Social media KPIs

Felicity Wild
Friday 29 January 2016

I’ve written before about organisations using social media simply because it is expected, without any clear purpose or strategy.

Strategy is essential to engage your intended audiences and achieve your objectives – from driving traffic to your website and boosting sales to fundraising or even hiring a new employee.

How do you know if your efforts have been worthwhile?

This post will examine some key performance indicators (KPIs) for social media and how they can help to quantify success and shape future strategy.

Reaching your target audience

Market research undertaken while developing your social media strategy should have illuminated the best ways to reach your target audience(s) – but how do you prove you have achieved this?

According to Doz, there are two things you want to track to make sure you are reaching your intended audience: fans and followers, and demographics.

Fans and followers (quantity)

This is your raw audience and you should aim to have these numbers as high as possible. These are the people that your content will reach – the larger the number, the higher the chances of achieving your goals.

Demographics (quality)

Quantity, however, is not everything. The quality of your fans and followers is also important.

Demographics help you to work out the proportion of your fans and followers that belong to your target audience. This can include age, gender, location, occupation, hobbies and socio-economic status – most social media platforms provide this information.

The higher the proportion of your fans and followers that fit your target audience, the more successful your social media strategy has been, and will be in the future.



The levels of engagement that your posts garner will indicate whether the content you are sharing is of interest to your target audience.

Methods of measuring engagement vary between platforms. On Facebook you are looking for likes, comments and shares; and on Twitter you want favourites, retweets, mentions and replies.

Tech writer Kerry Butters also suggests using social listening tools to track your social media mentions. These can help you to monitor not only what is being said about you but – equally as important – by whom.

If you are including links in your posts then it is also worth using a link management tool like Bitly. This allows you to measure how many clicks your links are getting along with basic demographic information such as location and language.

Google analytics


If you are aiming to drive traffic to your website (as we often are here at the University), it is recommended that you monitor social referrals through Google Analytics and pay attention to visitor behaviour once they have reached your site.

Do social visitors behave differently from other visitors? Exploring this question could highlight differing user needs and, as a consequence, influence the content you share on social media.


These are just a few of the many, many metrics available to quantify your social media success. For further reading on this topic, check out Buffer’s 61 Key Social Media Metrics, Defined.


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