Four Steps to Measure Social Media

Written by Jean Fourie on March 29, 2018

If you’re using social media, you should be measuring it. Analyzing the raw data helps you determine which tactics are working and which are not. Here are my four steps to better measure your social media accounts:

  1. Determine your goals
  2. Create metrics to measure these goals
  3. Measure
  4. Report and adjust as needed

Determine Goals

Before you jump into measuring every single social media account, post or picture, first think about what goals you would like to achieve with your social media accounts. What are you trying to gain? And which platforms are most relevant to these goals? Generate a list of what you’re trying to achieve.

It can be items like sharing information, to answering customer questions or engaging within an online community. What are you trying to accomplish? What do you want your audience to do with your content on these channels.

Are you trying to get them to read, share, reply, click, purchase, or engage? List out all your business goals for social media.

Create Metrics to Measure these Goals

Now it’s time to match your goals to actual metrics and behaviours you can measure. Here are a few suggestions of behaviours to measure, based on a few common social media goals…

  • If you want to measure awareness, then use metrics like volume, reach and exposure. How far is your message spreading?
  • If you want to measure engagement, then look for metrics around retweets, comments, replies, and participants. How many people are participating, how often are they participating, and in what forms are they participating?
  • If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, then track URL shares, clicks and conversions. Are people moving through social media to your external site and what do they do once they’re on your site?


After you’ve listed the metrics you want to focus on, now you need to find tools that actually capture these metrics, and then start measuring. In some cases, social media channels themselves provide some form of analytics, in some cases you will need to use third party tools.

Many social analytics tools work in real-time, so if you can plan ahead and set up tracking before your campaign begins, it will be much easier to access the data you need later. The measurement part of this may take some time, so let the tools do their work.

Report and Adjust When Needed

Now it is time to report your results. There are two important questions when reporting that you need to understand:

  • How do your numbers compare to what you expected?
  • How do they compare to your competitors’ or related products and campaigns? What is the industry standard?
  • This is a also a good time to consider your schedule for regular reporting. No matter if its weekly, monthly or quarterly reporting, make sure you’re checking in regularly on your metrics. The final step is to carefully review your measurement program. How are these metrics doing? Are you missing anything? Figure out what you can improve, make changes, and then measure some more.

    If you’re participating in social media, you really need to understand how you’re doing. Is your content having the impact you want? Are you meeting your company’s goals with social media? This is why monitoring and measuring your social media activities is so important.