If your boss asks, “How well are we doing on social media?”, do you respond with words or numbers?

Because data trumps opinion. Every time.

I’m not talking about the number of new fans, followers, likes, or shares. I’m talking about how those numbers show if you’re achieving your business goals.

Is what you’re doing on social useful? Is it contributing to more business? How can you know?

That’s what any (good) boss wants to hear from you.

I wrote this post so you can shine the next time they ask. Know how to respond by knowing how to measure your social media performance—with social media KPIs.
But first…

Bonus: Get a free social media report template to easily track and measure performance against your KPIs.

What are social media key performance indicators (KPIs)?

They’re similar, but different than social media metrics.

How’s that?

A business metric is a number. It measures the performance and activities of an organization. Like profit, employee turnover, calls made, calls answered, time spent, costs incurred. Stuff like that.

A KPI is also a number—a type of metric.

A KPI measures performance deemed valuable to the business. And, it’s tracked over time to measure progress (or not).

A business metric should be measured against a target. A KPI should measure the success of achieving that target.

Got it?

Good. Let’s look at the KPIs worth tracking for your social media.

Social media KPIs for reach

How many people might see your posts across all of social media?

Say you have a Facebook profile 300 people like. Now add your 500 Twitter followers. Same for you other social accounts. Sum it all up- that’s your potential reach.

Ready, set, measure.


How many times did your post show up in someone’s feed or timeline? I’m not talking about the ones looked at, noticed, or read. Just the number of chances people had, by the screens they appeared on.

How to track it

  • Identify the number of impressions for a given post, on a given platform
  • Identify the reporting period to measure, like a week, month, or quarter
  • Compare to previous periods to see a trend

Audience growth rate

What’s the rate of growth for your social media followers?

This is less about how many, more about how quickly.

And, was it faster than the previous months?

How to track it

  • Identify the number of new followers for the month on a given platform
  • Divide that number by your total audience to get your growth rate
  • Multiple by 100
  • Compare to previous months to see a trend


  • 100 new followers on Twitter in January
  • (100 divided by 5,000 total followers) * 100 = 2% growth rate

Post reach

How many people have seen your post since it went live? That’s post reach.

For this KPI, experiment with when you post and what you post.

Because timing and content affects performance. Note the effects as you change these two variables (related: the best time to post on social media).

How to track it

  • Identify a post to measure
  • Identify how many people viewed your post (reach)
  • Divide the reach by total number of followers
  • Multiply by 100
  • Compare to other posts, for the same and other reporting periods


  • 200 people viewed your post
  • (200 divided by 6,000 total followers) * 100 = 3.3% post reach

Social share of voice (SSoV)

Want to know how many people mentioned your brand versus the other guys’?

Sure you do.

Whether it be for direct mentions (like ‘@hootsuite’) or indirect mentions (like “hootsuite”).

SSoV lets you know how relevant your brand is in the market.

How to track it

  • Identify a reporting period
  • Measure every mention of your brand, direct and indirect, for that period
  • Do the same for your competitors’ mentions
  • Add the two together to get total mentions
  • Divide your mentions by the total mentions
  • Multiply by 100
  • See who’s winning


  • 300 of your mentions
  • (300 divided by 2,100 mentions from everyone else) * 100 = 14.2% SSoV. Nice one.

Social media KPIs for engagement

Let’s find out how people are interacting (or not) with your posts.

Applause rate

Know how many people are clapping, liking, or favoriting your posts, relative to your total followers.

They just approved what you shared, and consider it valuable.

How nice.

Knowing this rate will help you share the right content for your audience.

Dig deep on this. Try to understand why people applauded. Was it because of that 50 percent discount. Or because of how it ended with such a heartwarming message?

How to track it

  • Identify a reporting period
  • Identify a post to measure
  • Sum the total approvals for that post
  • Divide by your total followers for that platform
  • Multiple by 100
  • Compare to your target goals


  • (250 divided by 9,100 Twitter followers) * 100 = 2.8% applause rate

Average engagement rate

Similar to above though for likes, shares, and comments. It’s also relative to your total number of followers.

The higher the rate, the better.

Just know, rate matters more than absolute number of likes, shares, and comments. Use this as your guide for what you post.

