This post was written by seasoned social media manager Kyle Del Bonis to kick off the Argyle Best Practices Series. Get more social insights by following Kyle on twitter @KyleDelBonis and Facebook at /kdelbonis.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure” — Peter Drucker
If you’re only measuring the rise and fall of Followers and Likes, you’re doing social wrong. If you don’t have the time or energy to measure anything else, then you shouldn’t be in social at all – go spend that bandwidth on Tumblr with the other kids.
If, however, you have the good sense to want to know how to do your job and manage your social brand (the right way) then this post is for you.
While you can’t stop at measuring audience size, you can start there (aka: Twitter Followers and Facebook Likes). This metric is completely useless in isolation: you don’t know if those fans are active or passive, engaged or disinterested. It’s just a useless number – that is, until you slap some context on it.
Interaction Rate = Interactions / Followers
Imagine you have 10,000 followers and have received 1,000 interactions in the past month. That means your Interaction Rate is 10% (1,000 / 10,000)
In the example, about 10% of your audience is engaging in some type of meaningful conversation with you, and not just scrolling past every update you make.
Bear in mind that it is very likely that some audience members are more engaged than others and are skewing this figure but, in the long run, that isn’t much of a concern.
In fact, identifying these power fans and turning them into brand ambassadors is a very effective technique, and something I’ll cover in a future post.
Click Rate = Clicks / Followers
Imagine you got 2,000 clicks from your 10,000 followers, then your Click Rate would be 20% (2,000 / 10,000 = 20%)
A click rate of 20% means that approximately 20% of your audience clicks the links to the content you’re posting.
If your click rate is higher than your conversation rate (as in this example), this means that many of your followers are reading your content but never directly interacting with you. This may be good or bad, depending on your social media marketing goals.
Also, be aware that this figures significance is dependent on how many of your posts contain links. The more linked posts, the more telling this metric is.
As a marketer, you need to be surfacing data that leads to improved campaigns and increased ROI.
That means it’s your job to not only measure, but to improve your marketing impact, and this can be done through content analysis – because it doesn’t matter if you understand how your audience is behaving if you don’t know why.
Interactions per Post = Interactions / Post
For example, if you have 250 posts and 500 interactions, you would average out to 2 interactions per post (500 / 250 = 2).
As long as Post Volume is controlled, the fluctuations here will indicate how effective your content is at engaging your audience.
If this number seems low, identify a handful of individual posts that have done well and emulate them (or even repost them if it’s been a while since they were first published)
Clicks per Post = Clicks / Post
If you have 1000 clicks and 250 posts, you would average 4 clicks per post (1000 / 250 = 4).
Keep in mind that fluctuations in this metric should correlate directly with those in Clicks / follower.
You must also remember that this numbers significance, like Clicks / Follower, is dependent on the number of posts published with links.
The golden rule of Content Analysis is recognizing Post Volume as a variable you can control. And you should—otherwise, tracking these metrics week-over-week means nothing at all.
These 4 metrics are highly intertwined, and can be interpreted in a combination of ways.
For example, if Total Audience has remained steady over a few weeks, but Interactions / Follower has increased, it probably means your Followers have become more engaged.
You can investigate further by looking at Interactions / Post: has the Post Volume stayed constant? If so, then you know that your content is doing better – so take a dive down to the post level and find out what made the difference between the two weeks.
You can also bring together two or more of the metrics together to see something entirely different, such as the relation of clicks and interactions to Post Volume. Which brings me to my final points …
In order to make the most use of these metrics, you have to control as many variables as possible. You can’t directly control Followers, Interactions, or Clicks – but those are all very strongly tied to what you can control: Post Volume, Post Frequency, and Content Type.
Getting a handle on these requires the creation of what I like to call a Content Schedule, but that’s another post entirely.