There are hundreds of social media and web metrics that you could look at everyday if there was enough time and context to understand each of them.  But without overwhelming you with data and drowning out what is important, there are a few key metrics that you should be monitoring at all times.  Today we’ll cover the 5 metrics social media metrics that you should be aware of and monitoring for a pulse on your social business.

Let’s jump in, and happy monitoring!

Pinterest-Quote-Engagement1. Engagement – Engagement is one of the most critical areas of social to measure.  Are conversations happening with your brand when you release content?  Are fans liking or commenting on your Facebook page?  Are users pinning images, or retweeting tweets?  There are a slew of different ways to look at engagement depending on the social outposts your are participating on, but the key is that people see your message and interact with your brand.

If you notice a particular set of messages is not working, dont give up but try changing the messaging and measure the type of response that you achieve.  Look at what and how your competitors are doing across their social outposts, are they achieving a level of engagement?  If so what are they posting that’s different?  Evaluate their outreach and share information that makes your brand unique, that will likely bring the most engagement of all.

Tip: Make it fun to interact with your brand.  You dont have to post your latest press release on Facebook all the time, try some humor (if your audience will react well to it) and different variations of content to get fans involved.

2. Reach – What size is the audience seeing your content over all of the social networks that you participate in?  Is this audience growing or shrinking and at what rate?  These are key questions to consider when looking at your total social reach think of it as  the number of potential people that have potential to see your content.

Facebook-insights

Reach by itself does not tell the whole story but should be used in conjunction with other metrics to calculate the specific metrics that you are looking for.  For example, if we wanted to find out the percentage of people that were engaged with your page this week and tallied up all our ‘likes’ (let’s assume 609,750), then we would use the following formula:

Weekly Total Engagement Rate =  609,750/ 12,449,380 or 4.898%.

The point is that you can use total reach for a number of different metrics that are important to you and your business and simply calculate them by switching out the formula.  Try it out on your own metrics.

3. Referral Traffic - Getting fans to interact with your brand at various social outposts is great, but the real goal should ideally be to drive more sustainable and repeat traffic to your website.  To determine if you are accomplishing this look in your web analytics tool at referral traffic to see specifically where traffic is coming from.  For Google Analytics users, go to Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals.

Once in this dashboard take a look at your top performing referral source, and the respective time on site and bounce rate for each.  If one particular source is producing a number of visitors but they are only staying on your page for minimal time and driving your bounce rate up – then it is likely not the right source for that particular piece of content.

Diving one level deeper, you can click on any content referrer to see which specific content is driving traffic or switch the primary dimension to landing page and then viewing the referring source that is driving traffic to that content.  This is important as if you have different series of blog posts and your first series is generating great traffic through Facebook, and your second through Pinterest than you now know where to target these different segments of posts for sharing.  On the whole that is simplifying the concept a lot but you should understand that if sharing content on a network is driving down your time on site, and your bounce rate up then it’s worth re-evaluating that as a real traffic source.

4. Share of Voice -  Share of Voice (SOV) is basically a measure of how much you’re mentioned or covered in comparison with your competitors.  If your competitors are being mentioned far more often share of voice is an easy measure of showing you this.  Ensure that you are participating in all of the relevant conversations for your brand regardless of where they occur, but most importantly wherever your key customers are.  There is a free tool to help determine your SOV Socialmention or if you have a budget it’s worth looking into a tool like Radian6 (now part of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud).

5. Influence - There are a number of different influence startups emerging like Klout, PeerIndex, and Kred.  Influence is an important metric to monitor because even if the people talking about your brand have large followings, whether they can influence others to take action is critical.  It’s also a great quick snapshot at how your brand is participating in social media against some competitors.

Mashable Klout Influence Score