Jenny, the creative spirit behind an artisanal candle brand, didn't just make candles – she crafted tiny universes made of wax. Each candle was infused with its own unique story. From intricate mandala designs to candles shaped like stars, each creation was truly bespoke. She religiously showcased her artistry on Instagram, with every photograph meticulously staged so as to silhouette the candle against a pastel-colored velvet backdrop.
But there was a problem. Although Jenny’s social posts checked all the boxes, her follower count remained stagnant. It didn’t matter when she made a post or how many hashtags she used; her posts saw only modest engagement at best. That’s when she realized that she needed to change her approach and instead focus on the parameters that drive engagement — social media KPIs.
And for Jenny, these social media KPIs were a tangible reflection of her Instagram efforts: follower count, likes, comments, shares and even the saves her posts were fetching.
Jenny started implementing the changes based on the insights gleaned from these social media KPIs. And within no time, her follower count doubled and engagement rates soared with many of her posts getting saved and shared frequently now. Long story short, Jenny’s posts continue to rake in the views and she’s on her way to becoming a notable social media influencer now.
So, what exact are social media KPIs? And how do they impact your social media and digital endeavors? Let’s unpack this over the course of this blog.
What are social media KPIs?
A social media KPI (or key performance indicator) is a yardstick to measure the success of your social media strategy. Say you're in charge of a healthcare brand’s social media and you're using X, formerly Twitter as your primary channel to drive traffic.
Let’s say your goal is to increase the engagement of your Tweets by 50% over the next quarter. That's your social media KPI now. It's specific — you're not just shooting in the dark and hoping for improved engagement, your target is fixed — a solid 50% engagement boost. And how do you know you’ve achieved your goal? You measure your progress by tracking likes, shares, and comments on your X, formerly Twitter page.
But the key to choosing your social media KPIs is aligning them closely with your specific social media goals. This way, you'll ensure your efforts are focused and purposeful, thereby achieving your desired outcomes quickly. So, how could you identify your brand's ideal social media KPIs? Keep reading to find out how.
Social media KPIs vs. metrics: What’s the difference?
Let’s understand the difference between social media KPIs and metrics. A lot of confusion between social media metrics and KPIs arises due to the fact that these are both quantifiable measures used in social media strategy and performance analysis. Although they are interconnected, they are slightly different. Social media KPIs are a subset of metrics directly related to your business goals. Not all metrics are KPIs, but all KPIs are metrics. Here are some common differences between social media metrics and KPIs.
Social media metrics
Social media KPIs
Likes, shares, comments, follower count
Conversion rate, lead generation, customer acquisition
What they represent
The raw numbers reflecting engagement on social media
The raw numbers reflecting engagement on social media
To track user behavior and gauge overall engagement
To track user behavior and gauge overall engagement
Broad; encompasses all user engagement and interactions
Narrow; focuses only on what's vital to the business
5 best social media KPIs to align with your business goals
There's a wide variety of social media marketing KPIs, and they can be tailored to your specific brand. But we’ve chosen these five because they’re a reliable way of identifying how well your posts resonate with your audience. Because at the end of the day, social media success depends largely on creating and sharing valuable content with your online customer community.
Reach KPIs measure the total number of people who come across your social media profiles, but may not always interact with your posts directly. You could think of reach KPI as numeric insights. These KPIs show you both your current audience size and predict your follower growth over a period of time by comparing factors such as brand awareness and engagement. Here are some of the important Reach KPIs.
Follower growth rate: If building your audience is your goal, then tracking the rate at which your follower count is growing would be your social media KPI. Follower growth rate is a term commonly used in social media marketing that refers to the increase in the number of followers your social media account has earned over a specific period. Essentially, it measures how your social media universe is expanding.
Engagement rate: Remember the last time you posted a funny meme on X, formerly Twitter and it got a ton of RTs, comments and shares? That's engagement for you! And engagement rate measures the level of interaction or engagement your post receives from your online audience. It is usually calculated as a percentage.
Suppose you've posted a picture of a cheese velvet cupcake on your bakery's Facebook page. This post fetches you around 100 likes, 10 shares and 5 comments. That gives you a total of 115 interactions.
If your FB page has 1,000 followers, the engagement rate would be calculated as below:
(115 interactions / 1000 followers) x 100 = 11.5%
So, in this case, your engagement rate is 11.5%.
