How To Tell If You’re Succeeding On Social Media

Contributed by Aubrey Barcena

Most social networks have their own stats platform built in, and most of the time it’s free. They want you to post the best things for their users, so it’s in their interests to help you. It’s also in their interests to keep everyone thinking that they are succeeding, however, so they may not give you the whole story.

For example, Twitter analytics seems geared towards encouraging you to buy Twitter ads.

Quora Stats are all about encouraging you to answer more questions.

Facebook Insights main purpose seems to be about competing with Google in advertising. They, therefore, use their own jargon for everything and provide tons of details you can’t get on Google Ads etc to show their worth.

These are all useful, but at the same time can be distracting. Decide what it is you want from your organic social media, and then see if you are getting it by looking at their stats, not the other way around.

Note: Social media is more of a branding and community building channel than a performance channel. This means you should be aiming to get people to know and like you, rather than necessarily click on your links and buy things.


How to Know if You're Succeeding on Social Media


1. Engagement

Engagement simply means the number of times people have engaged with your content. That includes clicking the link, leaving a comment, sharing your post, or dropping a quick reaction.

There are two ways to find this metric. First is through Facebook Insights.

  • Go to your page
  • Click Insight located just below the search bar
  • Click Post on the left-hand corner
  • Click the drop-down menu under the “Create Post” button and select engagement rate

The second is using a third party Facebook analytics tool like Sprout. As a beginner, however, you might want to stick with Facebook Insight for now.

A higher engagement rate means that the particular post will be promoted by Facebook to your followers as it’s signalling to the algorithm that it’s popular. It’s also important to note that the engagement rate can be divided into sub-categories.

For a more detailed explanation, try this article. It’ll give you a solid idea of how to properly calculate various engagement metrics to give you a clearer picture of what your data is showing you. Also, here are helpful ways to calculate your Twitter Engagement Rate and your Instagram Engagement Rate.



2. Reach

Reach can be found on the left-hand side of the Insight page, between Likes and Page Views. In a nutshell, reach is the number of times your posts are shown on the screen of a unique user.

So let’s say a unique user saw your post twice in one day. That user will only be counted as one. The same goes when you’re calculating for a 7-day or 28-day interval.

There are also two different types of reach:

  • Post Reach – this is the number of times a post from your page has appeared in a unique user’s timeline
  • Page Reach – number of people that saw any of your posts

These two are also divided into three different sub-categories:

  • Organic – this is when your followers are seeing your content whenever you post them. It is entirely handled by Facebook’s algorithm.
  • Viral – when your follower shares your post, and their friends see it, that’s considered a viral reach. A higher viral reach means that your community is actively promoting your content to their feed.
  • Paid – this simply means that your posts are reaching your target audience through paid Facebook ads.

Understanding reach is significant as this will give you a solid idea of how your posts are reaching people on Facebook and what sort of content your audience is responding to. Try to analyze this data to tailor your Facebook ad strategy until you find a formula that balances organic, viral, and paid reach. For a more in-depth explanation about this metric, try reading this post from Maxwell Gollin.


All We Need Is More Likes

Image source:



Although likes are considered a vanity metric, it’s still a good idea to monitor it as it gives you an idea of how much your community is growing over time. The Likes tab is found on the Insight page just between Followers and Reach metric.

If you’re seeing that your audience growth has remained stagnant for months, it can mean several things. One of the possible reasons is that your posts aren’t resonating well with your target audience, meaning that your content needs improvement.

To remedy this, try to observe what your competition is doing and take inspiration from what they’re posting. This doesn’t mean you’re going to copy what they’re publishing.

What it means is that you should consume your competitor’s content with the intent of finding angles that you can expand. You can also look for ideas that are relevant to a certain topic that’s not widely covered by the competition. The idea is to spice up your content to increase your authority and attract more followers.


4. Actions on Page

Action on Page is another metric that provides valuable insight depending on what type of business you’re running. Under this metric are four categories:

  • People who clicked on your Action Button
  • People who clicked to get directions
  • People who clicked your phone number
  • People who clicked on your website

Now, if you’re an online business, you’re probably more concerned about people clicking on your site. But if you’re a local business, your priority is people getting directions to your place or acquiring your contact information.



Understanding these metrics should be a requirement for anyone who is looking to build a presence on social media. And while it can be tough to learn all of them from the start, you’ll eventually become adept at it as you continue to grow your knowledge. Just ensure that you’re always collecting valuable data and comparing it to previous information, then tweaking your approach depending on your findings.


Next: Engagement Rate On Social Media