5 Essential Social Media Metrics to Track and How to Improve Them

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social media metrics“I like to go with my gut!” is something I’ve told myself many times in the past. “Yes, all those other people need to track their social media metrics, I don’t, I’ve got a good intuition.” That was probably one of my biggest mistakes for a long time.

Tracking things all the time and developing a data-driven mindset is one of the most important things I’ve learnt in the past 2 years. And there is still a long way to go.

Here are some of the social media metrics worth your time and what I’ve discovered by analyzing each of them for Buffer.

 

1.) Referral traffic from Social

Here is something that took me a long time to get around to do: Tracking our traffic from social properly. Google Analytics, in the last few months has added a special tab that covers just social. Here is how to get to it:

social media metrics - Google analytics

For Buffer’s blog, these were the results for the past 30 days in terms of traffic coming from social:

social media metrics - Google analytics

Google Analytics makes it very easy to dig deeper from your initial overview. Especially for sites like Reddit and Hackernews, there is a lot of granularity in there.

The 2 takeaways we learnt for the Buffer blog from this:

  • Google+ is growing strong: We hadn’t been posting consistently on Google+ at all until that point. Seeing it come up in the top 5 for social traffic changed that a lot. We started to publish more and we are getting surprisingly good engagement on Google+:

social media metrics - google plus

 

  • Pocket is getting huge. And up until now, you might have been wondering how there is any way you can capitalize on their traffic. You can now add a custom footer message that lets you give your readers a clear call to action.

 

2.) Click rate on your social shares

Click rates are something very interesting for this social media metrics analysis. In a recent article on the latest social media stats, a key study pointed out that:

“The correlation between a click and a conversion is virtually nonexistent.”

And whilst the study talked about banner ads and less about social media shares, I think it’s still important to be vary of the fact that we have to track the whole conversion funnel.

With Social shares, we’ve found that actual signups/conversions seem definitely a lot more likely after a click and make a lot more sense to be taken seriously.

The easiest way for tracking click data on social media comes with bit.ly. You can easily connect bit.ly click tracking inside Buffer or let Buffer do it automatically. For everything you share, you can now get the click data on top of other analytics:

social media metrics - click rate


3 easy ways to improve your social click rates

One of the most frequent questions we are getting at Buffer is how can people increase their click rate. From our research into millions of updates, there are 3 key elements to up your daily click rate on Tweets and FB posts:

  • Frequency: One of the key drivers for getting more clicks is to up your posting frequency on both Twitter and Facebook. We found that around 5-10 times a day on Twitter and 1-4 times a day on Facebook gives you the optimal outcome.
  • Timing: To improve your click rate more, timing is obviously very important. Here is a more in-depth guide for finding your best time to Tweet. Almost all research studies highlight the main work hours from 8am to 8pm as good timings to Tweet and post to Facebook. More on optimal timing stats here.
  • Multiple sites: Another key, that we found from our research is that posting to multiple sites, instead of just your own blog or website, is a key driver for getting click rates up. Over time, you build a much deeper trust with people showing that all you care about are good, useful links, not just your own stuff.

 

3.) “People talking about this” – your Fanpage reach

Anything I posted to our Facebook page around a few months ago would barely get any likes, comments or clicks. I was thoroughly confused. We had added close to 5,000 new likes and still no engagement.

Buffer-1

Then I took a look at the “people talking about this” metric and it was lower than 4-5%. That’s pretty bad I thought. Apparently though, only 16% of your fanbase can every reached says Facebook:

“Pages organically reach about 16% of their fans on average.”

Facebook itself also lists 3 ways that you can increase your reach organically:

  • Post videos/photos instead of links
  • Ask questions
  • Share exclusive information

Now, these 3 points aren’t really that helpful and yet they cover the basics very well. Postrocket, a FB analytics tool, recently dug into some more powerful ideas to increase your number of people talking about it:

  • Try text-only posts – they spread further than images

This is a great idea and I have definitely seen a huge spike in likes for doing so. Especially if you are posting quotes. They have had one of the farthest spread this far for us with the Buffer Facebook page.

