Socially Stephanie social media analytics and reportingDear Socially Stephanie,

I am a community manager for a music technology company that has a huge social fan base, and I am struggling to find effective ways to measure our growth and effectiveness.

My supervisor and upper management depend on me to stay up-to-date with trends and analytics and to provide updates on our progress in a monthly report. I have stood firm in my belief that engagement/engagement rates were the most important metric to track. Now, I am having doubts that this is still true and relevant.

Is brand engagement still the best metric to use for social media reporting? 

Community Manager in Minnesota 

social media metrics

Dear Community Manager in Minnesota, 

High five! We Community Managers need to stick together. I'm glad you wrote me: this is a topic that needs a bit of clarification, explanation, and persuasion. The major problem with reporting engagement—and engagement only—is that when you rely on just one metric, a small dip in that particular metric can make you look bad. So, while engagement remains highly relevant and important, social media has evolved and, with that, so have our metrics for reporting.  

When it comes to reporting, I like to use what I call the CLEAT reporting system. (Yes, I made that up.) Cleats in sports are used to prevent slips, falls and other disasters. The same is true in social media. In this case, CLEAT prevents you from a major disaster—losing your job or a client. 

So, player, tie up your cleats and let's hit a homerun. 

social media metrics and reportingCLEAT gets its name from the 5 metrics you should be reporting monthly to show your social media efforts are effective. Okay, now bear with me as I go a little Cookie Monster on you.

The C is for Conversion. Conversions are the most important metric. Each business's definition of conversion will vary based on their overall goals, but for the most part, it's all about converting visitors to buyers or users. Whether you're using a tool like Infusionsoft or Google analytics, you need to be able to track your conversions and see how visitors come to find you.

Now we've got L on the table—L is for Leads. Leads turn into conversions if they're nurtured correctly. So leads are a very good metric for defining the possibility of future conversion. You should be able to project the amount of conversions you will get by the amount of leads you receive. If you aren't tracking leads, now is a good time to start. 

Next up is Engagement, the fun part. Engagement is still a great measure of success because it shows active participation. As many of your social media followers might already be users or customers, this is a metric that community managers live for. I like SproutSocial for measuring engagement. And of course you can also do it manually through Facebook Insights and TwitterCounter. If our engagement is up, we're doing a good job communicating with our community. Remember, where there is community, there are conversations. Where there are conversations, there is engagement.

Affect, or sentiment, is harder to measure. For this one you'll need a really good tool or you'll need to monitor it manually. This is where social listening comes into play. You can use a more basic tool like Hootsuite, or you can get uber fancy and use Radian6, which has a lot of added features and benefits. What are your customers or users saying about you? Are they happy with your product, or pissed? The nice thing here is that you can actually change someone's feelings about you just by listening and responding. 

Lastly, you need to be reporting Traffic. How much of your traffic is coming from social media? Of course, the more traffic you bring in, the more leads you'll get. The more leads you get, the more overall conversions you'll see.  

Well, there you have it. A system sure to make you and your bosses smile. 


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Illustration by Jesse Wells

(cleats / shutterstock)