty. Once you get the hang of everything, you could even consider offering exclusive rewards to incentivize repeat purchases (think a punch card with the 10th coffee free or 10% off your next order). Either way, incorporating strategic initiatives based on what your audience wants will help you build a community of loyal advocates, emphasizing the importance of monitoring other engagement metrics over simply superficial likes.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, we know that even the best marketers are still human and that it’s nearly impossible to get away from at least looking at the number of likes a post gets occasionally. However, the takeaway is that there are many other metrics to be monitored, depending on your target audience and organizational goals. By identifying what’s important to your company, you can determine which engagement metrics make the most sense for you to track and then take those analytics and insights to further improve your social media campaigns in the future. So now, all we’re wondering is: What’s your favorite social media engagement metric to measure?

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