What worked best for us?

At Buffer, we had one simple and well known idea that helped us up our reach to around 10% within a few weeks: images.

This way, we were able to routinely get 10-20 shares, dozens of comments and much more likes than before.

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 9.44.47 AM (1)

I still see a lot of pages simply auto-feeding their RSS page to Facebook and losing out on a lot of engagement.

To make posting them smarter, here is the easiest way to post images to Facebook without the download, upload hassle. (Hint: It’s hack #2)

 

4.) Your Twitter followers – the most talked about metric

This is a metric a lot of people talk about. And yet, very few people try to actively and successfully improve that metric.

It is super easy to track that metric and to see the growth happening over time to your account. The best tool I’ve found so far is TwitterCounter. It makes seeing your overall trend super easy:

social media metrics - twittercounter

Another great option to learn more about your follower growth is Followerwonk.  On top of your growth, they also show you how many followers you have lost and which days you’ve added particularly lots of new followers:

social media metrics - followerwonk

3 Best ways we’ve grown our followers

The best ways for us to pick up more followers were very simple things, that I believe anyone can easily implement.

  • Reply to every single mention of Buffer on Twitter: One of our most important aspects at Buffer is to give great customer support and replying to every Twitter mention is a key part of this. One of the best by-products of doing so is a huge growth in followers. @AskAaronLee who recently hit 400k followers has some similar advice.
  •  Guest posting: One of the best ways to grow both my personal and Buffers Twitter following was to produce lots of articles and mention your username in the bio. On top of this, most sites now include your mention if people hit the Tweet button and can suggest you to follow afterwards. Those are no-brainers that worked extremely well for us.
  • Events hack: Here is something that has worked really well for me. Instead of handing out business cards, I send a Tweet to every new person I meet at an event and even otherwise in real life. This is a great way to connect sustainably with more people and build engaged followers.

 

5.) Your social influence score – Klout, Kred and more

Another one of the most important social metrics is your social influence. The one measurement tool out there, that I’ve found to be most accurate to real social influence is Klout. The way I like to track this most easily is with the Klout Chrome extension. It adds the Klout scores of all Twitter users, including your own, right into Twitter.com and let’s you easily see at a glance who is influential:

social media metrics - klout

Especially as I search for Buffer brand mentions and see if anything needs my immediate attention, this handy little extension makes making decisions a lot easier.

In case Klout is not something you’ve found helpful, here are a few alternatives to track:

  • Kred: A great social influence tracking tool that also has interesting network functionality.
  • Tweetreach: This is a great tool for analyzing how far individual Tweets from yourself or others are reaching.
  • Peerindex: Long the main competitor for Klout, Peerindex recently switched more to rewards for your influence. Still super handy to check out.

 

Those are the 5 metrics I’ve found to help us the most at Buffer if improved. What are your insights on Social Media metrics? I’d love your thoughts on this.

 

  • http://unionmetrics.com/ Sarah

    Thanks for the TweetReach rec! We’re much obliged.

    -Sarah

    Union Metrics | Fine Makers of TweetReach & Union Metrics for Tumblr

    • LeoWid

      Hi Sarah, thanks for stopping by and glad I could give you guys a shout out, love the app! :)

  • http://onlinebz.com/ OnlinebzDOTcom

    You have mentioned so many great tools in the article. Some of them I have never tried before. Thanks for sharing. This will help me a lot for my social media performance.

  • http://twitter.com/itsmikemags Michael Maghsoudi

    Awesome post as always Leo. And thanks for the PostRocket shout out :)

    • LeoWid

      any time Michael, PostRocket, erm, rocks! :)

  • http://www.sociallysorted.com.au/ Donna Moritz

    Awesome post guys – buffered it!

    • LeoWid

      Thanks Donna, so glad you liked it! :)

  • http://www.beckycastlemiller.com/ Becky Castle Miller

    Very helpful. Thanks. I’ll be adding this to my list of resources for a social media seminar we’re developing at the European Journalism Centre.

