What are social media metrics?

Social media metrics is a set of data that helps you to determine the impact of your social media activities.

Businesses need to assess whether the resources they are investing in social media are bringing profits or losses.  Experts refer to these calculations as Return on Investment (ROI).

As a business owner, you need to diligently assemble and analyze this data.

Getting your head around social media metrics can be daunting at first (Photo: Pixabay)

The problem is that there is so much data that it might get overwhelming, especially for a beginner. You could also be swamped with other business operations, especially for start-ups that cannot afford to hire more employees.

But there is an easy way to understand this.  

How about we use examples?


Nana owns a bakery. Her shop is in Kikuyu Town. Having run the shop for four years, she’s been getting a fair number of orders. With her bakery business, she is able to run her business operations and meet some of her personal needs.  One afternoon, she shares a picture of cookies online and it gets 500 likes. Many people ask where she is located and how they could purchase her yummy cookies. Nana decides to give it a shot. What could be her priority metric right now?

Answer: Reach & Engagement metrics

At this stage, the most important goal for Nana is to make people more aware of her business. She is not trying to sell them anything at first but to ‘flirt’. She is trying to make a lasting good impression as you would with your date. She will need to prove to them that she could be better than the bakeries near them. Some basic reach and engagement metrics include:

  • The number of followers on her social media platforms
  • Number of views on the video content she creates
  • The number of impressions on her posts (for instance, on Twitter)
  • The number of mentions her brand receives in a certain period (weekly, monthly, or yearly)
  • The rate at which she is gaining or losing followers
  • The number of likes, shares and comments


Chloe is very stylish. She gets comments all the time (both online and offline) about her dresses, her lipstick or the shoe that she’s wearing. She sells mobile phones and accessories in town. One day, a lipstick brand invites her to an affiliate program. Since she wouldn’t mind a side hustle, she starts a campaign on her page linking these products to the brand’s store. At this point, what would be her priority metrics?

Answer:  Acquisition and conversion metrics

Chloe already has a good reach and engagement. Question is, can she turn it into good business? Is she influential enough to turn random page visitors into paying customers? Can she turn curiosity into money?

Good thing is, there are metrics to track this. For example,

  • How many clicks per link is she getting (click-throughs)?
  • How many people follow up on the Call-to-Action (CTA) for example, subscribe or ask questions about the lipstick brand
  • How many new leads does she acquire for the new brand
  • What is the average income value per customer?
  • What is the ROI for all social media activity?


Fred is an intern at the Kenya Health Agricultural Institute (KHAI). He notices that the institute is followed by 3,000 people on Facebook. He scrolls on the timeline, only to realize that posts get an average of 5 likes and once in a while, he gets a “nice”. He realizes that the last post was made three years ago.

Fred approaches his supervisor and proposes that he revives the account to help publicize their projects. What would be the most important metrics for KHAI’s social media?

Answer: Activity and retention metrics

Fred needs to often review KHAI’s social media activity. He could try different types of content and review their performance. Another great idea would be to assess the followers’ reviews or lack thereof. It is important to understand the feedback in relation to the type of content that they are creating.

Some specific metrics include:

  • How many posts are made per channel per period
  • The rate of response to questions or comments concerning the brand
  • The percentage in nature of posts for instance their type (pictures, links, videos, etc) or content (educational, entertaining or sales offer).
  • The number of positive or negative reviews
  • Customer satisfaction rate (between 0-100)


Your goals will help you determine the most important metric for that moment. You do not have to be overwhelmed. Simply use the KPI tools wisely and save time. Buffer is an excellent choice.

Feel free to reach out with questions in the comment section.

We’re happy to help!

Author: Hannah Kagecheis a creative writer and content creator. In her writings, she explores matters of the heart, tech, environment & wildlife, career development and lifestyle. She is the founder of Jadili with Hannah, an online platform that promotes authentic living through honest conversations with self, people and with God. Through her writings, she has contributed to various sites such as Potentash, Nyika Silika, and the Laptop analyst. She has also authored and self-published one book. "Wealth & Riches; Godly Wealth Management for the Millennial". Favourite Tech Quote: "I won't be impressed with technology until it can download food. - Despicable Minions.

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