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Social Media KPIs and You

One of the questions I’m asked every single day is:

“With social media, what metrics should I be paying attention to?”

True Story: We signed this client about a year ago. This particular client started off strong. We started kicking ass and taking names. We were selling their products in record numbers for them. We’re doing it all through social posts content. We are boosting some content. Things are going smashingly, as you might say. Then, the marketing manager that had hired us…quit. Apparently, she just couldn’t handle the environment anymore. That always puts us in a vulnerable position as an agency because you never know who’s going to take over the reins. In this particular case, the owner of the company took over the reins. He was over the top on performance and over the top on excellence. Which I admire as a business owner — but it trickled down to our account.

Every single week, he wanted a full update on these self-induced KPIs (key performance indicators). To be totally honest, they were brutally next to impossible. I accept challenges as much as the next guy. I love what I do. My team loves what they do and we were crushin’ it for them.

Then the real challenge started to become, “Hey, I want 1000 new Facebook likes a week” or “I want my Twitter followers to be doubling every month and also my Instagram followers.” 

This particular company sold a very, very high-end product that only a very select few of the population can actually purchase. So, that makes it ultra challenging to keep attracting people who are actually going to buy something from them. I totally get it, brand influence is what they’re after. But the real challenge is…how in the hell are you going to get a thousand new Facebook followers a week? Yes, building content, I get it…we do it all day long. But this company would not invest a dime in Facebook, boosting the post. They would not add to the budget. They would not spend money because they thought that wasn’t organic. Our constant argument was that you need to spend money to get visibility, that’s obvious.

To us, it was a misguided interpretation of KPI or misguided emphasis on the wrong KPIs. No matter how many times we tried to express it and reset the account, it just wasn’t going to work. He wasn’t going to budge. So ultimately, I had to make the call of shame and essentially fire the client, one of our highest paying clients and a really cool, fun brand. But you know they were driving us “nuckin’ futs,” and it was not going to work. I think my agency, On Target, is driven to win. But, when we don’t see light at the end of that tunnel, when we’re not going to achieve the client’s goals (which are unreasonable), we have to step out. I don’t want to tarnish our reputation as an agency.

Engagement is Huge

So what should you be paying attention to? I think engagement is huge. I’d rather see five people like and comment on a post than no one, but I’d much rather see people writing back and forth. I’d much rather see that activity because it lets us be human. When that human element is there, that’s where the real gold is. So I’m looking at engagement. I’m looking at who’s sharing it. I’m looking at who’s talking about it. I love the retweets, obviously, because it really tells me they believe in what you’re doing.

Through all your social media KPIs and analytics, I’d encourage you to hone in on who’s liking, sharing, and talking about your content. Social media is a two-way street. You’ve got to be talking back. You’ve got to be having the conversations. That’s what’s giving brands the human voice that we’re all hungry for.

You Can’t Just Post Once a Week

My point is to really think about what you want to measure. Putting the emphasis on how many Facebook likes and followers you have may not be the best bet. But maybe you sell a product for the masses and maybe that is useful. I encourage you to really hone in on what is going to move the needle for your particular campaign and company. Stick to it and push yourself. There’s nothing wrong with reaching. There’s nothing wrong with setting higher expectations because it’s going to challenge you to keep working. This social media is not easy. This is really hard work. You really have to kick it up a notch if you want to win, if you really want to get your name out in front of people. You can’t just post one meme that you discovered on Instagram once a week. It’s just not going to cut the mustard.

To listen to our original SmartAss Marketer podcast by Tom Jelneck, please click below.



On Target is an Orlando based Digital Marketing Agency that helps brands stand out and rise above the noise. Through great storytelling, On Target turns companies into thought leaders. Founded in 2005 as a search engine marketing (SEO) firm, we’ve evolved into Orlando’s only agency that specializes in creating remarkable online content. If you’re looking to refresh your marketing strategy, contact us today.