Conversion KPIs measure how often people transition from casually browsing social media posts to actually visiting your website, signing up for your mailing list or purchasing something from your brand online. Conversion numbers or data convey how successful your efforts have been in getting people to do what you intend them to do. Here are some key conversion KPIs.
Click-through rate (CTR): Imagine you're tweeting about your latest blog, which discusses finance tips. Now, every time someone clicks on the link present in your tweet and visits your blog, that becomes a click-through. And the rate at which this happens compared to how many people saw your tweet is how you arrive at your CTR. Essentially, the more people who come to your blog from X, formerly Twitter, the better your CTR!
Conversion rate: Now this one's all about action from your prospects. Let’s say you've set up a quaint little boutique and showcase your designs online and on social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. Every time a new visitor from your Instagram page buys something from your online store, that's counted as a conversion. All in all, conversion rate shows you how effectively your post or content is driving people online to take specific action like buying your product or subscribing to your newsletter. Let’s break that down for you.
Say you have an online handicraft store and you've just launched a new ad campaign for jute bags. Over the course of two months, your ad gets clicked on 1,000 times and 50 of those clicks result in purchases.
Your conversion rate for that ad campaign would be calculated as follows:
(50 conversions / 1000 clicks) x 100 = 5%
So your conversion rate would be 5% - which means, out of every 100 people who clicked on your ad, 5 people made a buying decision
Social media engagement KPIs
These KPIs measure the quality of interactions your followers have with your posts or your social media account. They show you whether your audience is happy or unhappy with your brand online by measuring the tone of the comments and tweets.
Think of brand sentiment as an indicator of people’s perception about your brand. It’s like a mixed bag of reactions and comments on your social media platforms — the good, the not-so-good and everything in between. For example, let’s say you have a pizza joint and there's a steady buzz on social media about how delicious your pepperoni pizza is. That's called positive brand sentiment.
On the flip side, there’s also negative brand sentiment. Coming back to our pizza example, if your social media is flooded with complaints and rants from customers, for reasons ranging from “the pizza was cold” to “my pizza wasn’t cheesy enough,” then that contributes to negative brand sentiment. Keeping track of both positive and negative comments as well brand mentions gives you an opportunity to turn things around.
Now, how do you choose the right social media KPIs for your brand and then go about measuring them? What are some simple ways to do those things effectively? Read all about it in the next section.
How to select effective KPIs for social media success?
First, ensure that your social media KPIs correspond with your company's overall business objectives when selecting them. Remember, setting KPIs isn't a one-off task. They need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART), yet flexible. Tailoring these KPIs for every social media campaign and platform is important. This will enable your social media analyst to fetch in-depth and data-informed reports for all your social media marketing efforts. Additionally, as your business objectives evolve and change, your social media KPIs should evolve and adapt to those changes. Here are three key steps to select effective KPIs for your social media success.
a) State the purpose and goal of your KPI
Clearly lay out how monitoring this KPI will assist your brand in achieving a particular business objective. Consider insights and not just numbers. How will the metrics you're considering contribute to the business and liaise with the larger crafted marketing plan?
b) Name your selected KPI
With a clear picture of how your KPI lines up with your business goals, pick a powerful metric to monitor your progress. Say, this quarter your business is all about scaling up and making conversions through social media, then click-through rate (CTR) could be the KPI for you.
c) Share and broadcast your KPI
Once you have selected and named your KPI, share it with your entire team and all other stakeholders involved in your social media efforts. This ensures everyone's on the same page about what you are tracking and the reasons behind selecting the KPIs.
How to measure social media KPIs and metrics
Let's understand how you can measure these social media KPIs and metrics with precision and ease.
Follower growth refers to the increase in new followers over a specific time period. To measure this, you need to do the following:
First, note down your initial follower count
Set a specific time frame (weekly, monthly, quarterly) to measure your follower count
At the end of that time frame, keep a record of your new follower count
Subtract the two values to reveal the exact growth
Monitoring this over time will show you how quickly your audience is growing. Besides, you can get automatic insights on audience profiles and engagement metrics — including follower count from different social media channels using a tool like Sprinklr’s AI-powered Audience Insights.
