Measure Social Media Metrics: Likes, Shares, Click-Through Traffic

Three people scrolling through their phones.

Today, I wanted to talk a bit more about the relationship between likes (on Facebook), social shares, web traffic, and sales.

There are a variety of metrics you can use to measure success on social media, through Likes, Shares, and Traffic—each metric indicates a health/weakness about different parts of your social media strategy.

Today, I’m going to be dissecting the top social media metrics to show you what they really mean about your social strategy.

How do we measure success on social media?

There are three different metrics you can use to measure your success on social media: Likes, shares, and traffic. One useful way to look at success is through the lens of the customer buying process.

Your goal as a business owner is to get people moving through the buying process. You want people to come to your site and move all the way through your buying process until they reach the end, where they become a customer. That’s where you get paid.

There are steps in between landing on a site and making a purchase (like clicking through pages), but we’re going to use today’s article to talk about the important steps of the buying process and how your social media strategy affects that process.

There are three distinct ways for you to measure your success on social media, and see if your strategy is producing results.

Likes—easy to get, but don’t put dollars in your pocket

Likes are one of the clearest metrics available for measuring your success on social media.

Visually, it’s easy to see that you’re accumulating these likes on your profiles. It’s one of the most prominent features on every social media page, and it’s the metric that most of us focus on when we work on social media.

Likes are never “bad” to have, but getting 100 more likes won’t equate to more sales. Use it mostly as an indicator of your traction on social media.

Likes do not guarantee money in your pocket, but they’re nice to have. Ask for them occasionally and when it’s convenient to do so. Remember: don’t go overboard on getting likes –it’s not something you should spend countless hours on. Likes will help validate your Facebook page as one that has some traffic going through it–it’ll show you’re an experienced business.

Likes give you validation more than they give you sales. A like shows your customers/potential customers/followers that you’re worth following.

I think of likes as existing in two different forms:

  • For your business or organization
  • As engagement on a post

Likes for your business are part of the buying process, but they’re one of the weakest signals that someone’s going to spend money with you. It’s a form of validation for your business that builds trust with customers and potential customers.

Facebook likes indicate validation. Your consumers want to see that you’ve put some thought and effort into your content marketing/social media strategy.

What you’re most after with using “likes” as a metric for social media success is whether or not your company is viewed as trustworthy by customers and potential customers. You’re looking for traction.

Another way to use “likes” is to measure the traction of your content strategy.

When you receive a like on a piece of content you’ve posted, take that as a sign that you’re content strategy is working. Conversely, if you get no likes on your content, take that as a signal that your strategy is not working, and that few people if any find your content useful or likeable, and try changing your tactics.

If you need to change your strategy, you could try out different formats like visual content marketing to see if you get greater results.

Shares & Retweets: Each one you get increases the your reach of your business

In contrast to likes, shares contain a lot more empirical value. Every share you get holds some business value to you.

Just as with likes, there are two types of shares:

  • shares for content
  • shares for referrals/word of mouth

Let’s start with “shares for content”. This means that one of the people that follow your page (that’s the people who have “liked” your page have liked your content enough—it was entertaining or informative enough—think it’s worthwhile to their friends.)

At that moment they shared your content, your content just increased your reach! Instead of having access to your circle of followers—your content broke through to a bigger audience pool.

Next, let’s talk about shares that refer your business, “mentions” (on Twitter), and other forms of word of mouth. These are an even more beneficial indicator of your social media success. Those shares are an even closer step towards the end of the sales funnel, meaning they’re even closer to spending money.

Having shares through referrals or word of mouth means that your system is working, and that your referral engine is working – meaning you’re doing a good job getting people to recommend you, and you’re even closer to getting sales.

Maximizing click-throughs from your social media to your website, into your buying process

In the end, it’s all about sales. Click-throughs from your social media pages to your website are the best way to measure and increase your sales.

The more web traffic your social media page drive to your website, the more interest people are showing in your company and its products. You’ll most likely end up increasing sales simply because more people are visiting your site.

If 2 out of every 100 people visit your website purchase from you (this is your conversion rate), getting a few hundred extra click-throughs from your social media page to your website will get you a few more sales every month!

Try to get people to click through to your website! Announce special promotions, news, referral programs (ex. “refer a friend and get $10 off your next order!”) and special events. All of these types of posts will help people click links to get them started into your buying process.

But let’s talk about what happens if you increase your web traffic but your customers don’t buy anything. You need to come up with ways to get some value out of them, even if they are not ready to buy. Before they exit from your buying process, try to get something back from them—something that doesn’t cost them any money and gives them some form of value.

Here are some ideas of ways you can extract more value out of people before they’re about to exit your buying process:

  • Support our business! Give us a follow/+1/like, etc.
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Share this post because your friends will find this entertaining
  • Download content (white paper, ebook, etc.)–it’ll help you make your buying decision!
  • Call for quote–it doesn’t cost you a thing, and it’ll also help you make your buying decision!
  • Upsell/cross sell: maybe you don’t need a full pool cleaning, but do you want a pool cleaning solution?

This is how you maximize the value of your web traffic from your social media page. Those that you can sell to, sell; this puts dollars in your wallet. Those that you can’t, try to maximize some value and put yourself in a position where you can sell back to them down the line.

Here are some tools you can use to measure success

For the best decision making on social media, I recommend you keep track of your statistics. This will help you understand—day by day and post by post—what pieces of your social media strategy are working and failing.

The two tools I’d recommend you use to measure your success on social media is Facebook Insights and Google Analytics.

Using Facebook Insights you can see the “reach” of your social posts on Facebook. This is important because you want to start a wildfire that gets your content spread around.

Google Analytics is great to use because it allows you to track lots of things related to your site. You’ll be able to track your web traffic, your social media campaigns, as well as lots of information about where visitors are coming from.

Remember: Focus on making sales, not getting “likes”

At the end of the day, sales are what matter to your business. Without sales, you can’t do anything. Social media is a necessary part of owning a business these days, but it shouldn’t consume all your working hours. While “likes” are an important indicator of traction, they’re not necessarily bringing in money to your business. Focus on making sales and use the rest of social media as another part of your morning routine. That way, you’ll be in the best position to grow your business.