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5 stats you should track to be successful on social media

Measuring the impact of a social media engagement program can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are just getting started. With a seemingly endless supply of social data at your fingertips, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Don’t stress! Stop, and take a deep breath. Social media measurement is more manageable than you think.
The key to success is to start small and establish a few important bases before you try to tackle complex social media ROI models. Whether you are brand new to social media or can tweet in your sleep, we have compiled a few of our favorite metrics below to help you kick off (or extend) your measurement efforts. What makes these metrics so special? Three things: they are specific, they are easy to measure over time, and they are actionable. So take a look, and get going!

1. Reach (Facebook): How many people saw your post

No calculations necessary. See the number of impressions on your Facebook posts by simply looking at the number that appears under each post on your page. Additionally, if you have more than 30 fans on your Facebook page, you can click into your Facebook Insights and monitor the “Reach” for each of your posts. (“Reach” is the same thing as “# of people saw your post”.) For even more insight, sort them to see which of your posts gained the most views.
Action: Look for a theme in your most viewed posts and capitalize on this theme in future posts.

2. Engagement (Facebook): People talking about this (PTAT) / Likes

Find these stats under your Facebook page name. Dividing your PTAT value by the total number of Likes on your page will give you a sense of how engaged your base of fans is. This percentage, which typically ranges between 2-5%, gives you an up-to-the-minute view into just how many of your fans are interacting with your page through any variety of interactions, including likes, comments, shares, mentions, and tags. While it’s not uncommon to have a 2% engagement value, shoot for 5% for a truly stellar Facebook business page.
Action: Pay attention to any peaks or troughs in your engagement metric. Re-engage fans by sharing photos, asking a question, or celebrating your fans’ milestones.

3. Time (all networks): Hearsay Social Metrics

Do you ever wonder when you should post content? Should you post at 9am or 9pm? On Tuesdays or Thursdays? The answer is unique to every business, every page, and every social network. With Hearsay Social’s “Engagement” data, found under “Metrics,” you can determine which day of the week is the best to share content and even what time of day will earn you the most engagement.
Action: Craft your engagement strategy around these metrics. Schedule content for popular times and make sure to respond to your engaged fans.

4. Shareability (Twitter): Search “@yourtwitterhandle” at

Creating content for your social media audience is a good thing. Inspiring your fans and followers so much that they decide to share your content with their audiences is a great thing. To measure this in Twitter, simply search your handle (or use Hearsay Social Metrics) to see exactly how many mentions and retweets you’re receiving. Are people retweeting what you have to say?
Action: If you get lucky, you might just find your brand enthusiasts through your retweet search. Think about engaging them directly by thanking for them for their support in a tweet.

5. Relevance (Twitter): Total You Are Following on Twitter / Total Twitter Followers

If you’ve ever wondered whether your tweets are resonating with your follower base on Twitter, wonder no more. Divide the number of accounts you’re following on Twitter by your total number of Twitter followers to calculate a relevance percentage. If you get a value around 30% or lower, you are doing very well. As a thought leader, you’re like accumulating a healthy following by sharing great content. Having a relevance value around 50% or higher, on the other hand, might not necessarily be a bad thing. Perhaps your strategy is to simply follow back anybody that follows you, a policy that many Twitter users have adopted.
Action: Follow people who you would like to follow you back. Consider tweeting at prospective followers to invite them to follow you.
That’s it! With five easy steps, you can start tangibly measuring your social media efforts to track exactly how your posts and conversations resonate with fans and followers. Each of these metrics lays the groundwork for you to analyze the business impact and ROI of your social sales and marketing efforts.

The social media ROI journey

Ed. note: This post is the fifth in a series drawing from Mainstay Salire’s study on Social Media ROI: Quantifying the Benefits of Social Media Marketing Platforms for the Enterprise. Download the entire report for free here.