How to track it:

  • Identify a reporting period
  • Add up a post’s total likes, comments, and shares.
  • Divide by your total number of followers
  • Multiply by 100
  • See the trend over time, compare with your goals


  • 120 likes + 230 comments + 165 shares of a post
  • (515 divided by 23,200 followers) * 100 = 2.2% average engagement rate

Amplification rate

Why be limited to just your network?

An awesome thing about social is benefitting from other people’s’ networks, too.

Amplification rate shows how your followers care and share your content with their people. By their shares, retweets, repins and regrams.

The higher the rate, the more interest your followers show in associating with your brand.

How to track it:

  • Identify a reporting period, say for a week, month or quarter
  • Count the shares for a post, for that period
  • Divide by your total number of followers
  • Multiply by 100
  • Compare that rate with your goals


  • 95 shares of a post
  • (95 divided by 3,450 followers) * 100 = 2.75% amplification rate

Virality rate

Everyone dreams of going viral.

This KPI is the number of people who shared your post relative to the number of people who had a chance to see it (impressions, remember?).

Measure this for a reporting period.

Reminder… this is about rate, not absolute, shares. A post shared 10,000 times may only get .03% virality. While another post shared 6,000 times may get 9.1% virality—which is far better.

How to track it:

  • Identify your target reporting period
  • Identify the number of impressions for a post, for that time period
  • The same for shares
  • Divide shares by impressions
  • Multiply by 100
  • Compare that rate with your goals


  • 110 shares of a post
  • (110 shares divided by 1,980 impressions) * 100 = 5.6% virality rate

Social media KPIs for conversions

How effective is your social media? Time to find out.

Conversion rate

How many visitors take the action you asked them to?

Here’s the (ideal) sequence…

You post. User clicks on your call-to-action link. User sees a landing page. They complete an intended action on that page.

Like subscribe to your newsletter, download your guide, schedule time to talk.

You do have calls-to-action, right? No? I wrote this post for you.

Because being social is more than just looking great. You’ve got a business to run. And a boss to please.

A high conversion rate shows you (and your boss) that your fans and followers care about what you have to say, show and share.

You kept your promise, by giving people relevant content. Everyone should be such a solid (social) citizen.

The set up:

  • Create a landing page for your campaign
  • Add the killer CTA
  • Create a post with a call-to-action link to your page (use our link shortener)
  • Place a “cookie” on the user’s machine, to associate the lead to a campaign

How to track it:

  • Publish the post
  • Track the number of clicks it receives
  • Same for conversions
  • Divide conversions by clicks
  • Multiply by 100
  • Compare this to your goals for the period


  • 130 conversions of a post
  • (130 conversions divided by 4,100 clicks) * 100 = 3.2% conversion rate

Click-through rate (CTR)

For your posts, what’s the rate people click on your call-to-action (CTA) links?

I’m not talking shares, likes, or comments. Rather, are people showing an interest in additional content?

Track this KPI often, to learn how compelling your offers are.

How to track it:

  • Determine number of CTA clicks for a post
  • Same for impressions
  • Divide clicks by impressions
  • Multiply by 100
  • Compare the rate with your goals for the time period


  • 95 CTA clicks of a post
  • (95 divided by 5,900 impressions) * 100 = 1.6% click-through rate

Bounce rate

Remember the ideal scenario I listed above for conversion rate?

This one’s not so ideal.

Users clicked on your post CTA, landed on a page, then left without completing the CTA on that page.

They got bounced.

Too bad. Don’t be sad.

Bounce rate is a valuable KPI to measure your social media traffic. Use it to determine your ROI compared to other traffic sources (like traffic from a Twitter post vs. traffic from a Google search).

The lower the rate, the more proof that your targeting the right audience.

How to track it:

  • Set up Google Analytics
  • Navigate to the ‘Acquisition’ tab
  • Look under ‘All Traffic’
  • Then see ‘Channels’
  • Click on the Bounce Rate button
  • See each of your channels, sorted by rate
  • Compare the rate with your goals for the time period

Cost-per-click (CPC)

How much are you paying, per click, on your sponsored social media post, for a specified time period? That’s CPC.

More than total spend, pay attention to this KPI. To know if your investment is efficient, or wasteful.

How to track it:

  • Identify your total spend for a set of ads
  • Count number of clicks on that ad
  • Divide total spend by clicks
  • Compare this to your goals for the time period


  • $3,000 for Facebook ads
  • 3,000 divided by 430 clicks = $6.97 per click

Keep on top of this one. Know what you spending per click for your ads.

Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)

This is the amount you pay after 1,000 people scroll past your sponsored post.

CPM is not so useful for measuring how effective an ad is.

But it is useful to:

  • Expose new customers to your brand
  • Know up front how much you’ll pay
  • Know how many people will see your ads
  • Project costs for new campaigns
  • Gives you a more reliable income

And, to split test your content. Faster and cheaper than with other measurements.

How to track it:

  • Know your total ad spend
  • Divide total spend by impressions (# of times ad was loaded on a page) for a given time period
  • Multiply by 1,000
  • Compare this to your goals for the time period


  • $200 for a sponsored ad
  • 9,200 impressions
  • (200 divided by 9,200 impressions) * 1000 = $21.74 for every 1,000 impressions

Social media conversion rate

This rate is the total number of conversions that came from social media, expressed as a percentage.

Use this to know how effective each post is performing for a campaign. This shows how well your offer resonates with your target audience.

Say you have a landing page with a CTA to download a free guide. Two things you want to know:

  • How many people downloaded the guide (total conversions)
  • Of those, how many came from your social media post (social media conversions)

The set up:

  • Create a post with a call-to-action link to your page that…
  • Places a “cookie” on the user’s machine, to associate the lead to a campaign

How to track it:

  • Know the total conversions
  • Know the social media conversions
  • Divide social by total
  • Multiply by 100
  • Compare against your goals


  • 300 people downloaded the guide
  • 180 of those came from your social media post
  • (180 divided by 300) * 100 = 60% social media conversion rate

Comment conversation rate

This is the ratio of comments per post to the number of your followers.

It’s better than tracking comments without any context.

Because, an average of 20 comments per post is quite impressive for only 200 followers.

It’s useful to know if what you’re saying sparks conversation.

How to track it:

  • Use Hootsuite Analytics to track number of comments for a give reporting period
  • Divide comments count by number of followers
  • Multiply by 100
  • Compare to your goals for that period


  • 23 people commented for that time period
  • (23 divided by 300 followers) * 100 = 7.67% comment conversion rate

Social media KPIs for customer support

Want to know how customers think and feel about your brand? Here ya go.

Customer testimonials

Got some great reviews, comments and endorsements from customers?

Show them off, as this shows how you delighted them.

Your followers will be more likely to know you’ll do the same for them. This builds trust and credibility for your brand.

Want more testimonials?

  • Ask your best customers to leave a review
  • Run a social media campaign asking people to create written, video, or online testimonial
  • Link to a Google form to make simple for your brand evangelists

Me? Sometimes, when I ask for a testimonial, I offer to write it for them. To save them work. I make sure it’s something that resonates with them and ask them to review and refine it, if needed.

Don’t be shy, give it a try.

Customer satisfaction (CSat) score

CSAT measures how happy people are with your product or service.

It answers: “How would you describe your overall satisfaction with our product?”

Ask them to rate their satisfaction from 1 to 10. Or, say from sucks, meh, golden, best ever. You get the idea.

How to track it:

  • Create a survey
  • Sum the scores
  • Divide by number of respondents
  • Multiply by 10 to get your CSat
  • Compare with your goals


(Ah, I think we’re good on the examples now. Don’t you?)

Net promoter score (NPS)

This measures customer loyalty.

Use this to predict future customer engagement, with one specifically phrased question:

“How likely are you to recommend our [company/product/service] to a friend?”

Present a scale, from zero to 10. Then, group the responses:

  • Detractors: 0 – 6 score range
  • Passives: 7 – 8 score range
  • Promoters: 9 – 10 score range

How to track it:

  • Create a survey
  • Subtract the number of promoters from detractors
  • Divide by total respondents
  • Multiply by 10 to get your NPS
  • Compare with your goals

Next step: Measure performance against your social KPIs

So, now you’re ready to show your boss:

  • The KPIs that matter
  • How they’re performing
  • What they’re telling you about your business, people, and posts
  • And of course, how they’re affecting the bottom line

Be the storyteller of your business, creating clarity for making decisions, backed by data.

That job is easier with social media analytic tools. Each social network has its own, or you can use a tool like Hootsuite Analytics to track performance for all your accounts from a single dashboard.

Sign up for Hootsuite and start tracking and reporting against your social media KPIs. Try it free today.

Get Started

The post 18 Social Media KPIs You Need to Track to Measure Success appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.