Social Media

What Metrics Matter? Measuring the Success of Social Media

Say you’re in charge of social media marketing for a large business. Everything seems to be going well. Your social media is active and you get a moderate amount of likes on each post. Your social media may seem successful, but then your boss asks, “What’s the ROI?” This question is practically impossible to answer. That is, without metrics. Metrics are stats that measure activity. Metrics track and quantify how many people are using your social media page, going to your website, using your website, and even taking action on your site. While there are many metrics to track, three of the most popular metrics from Kevan Lee’s article on social media metrics, are conversions, leads, and funnels.

Conversions: Action Over Eyeballs

This is the number one metric to track. Conversion tracks the actions of users. If the user makes a purchase, signs up for a mailing list, or downloads a file, these metrics can be tracked. Not every person who sees your content is going to take action. It’s important to identify the percentage of people who take action rather than just looking at your site.

Leads: Don’t Give Up So Easily!

Have you ever looked at something online, but didn’t buy it, then the product shows up in basically every ad you see online? Essentially, you’re a lead: a potential converter. Tracking leads can be as essential as, if not more than, tracking conversions. While conversions are the people who have already taken action, leads are the people who may still take action. For example, occasionally sends me an email with the subject, “Are you still interested in [X Product]?” While most times, the lead goes cold because I don’t care enough to buy the product, sometimes, I may have gotten sidetracked and will go back and purchase the product I was interested in.

Funnels: Where did You Come from? Where did You Go?

Funnels are a fairly simple concept: they track the paths users take to get from point A to point B. Funnels identify whether the user came to the site through social media, inbound links, or search engine options.

The benefit of tracking funnels is it shows where the most effective marketing is. It also identifies if there are links from a third party generating leads. Let’s say, for example, you are part of a company that sells lipstick. If a YouTuber wears that lipstick on one of her videos and links to the product in the video’s description box, you may get a large group of people coming to your site to look at that particular lipstick.

So What’s the ROI?

To measure the success of your social media strategy, answer these three questions:

  1. How many people are coming to our site through social media?
  2. How many people coming through social media take action?
  3. How much can we increase our ROI by reaching out to leads?

While it isn’t a perfect strategy (you can’t exactly track how many people are going to a store or calling you because of your social media, you can still get a good grasp on the impact of your social media.


Hashtags aren’t just that annoying thing millennials use too often. They can actually be an integral part of social media strategy. Hashtags are essentially buzzwords (or buzz-phrases) that identify and group posts, making them easy to find and highly engaging. In 2014, one of the biggest social media phenomenon, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, was shared across social media with the use of a hashtag #ALSIceBucketChallenge. The challenge, and in part the hashtag, not only raised awareness for ALS through 17 million videos but also generated over $100 million for ALS research. While not every hashtag campaign can reach the success of #ALSIceBucketChallenge, it can still be a successful tool for social media strategy.


According to Steve Cooper, hashtags play five roles in social media strategy. 

#Promote – In summer of 2015, Coca-Cola rolled out their Share a Coke campaign accompanying their 20 oz bottles with names printed on them. They used the hashtag #ShareACoke on social media to invite users to generate their own content. Since individuality and self-expression are valued by millennials, the campaign prompted many social media users to buy these coke bottles and share photos tagged with #ShareACoke.

Hashtags don’t even need to be tied to an original slogan to be a promotion tool. Many twitter users follow social media tags such as #dailydeals or #flashsale. By using these hashtags, you can hold last-minute promotions with wide outreach.

#Unify – Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook all support hashtags. That means no matter what platform, you can find and group the outreach of your campaign. For example, when Too Faced, a popular makeup company, launched its collaboration makeup palette with NikkieTutorials, they implemented the hashtag #nikkie4toofaced across all their social media platforms. Rather than needing to create a new page for the new product, they can identify the outreach of the product across Twitter and Instagram by the use of the hashtag.

#Converse – When the Super Bowl rolls around, everyone talks about it, whether it’s about the teams, the commercials, or even just the fact that they don’t care about the Super Bowl. Companies can use big events like these to spark conversation with their users. 45% of advertisements during the Super Bowl included a hashtag. These hashtags initiate conversation during and after the game and can be a talking point between the company and its users.

#Target – Just a couple days ago was National Cat Day, and naturally, this meant everybody with a cat was sharing pictures tagged with #NationalCatDay (Myself included. I use every excuse to share a picture of my cat). Businesses can actually use this to their advantage to target specific users. Since people browsing this hashtag are interested in cats, companies that create products for cats and cat owners can implement the hashtag. 

#Innovate – Technology is amazing. In 2016, American Express launched their highly innovative Amex Sync, which connects your Twitter. When you share a hashtag, you may be eligible for discounts, and when you use your American Express card to make the purchase, the discount is automatically applied.


Using hashtags is an excellent strategy, but hashtags need to be used judiciously. Tweets with hashtags are 25% more likely to incite activity, but tweets with three or more hashtags are 21% less likely to engage users. On Facebook, hashtags can even be detrimental with 50% higher reach than those without hashtags. Meanwhile, Instagram posts with over eleven hashtags are more than 30% more likely to engage followers than those with fewer hashtags. When used strategically, hashtags can have a great impact on social media strategy.