It is important to be able to set goals and measure success against those goals for social media. This will inform overall communications strategy and help you assess whether certain platforms work better for your intended audiences than others.

Learning tools

Many social media companies have blogs with how-tos. To educate yourself on how and what to measure, look to the experts. Here are some suggestions on where to start:

Definitions

Dashboard

A place to consolidate and quickly analyze data; spreadsheets are commonly used, and there are a variety of browser-based and downloadable software options, typically for a fee.

Engagement

A metric used to describe the amount of interaction — likes, shares, comments — a piece of content receives.

Engagement Rate

A metric used to describe the amount of engagement as compared to the number of users who saw the content.

Follower

Refers to a person who subscribes to your account in order to receive your updates.

Impressions

A metric used to show the number of times content associated with your page is displayed.

Reach

A metric used to show the number of people who saw your content. Includes people who have chosen to follow your account and those who have not.

Measurement steps

Baseline data for existing accounts

If you are setting up a measurement plan for the first time, or if you have inherited an existing social media account, you should determine a baseline for your account(s) to have a basis for measurement.

  1. Collect data as far back as possible, but a minimum of a year is ideal
  2. Add the data to a dashboard for easy analysis (Excel is one example of a place to collect data)
  3. Make note of Follower growth rate and average Reach/Impressions and Engagement Rate

Set goals

Determine what your goals are for the next year, quarter, etc. Do you want to:

  • Increase the number of followers by a certain percentage?
  • Drive more traffic to your website using social media?
  • Increase donations to your program or unit?
  • Have conversations with your followers?

To best accomplish these and other goals, create calls-to-action. For example:

  • Increase followers = “Share with your friends” or “Like and follow”
  • Drive more traffic = “Click here” with web URL
  • Increase donations = “Donate now” button or web URL link with appeal
  • Have conversations = ask questions and respond to answers

Create and execute a plan

Plan out the promotions you want to do around specific events and throughout the year. Be sure to include the calls-to-action you’ve determined and craft messaging to reflect those actions. Paying for promoted posts may help with your reach if you don’t have a great number of followers.

Measure effectiveness

After the promotions run, collect the statistics and add them to your dashboard. Determine whether you met or exceeded your determined goal. If you did not do either, adjust your goals, expectations, or messaging for the next promotion.

Where to find your data

Platform Location

Facebook

  • Log into Facebook and navigate to your page.
  • Visit the Insights tab to see your data.
  • Data can be exported for further analysis.

Twitter

  • Log into your Twitter account.
  • Navigate to http://analytics.twitter.com
  • Analytics are turned off be default on most accounts and must be activated to begin collecting.
  • View your overview on the Home tab.
  • Data can be exported for further analysis in the Tweets tab.

Instagram

  • On your mobile device, sign into your account.
  • Ensure that your profile is set up as a “business” account. (See https://www.facebook.com/business/e/getting-started-with-instagram-for-business for instructions.
  • You can view basic information about posts up to 2 years.
  • No data export feature currently exists on the platform.
  • To get deeper information, consider a 3rd-party application, such as Iconosquare, Sprout Social, and others.

Pinterest

  • Log into your Pinterest account.
  • Navigate to https://analytics.pinterest.com/
  • Full analytics tracking may need to be set up on your website.
  • You can also track traffic from Pinterest to your website using Google Analytics.

How to: Create engaging content

How to: Creating graphics

Questions?

To suggest new How To guides or for questions about these guidelines and best practices, contact Susan Gill at susan83@vt.edu.