How to Use Social Analytics to Improve Your Business Performance

Any business venturing into social media need to be able to measure its success. It is about verifying and validation your achievements which are aligned to your goals and objectives. Social analytics may sound too technical or complex, but without it you could be spending time and money for nothing.

There are many metrics that can be used in social analytics, some qualitative and some quantitative. Sentiment and engagement are qualitative metrics because they are based on people’s reactions and are often inaccurate but should still be measured. Quantitative metrics include website traffic and sales which are measured in numbers.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable measurements which are aligned to a business’s objectives used to drive action. They are critical for organizations examining their operational performance to identify trends and opportunities for improvement. KPIs should be rates, ratios, percentages, and averages instead of raw numbers and always compared over time.

The first step needed to be done for social analytics is to set goals and objectives. These two terms are often used interchangeably.  A goal is a broad statement of something that one wants to achieve while an objective is much more concrete and specific. Wanting a lot of Facebook fans is a goal. Wanting 1000 Facebook fans in 6 months is an objective. Notice that the objective is measurable and time-bound and should be realistic and achievable.

Before jumping into social analytics you need to establish a baseline measurement on where you are today. To do this you need to conduct a historical analysis of existing data used to evaluate your future success.

There are five foundational measures for social analytics which I will describe. They are interaction, engagement, influence, advocates, and impact.


Social interaction measures the number of people who are attracted to a specific marketing initiative and the number of people who converted based on the call-to-action. Interaction could be any form of participation such as sharing links and direct conversations.  It is based on a specific marketing initiative such as a campaign and can be evaluated on single or multiple channels for comparison. Using this, a business can evaluate the percentage of interactions against all visitors.

KPI:  Conversions / Activity = Interaction


Engagement is the depth an individual person interacts around a specific marketing initiative. This could include time on a site, number of page views, and number of interactions such as likes and comments on Facebook. It should be measured against a specific marketing initiative on a single channel or across multiple channels.

KPI:  Visits x Time x Comments x Shares = Engagement


Influence is the ability of an individual to persuade a target audience. The influencer has credibility towards a specific subject and has the ability to transmit this knowledge through a social media channel. Active influencers in one channel may not even be present on another channel.

To the target audience, the influencer’s expertise needs to have relevance, the influencer needs to have trust, be in the right channels, and be able to deliver his expertise within the time frame needed by the target. The influencer need to be able to sway others into action. Measure influence by the size of the engaged audience and the ability of the influencer to get the target audience to act.

KPI:  Volume of Relevant Content x Comments x Shares x Reach = Influence


Advocates are your brand’s ambassadors who have a genuine interest in your product or service and are willing to spread your message if given a platform to do so. They have influence over those in their social circles. Measure them by their ability to influence others.

KPI:  Influence x Positive Sentiment = Advocacy


Impact is the measure of desired outcomes based on goals and objectives within a specific marketing initiative. It measures the overall success. Desired outcomes referred to as conversion events can include sales, lead, downloads, completing an online form, etc.

KPI:  Outcomes / (Interactions + Engagement) = Impact

Reference: Social Media Metrics SECRETS by John Lovett, 2011

Social Media Examiner – 4 Ways to Measure Social Media and Its Impact on Your Brand includes methods used to raise awareness, measure engagement, measure influence, and build lead generation in social media.

Hope you found this article useful.

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