Social media can be a powerful tool to reach diverse audiences. It can also be a big waste of time and effort. How do you know if you’re getting a good return on your investment with social media?

Metrics that matter

Don’t worry about Likes or Followers, it’s the engagement rate that counts. Who cares if you have a lot of fans if they never read, click on, or engage with your messages? Would you rather have 5,000 people who like your page but with only 10% of your audience engaged? Or 2,500 people who like your page with 45% of your audience engaged? Hint: A = 500 people, B = 1,125 people.

If you produce a lot of video content, look for the average view time and the percentage of people who view 50% or more of a video. If 90% of your audience never gets past the first 10 seconds of your videos, this might not be your best investment of resources.

If you’re selling a product or asking people to register for something, set up your analytics to measure conversion rates. You can track exactly how many people came to your website from each social media platform and if they bought your product, signed up for your newsletter, registered for your event, or completed some other measurable action.

Know your audience

Teens (13-17)

  • Snapchat – preferred by 47% of teens. Nielsen research found that 45% of 13-34-year-olds in the US can be found on Snapchat on any given day.
  • Instagram – preferred by 24% of teens. 90 percent of Instagram users are younger than 35.
  • Facebook – preferred by 9% of teens.

Parents

  • Facebook – 45% of U.S. users are between the ages of 25-44, whereas only 3% are between the ages of 13-17.
  • Twitter – 81% of millennials (20-36 year olds) check Twitter at least once per day.
  • LinkedIn – used primarily by professionals in large companies (75% work at companies with 1,000+ employees) and in the finance (12%), medical (12%), education (10%), tech (10%) and manufacturing (8%) fields. The organic reach for a LinkedIn post tends to be higher than Facebook (on average), but the audience is limited.

Older adults

  • Facebook – the overwhelming majority of social users over the age of 65 solely use Facebook. The Pew Research Center found that 36% of people over 65 use Facebook, with LinkedIn a distant second at 11%.