Although social media has been around a few years, most businesses are just beginning to learn how to harness its power to build sales and customer loyalty. Most of the companies we studied had already made forays into social media, typically by launching a corporate Facebook Page. Early marketing tests also convinced executives of the value of extending these social media initiatives to branches and affiliates in local markets.
But often these efforts stalled after executives confronted the complexities and costs of building a broader presence at the local level. For regulated companies — including banks, insurers, and educational institutions — the prospect of turning agents, advisors, and school administrators loose on Facebook and Twitter raised compliance concerns.
Companies in non-regulated industries, while less focused on legal and compliance issues, wanted to protect their brands with message and brand consistency but still allow for authentic content. The logistics and expense of distributing corporate content to local networks, enabling staff, and monitoring local communications presented a daunting challenge.

The Social Media “Chasm’”

We refer to this set of obstacles as the social media “chasm”—and each company in our study overcame it through a combination of innovative strategies and investments. The below figure illustrates the chasm as faced by regulated companies. Non-regulated companies face a similar journey, minus the compliance issues.

Accelerating Value

Marketing executives agreed that implementing an integrated social media marketing platform helped their organizations overcome the social media “chasm” and achieve value sooner than if they had continued to rely on fragmented social media environments. Lacking an enterprise platform, most organizations would have delayed rollouts to branches, agencies, stores, and local affiliates, or they would have spent too heavily on technical and marketing staff to maintain corporate- local networks. Specifically, the Hearsay Social platform:

  • Eliminated compliance as a barrier to social media
  • Simplified and optimized creation-to-post process
  • Accelerated local adoption of social media
  • Supported scale-out of social media programs

As shown below, companies investing in Hearsay Social’s enterprise social media platform passed over the chasm earlier than otherwise and realized business value sooner. Moreover, by promoting greater adoption and innovation (more than just compliance) at the local level, companies saw value beyond what was expected.

Thanks for reading! If you want to learn more, download Mainstay Salire’s study on Social Media ROI: Quantifying the Benefits of Social Media Marketing Platforms for the Enterprise.

Two tweets and a holler away: Recap from SXSW Interactive 2012

From platforms, to content creation, to how it’s changed the face of business, social media was the center of so many conversations here in Austin at SXSW Interactive this year. I guess it’s not that surprising given it has been the birthplace of Twitter, Foursquare, and even Hearsay Social.
But this year’s SXSW has been different. This week it became clear that social media is no longer “all hat and no cattle.” The conversations about social have markedly shifted from abstract concepts to concrete results: defining social media ROI was a common theme.  Big brands and significant businesses are clearly and thoughtfully allocating massive marketing budgets to build their social strategy while simultaneously localizing their messaging. More and more, brands have realized that going local on social means having authentic business-to-consumer conversations, which has always been the vision of truly valuable social marketing.

Of course, this wasn’t Hearsay Social’s first rodeo.

We gratefully rejoined many of our best partners for incredible events and parties–from the Bloody Mary brunch at Facebook’s Austin offices to the Facebook-Google-Twitter panel on the future of social Web identity to foursquare’s hottest-party-in-town Sunday night at the Cedar Street Courtyard, we had a heck of a time kicking up our boots and connecting with our favorite customers and partners.
A highlight for our crew came Saturday night when we hosted a couple dozen partners and brands at world-famous Stubb’s BBQ for an evening of conversation, SXSW story sharing, and general merriment. It was incredible to see so many of our customers sharing their thoughts on the future of social media with each other in such a uniquely Austin setting. And I had never seen people eat so many BBQ ribs and brisket!

Sunday’s panel featuring our friends Cynthia Johanson (@cynk) from Twitter, Joseph Smarr (@jsmarr) from Google, and Matt Kelly (@mattwkelly) from Facebook proved every bit as interesting as we knew it would be as they debated the future of social logins and enterprise SSO (single sign-on), a topic with which I am proud to say Hearsay Social has been a pioneer alongside the social networks.

All in all, Kevin, Chris, Clara and I are thrilled to have made it out to Austin for SXSWi 2012, chock full of social media conversations, Silicon Valley camaraderie, and good old Texas BBQ. We look forward to seeing y’all again next year!