Of all the content you react to on social media, how much do you actually read? How many Facebook posts do you like just because the image caught your eye? How many times do you retweet something because you liked the original tweet, without actually following the link to the article being shared? In short, of all the posts you ‘engage’ with on social media, how many do you really ‘consume’?
Of course, you’re allowed to say you read all the content you engage with. But consider this: your audience probably doesn’t. That’s not to say likes, favorites and retweets are of little value- far from it. But when tracking performance on social media, you must measure the traffic your content receives as well as users’ engagement with posts.
Different Departments Require Different Data
Different departments require different data when it comes to social media performance. For instance, likes, retweets and comments are incredibly important for community managers, whose job it is to monitor day-to-day interaction with fan communities on social networks.
However, such metrics are of little use to sales teams. They’re not interested in follower numbers, retweets and impressions. What they want to know is how social media activity is driving traffic to company websites and, most importantly, bringing in new prospects. So tracking the reach and visibility of social media posts is all well and good, but for sales teams the usefulness of such data is limited unless it is linked with other metrics such as new website users and potential leads.
As for marketers, they need to know whether the content itself is engaging audiences. This brings us back to tracking consumption as well as engagement. Lots of people may be seeing your posts, but how many are actually reading your content on a regular basis? Ideally, your audience should engage with posts because they are pertinent and be motivated to consume the content being shared.
And the Winner Is…
The point here is not to discount likes, retweets and favorites as valuable performance indicators, but rather to emphasize the fact that they cannot be the only metrics you use. Evaluating social media performance isn’t just about follower numbers; as well as measuring the success of social media activity, you need to track the effectiveness of the content you are promoting.
Social media acts as a catalyst for all online publications. That’s why tagging and tracking content (through methods such as shortened links) is so important; it enables you to measure the success of blogs, white papers, infographics and product pages, as well as the posts through which they are shared. This in turn allows you to pinpoint the correlation between user engagement on social networks and content consumption on brand websites.