Key performance indicators (KPIs) can help guide an organization through thick and thin. For startups, this guidance is critical. So is pushing your brand through social media. Today’s world is largely driven by platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Look at the rise of TikTok and the wealth and popularity it has brought some of its creators in a matter of months.
Startups need to focus on creating good social media content that people can connect with. However, determining if that content is working can be difficult. That’s where KPIs come in.
Certain metrics reveal a lot about a startup’s success in the social media world and whether or not its current strategies are effective. Focusing on these key areas can help startups thrive in today’s digitally driven world.
Engagement Over Everything
Anyone who has some degree of experience with social media knows that engagement is the most important metric to target. The reason why is simple—engagement sparks improvement in all other areas. Without an engaged audience, your social channels will struggle to grow, increase their reach, and, ultimately, convert followers into paying customers.
To have success on social media, startups need to produce content that keeps their audience engaged. The official Disney+ Twitter account does a great job of this. Look at one of its recent tweets, for example.
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) September 1, 2020
By asking users to share emojis in a reply, Disney encourages them to engage with the tweet in a way that they might not otherwise. When users reply, the original tweet then has a chance to appear in the feeds of their followers, starting a chain reaction. Disney+ has been using this approach successfully since its debut and has grown a subscriber base of 50 million people in under a year. Although Disney is a massive company with generations of fans, these principles are true for companies of any size.
Of course, this is only one example. Posting polls, giveaways, and exciting, eye-catching content are all viable strategies.
Engagement KPIs to Look For
It’s clear that engagement is essential for success on social media. But how can you track engagement with your brand over time without simply looking at likes and replies?
Although those metrics are valuable KPIs in their own right, most people already know that a post with more likes is performing better than one with fewer likes. For startups, there are some unique KPIs to target that show signs of user engagement.
The first is active followers. An active follower is a user that has logged in to their account and interacted with your content within the last 30 days. Unfortunately, many brand accounts only get engagement from a user once or twice. While that’s better than nothing, it doesn’t help with success in the long run. The more active followers the better as they are more likely to convert to customers or subscribers.
Another KPI to focus on is brand mentions. It’s one thing to have users like your post. It’s another thing entirely to have them give you free publicity on social media. Essentially, that’s what a brand mention is. When users talk about your brand (hopefully in a positive way) it can greatly increase your reach. Tracking this KPI is important because it shows that your startup’s brand is maintaining top-of-mind awareness among your followers.
Finally, startups should keep an eye on their share counts. These days, users are hitting the like button almost automatically. That makes it less valuable than it used to be. By contrast, hitting share is a conscious decision that equates to a personal recommendation or stamp of approval. The shared post will appear in that user’s network, helping expand your reach to new audiences. Shares are a great indicator of what users perceive as high-quality content.
Backed by Reach
Expanding your reach on social media can be incredibly frustrating. Today’s social channels are so crowded that it is hard for new brands to get off the ground. That being said, it’s also vital if you want your startup to get noticed.
The most obvious KPI related to reach is the number of followers or fans your brand has. Without any engagement, this is the number of people that could see your post. Now, that doesn’t mean that 100 percent of followers will see every post. Sometimes, your content will get buried in their feed and disappears with one tap of the refresh button. Nonetheless, your brand’s follower count is a good way to measure your baseline reach over time.
Another reach-focused KPI to monitor is traffic data. This is a big deal. Ultimately, social media is a way to get people engaged with your main content—whether that is a website, an app, or a physical product.
Converting social media views into website traffic is an excellent way to determine if your approach is working. It’s also easy to track. There are plenty of tools to help you break down the percentage of your traffic that comes from social media.
Converting Your Efforts
Although web traffic is important, converting that traffic into money is even more crucial. No startup is using social media for the fun of it. In fact, trying to harness the power of social media to build a brand isn’t fun. That’s why it’s necessary to ensure your efforts are fruitful.
To do so, the KPI to target is lead generation. A lead can be anything—an email address, a customer who fills out a contact form, a business contact. The nature of leads that a startup should target depends on what industry it is in. However, all startups should be using social media to generate leads of some sort.
Measuring lead generation numbers can reveal a lot about the success of your social media strategy. For instance, if your Instagram account converts a small number of leads while your Twitter account converts a larger number, it makes sense to focus your efforts on Twitter.
The same can be said about customer acquisition—another KPI worth targeting. To be fair, it’s very difficult to measure how many customers come directly from social media. However, the number is often closely related to leads as the two typically trend in the same direction.
Tracking metrics like leads and conversions isn’t fun. It isn’t exciting like analyzing reach and engagement. Without it, though, startups can’t measure their ROI from social media. Keeping an eye on these KPIs will help your brand improve its digital strategy and use it as a catalyst for growth.