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

“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:

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

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:



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:

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:


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.

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:

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:

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.

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:

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:

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.


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:

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:


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.