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What KPIs Mean to Social Marketers

We wanted to create a space where social marketers could dig deeper into trending topics and learn a little more each week, so we decided to host #SimplyChat on Twitter. A few weeks ago we took to Twitter with a poll to ask what our audience wanted to chat about.

There was a tie, so we decided to cover both! We covered creative brainstorming in the Twitter chat before this. You can find the recap here. This week we discussed KPIs. Here’s what our Twitter community learned.

Q1: What are #KPIs and how are they related to social metrics?

Takeaway: Key performance indicators are metrics that relate to your business objectives. This metrics map will help you draw the line from a social objective to the impact social activities have on your business.  

Let’s talk through the social metrics map of a buyer in the awareness phase of the marketing funnel. The objective for a social marketer is to create brand awareness. To do this, a social marketer needs to consistently push out relevant content to their brand’s target audience. They can measure their progress by tracking how many impressions each of their posts gets through a certain period. This is relevant for the business because it speaks to the brand’s share of voice. Share of voice is important for brands because it’s a way for a brand to know how they compete with other business. For example, if for some reason people on social media started mentioning Adidas more than they did Nike when they used the hashtag #JustDoIt, Nike would need to create a marketing strategy to reclaim their branded hashtag.

Q2: Why would you set #KPIs?


Takeaway: The intention behind setting KPIs is to improve performance, motivate team members, and use them as a communication tool.

KPIs improve performance because they give team members a specific goal to shoot for. KPIs motivate team members because when they achieve goals they had to work hard for, they will want to keep working.

Because KPIs are common goals for your team, they are a great communication tool; they keep conversations professional. Performance conversations can be hard if someone on your team isn’t hitting their goals. But, with KPIs, if a manager sticks to the data, feedback can be drained of its personal edge.

For example, rather than telling someone they are falling behind and not meeting a goal, a manager can say, “We are 50% through Q3. You are 20% to your goal. What can we do to get you closer to that number?”

KPIs have a major impact on team performance. This means you need to be setting the right KPIs for your team. We’ll address what can happen if you set the wrong KPIs in the next section.

Q3: Can KPIs have a negative impact?


Takeaway: To prevent your KPIs from having a negative impact on your team, they need to be customized to your company, industry, or team goals.

For example, if a social media manager’s job was to only promote content, holding him or her accountable for the amount of time spent on your site could be frustrating, because your social media manager doesn’t have control over the content he or she is pushing out. Instead, a KPI your social media manager should be accountable for is the amount of traffic driven to your site from social. We’ll be addressing how to set the right KPIs in the next question.

Q4: What are questions to ask when creating KPIs?

Takeaway: Keep in mind why and how you are putting together KPIs.  

  • Why are we going after these particular KPIs?
  • How will holding ourselves accountable for these metrics be beneficial?
  • How will we work towards our KPIs?
  • How will this impact our business?
  • How often will we be checking in on our progress? Why?

In order to be sure you are setting the right KPIs, you need to be asking the right questions.

Q5: Where can we go to learn more about KPIs?

Takeaway: It’s important to get well-rounded information about setting KPIs so that you can make the right decisions for your team. For example, KPIs set for the sales team will be different from KPIs set for the marketing team in the same company. The KPIs you set will be used to motivate your team. What incentivizes one team might not sit well with another.

If you like what you read here and want to be a part of the conversation, join us this Thursday at 11 AM PST for a chat on user-generated content!

Laurie Anne Nilo

I'm the Social Media Manager here at Simply Measured. I love all things wellness, coffee, watercolor, and travel.

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