Brand Reputation

The Most Important Social Media Metrics Explained

In today’s world, brands live and die by their social media marketing. With so many brands vying for customers’ attention, only the best posts have a chance of successfully capturing their audience.

Like we mentioned in our earlier post about social media analytics, diagnostic analysis is the practice – some would say the art – of judging the performance of posts and campaigns through numerical data: likes, shares, comments, et cetera. Although this idea seems simple in theory, it can easily overwhelm newcomers. So many metrics – how do you know which ones are the most important? What do these arcane terms mean? In this article, we’ll explain the most important social media metrics.

The most important social media metrics:

  • Engagement
  • Awareness
  • Share of voice
  • Return on investment


In simple terms, engagement tells you how many people interact with your content. Engagement expresses all of the interactions your audience can have with your profile on any given platform. Likes, shares, retweets – all of these interactions fall under the same umbrella.

High engagement rates mean your brand is healthy and active – after all, there’s no point to having tens of thousands of followers if only a dozen people interact with your marketing campaign.

When measuring engagement, you’re going to be looking at individual metrics such as likes and retweets, as well as post engagement rate totals; account mentions also count as engagement – organic, unprompted mentions of your brand in discussions indicate your brand is on people’s minds.


Speaking of being on people’s minds – awareness, which is actually measured with two metrics, impressions and reach. Both describe the audience your post or campaign has (or may have). Impressions tell you how many people actually saw a given post or a campaign, while reach is the potential maximum number of recipients.

While both of these metrics are useful in judging the potential size of your audience, by itself both impressions and reach don’t actually reveal the real size of your customer base. Just because customers are aware of your brand doesn’t mean they are interested in actually interacting with your brand. Use engagement metrics to accurately estimate how large your customer base is – and use social media listening data to figure out how to increase it. 

Share of voice and sentiment

These two metrics are very often grouped together – for good reason! The share of voice metric describes how much of the online conversation is focused on you as opposed to your competitors. Obviously, you want this metric to be high, but…

…well, what if the reason everybody’s talking about you is because your products are sub-par, or because of a well-publicised customer service mishap? Sentiment refers to the tone of online statements. After all, it’s not enough that they’re talking about you – they should be talking about you in positive terms.

Return on Investment

This is a complicated metric, although it is arguably the most important – return on investment describes the real effects of your social media marketing campaign. Whether it’s website visits (referrals) or purchases (conversions), ROI helps you establish how well your campaigns perform within your audience. Another related and useful metric is the click-through rate (CTR), which tells you how many users clicked on a promoted post.

Return on investment is the end goal of all social media activity – after all, likes and shares are nice, but they don’t keep the lights on. Every preceding metric can help you maximise the amount of people committing to a purchase or signing up for a service, as long as you utilise the information correctly.


Although the amount of metrics and terminology may be slightly overwhelming, modern social media management solutions can make your life slightly easier. Our own offering, SentiOne, can help you find out what the internet at large is talking about and what their opinion of you is. Get in touch with us and schedule your free trial today!