    • LeoWid

      Hi Becky, thanks so much for stopping by and so glad you liked the article! :)

  • Jaana Nyström

    Hi Leo!

    I use Bufferapp extensively every day -love it! Also for sharing and scheduling posts *from* Google+ to other social media platforms.

    However as I’m a Google+ specialist I’d like to give a tip how you can get even more engagement there:

    Don’t dump links! Write an intro, always.

    Use formatting, headlines and hashtags.

    I’ve blogged about the topic, if you’re interested:

    http://googleplushelper.blogspot.fi/2013/02/link-dumping-is-not-recommended-on.html

    Cheers, Jaana

    • LeoWid

      thanks so much Jaana, that is super helpful, I will try and shoot for introductions a lot more. Also, have you seen a difference in posting pictures over links?

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Hey Leo, really enjoyed reading this. I use the social metrics and have conversion goals set up in google analytics for e-mail subscribers. So then not only do you see the traffic generated but you see the conversion as a result of the traffic. I’ve noticed that I get a much higher conversion rate from LinkedIn traffic rather than Twitter traffic so I’m investing more time on LinkedIn now.
    Ian

  • http://twitter.com/NeerajT4 Neeraj Thakur

    Great insights Leo! Replying to our Brand’s mentions is so important and is a low hanging fruit when it comes to accumulating followers !
    Cheers! :)

  • http://www.hijos-del-atomo.com/ Christian Orellana

    This are actionable tips, easy to follow. Now, to implement them and track the results! Thank you very much!

  • http://www.myjobsit.com/ Mike Kawula

    Awesome Post! I’ll have to try video post more in Facebook. Haven’t done that often enough to see a trend.

  • http://www.scienceofpeople.org/ Vanessa Van Edwards

    HI Leo,

    I love your Events Hack tip. I always collect business cards and typically I will send a relevant article to them after the event. For example, if I met them at a programming meet-up Ill email them something like “So great to meet you at the programming event, thought you might like this article on 12 trends for hackers.”

    But your idea is way better! To tweet them an article instead is much more powerful because then they could potentially retweet!

    Thanks for the idea!

  • Michael Gocia

    These are really useful tips and very easy to follow , some of those which you mentioned i have never tried before , so i would like to implement them now and observe the results.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alex.wivell Alex Wivell

    Fantastic tips, great article. I’m going to try Bufferapp now.

  • http://www.empoweringthe80percent.com/ Ellory Wells

    Great share! It’s no wonder that Buffer is growing so fast. Now to forward this to myself to read on my pc; I’ve got some work to do!

  • http://kanguro.fi/ Kostas Papageorgiou

    Great post! The Twitter events tip is really helpful. If you want to take it up a notch, carry an extra smartphone charger (microUSB and iPhone 4&5) and borrow it to folks who need to recharge. It’s great for connecting with new people at day-long events, and building long-term relationships.

  • Buy Followers

    Your blog is really informative.

    http://buyfollowers.net

  • http://imeraapp.com/ imera

    Thanks Leo. So much good info, do you find it time-consuming using all of these various apps? Also how do you personally approach people about guest posting?

  • http://www.daxserver.com/ Srihari Thalla

    You might also have provided link to Klout addon for Firefox ;)
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/klout/

  • http://www.mytakeradio.com Rich

    Ever since I have added Buffer blog to my RSS subscriptions I continue to learn new things. I also love using the service. Debating replacing the auto post from Yoast with the buffer plugin

  • http://catwebdesign.co.uk/ Cat Web design

    Gradually Gogole+ is doing better for social connectivity. Twitter and Facbook is always good. Thank you @LeoWid:disqus such a wonderful article.

  • Kyle Wenger

    Leo, great article! I learned a lot of new things and I can’t wait to implement these new tools! Keep posting good stuff like this!

    - Kyle

  • Tyler Butler

    Hi Leo, great post! How does the Klout score influence your tactics? Do you use the Klout plugin to target discussion with users who can help your posts reach a wider audience?

  • D.shades sun

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