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Knowing the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts involves more than just counting your Facebook business page “likes” and Twitter followers.

Superficial “vanity metrics” rarely provide an accurate window into how well your strategy is working.

What really matters is how well your content is:

» attracting and keeping the interest of readers, viewers, or listeners;

» getting shared;

» generating leads; and

» making sales.

And that requires paying attention to metrics that shed light on whether your social media marketing tactics are helping you reach your business goals.

Metrics are only meaningful when they relate to clear goals. How else can you say your efforts are succeeding or failing?

In his book “500 Social Media Marketing Tips,” social media consultant Andrew Macarthy recommends setting SMART goals:


Do you want to:

» increase brand awareness? By how much?

» gain more subscribers to your e-newsletter? How many more?

» increase sales revenue from your website’s online store? By what percentage?


Which analytics tools do you intend to use to measure how close your marketing activities are getting you to those goals? Are they capable of giving you meaningful data?


Be realistic when setting your goals. A little stretch can motivate you and your team, but if you set the bar too high, you could end up feeling defeated and uninspired.


Your social media marketing goals will serve your business best when they align with your company’s overall goals and vision.


In what amount of time do you aim to achieve your goals? For example, increase Facebook page reach by 10% in three months; get 20 new email subscribers each month until the end of the year; or increase online sales by 12% in six months.

As you tap into the various tools that can give you insights into your performance on social media platforms, some of the many metrics that might help you assess the success of your efforts include:

» mentions and tags of your brand online (how to discover this will vary from one platform to the next);

» click-throughs on your links;

» engagement with your content (comments, shares, etc.);

» conversions on paid ads; and

» clicks on call-to-action buttons (“learn more,” “buy now,” etc.).

Besides Google Analytics and the insights tools within the individual social media platforms, there are resources that provide metrics for multiple platforms in one place. A few you might want to explore are Hootsuite, Buffer, Buzzsumo and Klout.

For guidance as you craft and execute your social media marketing, contact SCORE to talk with a mentor.

Business News

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For more information about starting or operating a small business, call SCORE at (434) 295-6712 or visit

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