To monitor engagement rate, you can either look at an individual social media post or get an overview within a specific time period. For tracking engagement rate on a per post basis, you’ll have to:
Identify the total engagement from likes, comments, shares, saves, etc., on a particular post from the selected social media channel
Now, divide this number by the total number of followers (in some cases, impressions or reach), then multiply by 100
Sprinklr measures this metric automatically within the Ads Reporting feature
Conversion rate can vary based on your goals (sign-ups, purchases, downloads, etc.). Here's a simple way to measure it:
First set up a conversion tracking or landing page. This usually involves embedding a tracking code on the "Thank You" or confirmation page after the user fills out the contact form on the landing page.
Identify the total number of conversions during that specific period.
Then, divide this by the total number of clicks leading to the conversion page, then multiply by 100.
Sprinklr’s Unified Marketing Analytics platform let’s you do all of these tasks without any hassle.
Unlike other social media KPIs and metrics, brand sentiment is qualitative, which means it involves monitoring and analyzing the emotional tone of social mentions and comments about your brand.
Here’s an effective way to calculate brand sentiment percentage:
Start by collecting data from your social media platforms. This includes comments on your posts, mentions and direct messages. You can manually check your notifications or use Sprinklr’s Social Listening capability to collate data efficiently.
This step is called as sentiment analysis. You have to bucket each comment or mention as either positive, negative or neutral. You're essentially determining if the comment gives out a positive, negative; or neutral sentiment toward your brand.
Positive: Praises, compliments, positive experiences, etc.
Negative: Complaints, criticisms, negative experiences, etc.
Neutral: Factual statements, questions, etc.
Calculate brand sentiment percentage
Finalize brand sentiment percentage by dividing positive (or negative) comments by total comments (positive, negative and neutral), then multiplying by 100 to arrive at an accurate percentage value.
Here's the formula for positive and negative sentiment percentages:
Positive Sentiment Percentage = (Number of Positive Comments / Total Number of Comments) x 100
Negative Sentiment Percentage = (Number of Negative Comments / Total Number of Comments) x 100
Following this process will give you a clear idea of public sentiment toward your brand on social media. A higher positive sentiment percentage usually bodes well for your brand, while any increase in negative sentiment might signal potential problems that should be addressed immediately.
Now, that you have stepped into the intricate world of social media management, let’s pay close attention to some common pitfalls to avoid while determining social media KPIs.
Common mistakes to avoid while determining social media KPIs
Here are some common missteps to stay away from while determining your social media KPIs.
Mistake #1: Chasing only vanity metrics
Let’s assume you have one million followers on Instagram. Although that’s an incredible number, without engagement or customer conversions, this number might not carry much impact. Vanity metrics like follower count might feel rewarding, but they may not contribute anything tangible toward your bottom line. Giving too much importance to these metrics and letting them dictate your social media strategy can prove costly in the long run.
Instead, prioritizing actionable metrics — numbers that provide insights for informed decision-making — will greatly benefit you. These are the metrics that help you understand your audience better, like engagement rate that shows how many people interact and engage with your content, click-through rate which indicates who's clicking your post links and conversion rate that measures who's taking meaningful actions like purchasing your product after reading your posts.
Mistake #2: Neglecting context
Numbers on their own are just... well, mere numbers and nothing more. They convey a story only when put into context. For instance, let's say you're measuring your social media engagement rate, which stands at 4%. Without context, you might not know how to decipher it or what action to take. By not considering the context behind the numbers, you could misinterpret your data, which might again lead to incorrect conclusions and poor actions.
Mistake #3: Lack of clear goals
Without actionable goals and targets in place, selecting appropriate KPIs to track, measure your social media progress accurately becomes challenging. Worse, trying to interpret KPI data without a clear strategy could result in misplaced priorities and resources. For example, tracking engagement rates diligently may seem like the right move, but if your true aim is driving traffic to your website, your focus could be misdirected. Without clear-cut goals in place, your time and resources may be spent pursuing activities that don't translate to social media success.
Navigating the world of social media is never a small feat, and like Jenny, you have to face your challenges head-on and emerge stronger. Be sure to avoid the common mistakes and let your carefully curated KPIs guide you to stronger engagement with your audience, turning your social media efforts into an enviable success story. Onward and upward!