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By Caroline Jackson

Essentials: How to Measure Social Media Success

Learning to measure your social media success – and shortfalls – is the easiest way to determine how to retool and improve. But reporting is also complex and confusing.

Because this is such an essential component of what you should be doing to be successful on social media, I wanted to boil it down to the absolute basics. Get the checklist and a sample report to follow along while I walk through the basics.


You have to set things up so they are easy to measure. This means when you post links to content on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. you have to use a shortened link so you can track it. Try using bitly. Another big one is having Google Analytics set up on your landing pages and websites so you can see who is visiting those pages and from where. If you make things as easy as you can upfront, everything will be less confusing or overwhelming later on.


You have to know your way around the platforms you are using, and their reporting functionality. This means looking at Facebook Insights, exploring your HootSuite reports, Twitter analytics, etc. It will take time to really wrap your head around everything you need to be looking at, but if you single out a few things to look at, it will make things easier in the meantime. A simple starting point is to figure out the average “Daily Engaged Users” on Facebook, and see how that fluctuates depending on what you post. You should also be looking closely at the number of retweets – and how content spreads – on Twitter.


A routine makes this all work for me and the brand’s whose social presence I manage. Every day I analyze –  on a very surface level – what is doing well on all the major social channels. Then weekly, I delve a little deeper and make some assessments about what worked and what didn’t. Monthly, I sit down and analyze. This is where the math comes in, and not simple observation. You’ll see how that works when you download the monthly report I fill out for my clients.


A report is useless if you don’t learn anything that will change what you do in the future. I pull my reports as I schedule the next month of content for my client. This means I’m assessing what content didn’t work (as well) last month and retooling it or booting it from the next month’s plan. Social media management requires agility, and one of the tools that will help you adapt quickly is looking at the numbers and making decisions as soon as you can based on this concrete data.

Are we off our rockers with this reporting stuff? Do you have a different way to measure social media success – and failure? Hit us up on Twitter and tell us what you really think.

By Caroline Jackson