If you’re a business, doctor’s office, restaurant, you probably wonder how much time to spend on social media. Maybe you even have a decent following, but you aren’t sure that your followers actually help your business.

Let’s look at imaginary Beatrice. At first, she was very excited when her follower count on Instagram went over 1000. And it was great to see that every time she posted, she got more than 100 likes. She took the time to take nice pictures, and promote her goods, and the follower count kept growing. Way to go Beatrice! But Beatrice was examining her bank account, and realized that increased social media numbers weren’t boosting her revenues. This is confusing for Beatrice.

Eventually, she decides social media isn’t really worth the effort.

So What’s Wrong?

Beatrice is looking at the wrong numbers. She needs to be analyzing the social media metrics that really translate to value for her business.

We’ve compiled a handy guide to help you know what to care about when it comes to social media actions. If you’re not in the upper echelons of social media action, don’t throw in the social towel. It just shows you that there is some work to be done on social media, work that goes beyond just posting every once in a while. You’ll need to start implementing new strategies to gain new followers who could make a purchasing decision. You might need to partner with an influencer, or pay to boost your posts. And of course, add a dash of time.

Read More: Small Business and Social Media

Okay, so we’re going to categorize different social media actions into four groups, and these groups have ascending value.

From Lower Value to Higher Value:

  • Awareness
  • Engagement
  • Amplification
  • Conversion

Awareness Metrics (Lowest Value, But Still Has Value)

  • Impressions
  • Post Reach

It’s great that people see your brand and your posts. But if it never goes beyond that, there is no real value, at least that can be measured.

Engagement Metrics (Good Value)

  • Post Clicks
  • Likes & Favorites
  • Link Clicks
  • Comments
  • Profile Visit

Engagement numbers are worth more than awareness numbers. This indicates positive interactions with your brand that can be an important step in a customer timeline, hopefully leading to a purchase. The problem is, most businesses look at these engagement numbers as pure gold, when in reality they are more like silver.

Amplification Metrics (Excellent Value)

  • Reposts/Retweets
  • Mentions
  • Shares
  • Follows

Amplification numbers are all about natural growth. In today’s internet culture, people rely heavily on peer recommendations to make purchasing decisions. So when people start following your channels and resharing what you share, that is the social media action you’re looking for.

Conversion Metrics (Best Value)

  • Digital Inquiries
  • Phone Calls
  • Form Fills/Newsletter Sign Up
  • Purchases

If people are calling you, looking up directions, joining newsletters, etc., that means they are stepping closer to a purchasing decision. You’ve earned their trust enough to make them interested, now it’s all about closing the deal. And of course, the best social media action is when someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase.

A Caveat

Certain industries might place somewhat different value on different actions. But these rules are generally true for most businesses.

Good Luck! Here’s an infographic, if you’re more of a visual learner:

social media action metrics