Social media for brand reach : NOT all metrics matter.


When used in the right way, analytics tools should be able to give you valuable insights into the progress of your social media strategy. Keeping an eye on the metrics is essential for tracking the progress of your campaign.

But metrics are not infallible - it’s what you focus on and how you interpret it that counts. Just because some or all of the analytics graphs appear to be heading in the right direction, this doesn’t automatically mean that you are on course to meet your goals. If your particular objective involves boosting brand reach, here is a summary of what really matters when it comes to metrics tracking…

First things first: appreciating the difference between Reach and Engagement

Whether your platform of choice is Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (or a combination of all three), the metrics at your disposal will boil down to two main concepts: Reach and Engagement. In simple terms, reach measures how many people have seen your content. Engagement goes a step further, giving you data on interactions beyond simply pageviews; broadly, engagement metrics tell you if people are clicking, liking, recommending and commenting on your published content.

So is one category of metrics intrinsically ‘better’ than another? The answer is no. Only when you’ve defined what you want to achieve can you determine which metrics really count.

Understand when ‘views’ are more of a priority than ‘click-throughs’

Engagement metrics can certainly help to give you a picture of consumer response and amplification of your brand. It tells you whether your campaign is managing to make at least some form of ‘connection with your target group. This sort of knowledge is especially valuable if you are trying to build a deeper relationship with customers, measure purchasing intent and build brand loyalty.

But if your primary goal involves growing your audience base, engagement metrics shouldn’t be the primary focus. Let’s say, for instance, that your aim is to increase awareness of your software offering among business users. The fact that a relatively high proportion of viewers are liking or sharing your brand-related content tells you little about whether you are on track to achieve your aim. You could, in effect, be merely preaching to the converted - and not focusing on spreading the word.

Are you increasing brand reach? The metrics that really matter

On LinkedIn, the number of connections is a much more reliable indicator of increased awareness and visibility of your brand than the number of comments and likes. Likewise, on Facebook and Twitter, the number of followers is a far more reliable indicator of reach than shares and likes.

One of the most effective tactics involves looking at where people are already talking about your brand across social media. With a social listening tool such as Brandwatch, it becomes possible to pick up on organic conversations about your brand. Here, you should be focusing on two significant metrics:

  • Volume of mentions is a straightforward tally of the number of times your brand has been mentioned across conversations
  • Reach is the potential number of people those social mentions are seen by - taking into account the number of followers of each individual who mentions you.

Of course, once your brand reach metrics are heading in the right direction, it doesn’t automatically mean that your work is done. While social listening tools can give you accurate insight into the level of awareness, the next objective is usually to get a compelling message across to those individuals. Is your strategy geared up for this? Speak to us today to find out.

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Matt Hodkinson

About the author: Matt Hodkinson

Chief Exec Agent, veteran inbound and social marketer, and the prior 17+ years spent in the Tech industry. Annoying colleagues with classic house music and 80's movie quotes. Family and friends delight in exclaiming... "Haven't seen you on TV for a while, Matt"!