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Engagements, Impressions, and Click-Throughs, Oh My: Top Social Media Metrics Explained (And Why They Matter)

Social media is an essential part of a robust content marketing strategy. 

In 2021, this is a tale as old as time. 

A cohesive social media marketing strategy increases engagement with your community, contributes to thought-leadership, builds your brand, and nurtures leads.

But how can you be intentional about your brand’s social media use, and more importantly, how will you know if your efforts are working?

Today, we’ll dive into the inner workings of the social network—we hope you “like” the ride. 

Why Care About Social Media Marketing?

Social media has such profound effects because it’s where people spend the majority of their free time. 

First of all, over 400 billion people are active on social media, and people spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes on social platforms per day. That’s nearly 16 hours a week for your brand to interact with its audience.

Throughout 2020 alone, Americans spent over 1,300 hours doom scrolling and daydreaming on social media. While the pandemic certainly inflated the digital surge, it’s not a trend positioned to dissipate any time soon. 

People’s propensity to get lost in social media, coupled with the fact that over 60% of people view your site on their mobile phone and that 54% of people browse social profiles to research products, suggests that social media is an avenue you need to consider seriously. 

Social media is like a bottle rocket ready for some pink mentos and Coca-Cola to catalyze an explosion. 

Strategic use of social platforms goes well beyond sharing a professional headshot or posting photos of your dog rollicking in the park (though please do that, too). It’s about curating your digital brand, sharing your ideas with others, and engaging with other professionals, colleagues, CIOs, clients, and prospects.

Fundamental Social Media Metrics, Explained

So your brand has been active on social media for a few months now (or even longer), how will you know if what you’re doing is working?

Track your analytics!

Analytics aren’t just for blogs and websites; you can track how each piece of your marketing strategy works together, including social media. 

Social media analytics travel far beyond how many “likes,” “hearts,” and “retweets” appear on each post—but that’s important too! While these visible metrics are essential, several others can provide more enriching data. 

Reach and Impressions

Both reach and impressions are critical metrics for overall brand awareness and public perception. It’s easy to confuse the two, as they measure different aspects of the people who view your content. 

Reach measures the “size” of your audience and describes the number of people who see your post. You can increase your reach by posting at the most opportune time of day—aka probably not on a Saturday afternoon. SproutSocial, for example, found that the best time to post on LinkedIn is between 8 am and 3 pm, with Wednesday offering the most potential for engagement. 

Impressions demonstrate how many times your post came across your audience’s timeline. It measures the number of times your blog post “How To Find Finacial Freedom” popped up on Joe’s timeline, for example. It’s valuable to see your content’s visibility to better understand how many eyes are on your posts. 


Engagement is a momentous metric as it looks at the way your audience interacts with your content. It’s a telling number that can help you gauge your audience’s interest level in the content you put out. Engagement is an encompassing umbrella that looks at the following:

  • Likes, comments, shares
  • The post engagement rate
  • Organic mentions (when an account tags you with @ symbol)

Once you analyze your engagement, you may be surprised by the results. After a few months of posting, you may find that posts with the highest engagement are the ones where you’re a little more personable. Or, perhaps your audience can’t get enough of your investing tips and tricks.

These insights can point to content focus areas— areas where your audience gravitates. Tracking your engagement can help you create more intentional content on social media as well as newsletters and blog content. 

Click-Through Rate

The big kahuna, this metric tracks the number of people who clicked on your content. It compares the number of times someone clicked on your ad or content versus the number of impressions (or how many times someone saw it). 

Increasing your click-through rate, especially for internal blog content, is critical as it brings visitors back to your website. Once visitors are on your site, you have the power to “wow” them with your incredible content, so they keep interacting with you.

All of these metrics influence the other and work together to give you an accurate picture of your “social score.” But these are simply a handful of elements that you can track. There are several more depending on your social media goals. 

In general, improving these areas helps your profile in the following ways

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Boost overall engagement
  • Attract visitors back to your website

Turn Static Posting Into An Active Strategy

As you can start to see, social media can be a powerful addition to your digital marketing strategy. 

But simply setting up a platform and haphazard posting won’t get you where you want to go. You need to have a process behind it. 

Social media is an active and dynamic environment, and you need a plan to match it! Consider the following.

  • What social media platforms do your clients use?
    • Do you need to be on Pinterest or Ticktock? Facebook or LinkedIn? Twitter or Instagram? Know where your audience is so that you can reach them more organically. This might mean trying something new. Don’t be afraid to meet your audience where they are. Social media is yet another opportunity to humanize a brand and provide opportunities for deeper connections. 
  • How frequently do you want to post?
    • The specific platform should influence this question. For example, if you’re on Twitter, you may want to tweet several times per day, whereas, with LinkedIn, you may only post 2-3 times per week. 
  • When is your audience most active on the platform?
    • This question asks you to be intentional about timing your posts. When will your audience consume your posts the most? How can you optimize reach and impressions? Maybe you decide to post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1 pm, as an example. 
  • What types of content do they engage with the most?
    • After a few months, you may notice that your audience gravitates toward your family-focused financial planning topics and isn’t as keen on the hyper-technical stock market analysis. Use this information to build and grow your content long-term.  

Taking stock of all these elements can help you take an active role in shaping your social media story. 

5 Social Media Best Practices

Whether you love or loath social media, a playbook can help you bring more intention and purpose to your strategy. Below are our top social media best practices

Post Less, Engage More

In the world of social media, “talk is cheap” takes on a whole new meaning. Robotically posting to your timeline without engaging in other people’s posts isn’t going to launch you to virtual stardom. 

When in doubt, follow the 80/20 rule—engage 80% and post 20%. What does it mean to engage? Like and comment on other people’s posts, share or retweet something you find interesting, ask questions, start a conversation, etc.

Remember, social media isn’t about trying to tell your story the loudest; it’s about crafting your digital brand and cultivating relationships with a broader audience. 

Variety Is The Spice of Life (and Your Timeline)

Posting the same type of content day in and day out can lull your audience into complacency. Consider doing different types of posts each week to keep your audience interested. 

  • Share new and old blog content.
  • Link to lead magnet or another downloadable element
  • Create a custom graphic with an inspirational quote, words of wisdom, interesting statistic, or another piece of thought-leadership that caught your attention.
  • Post a photo of you and your family at the park enjoying a sun-drenched afternoon.
  • Discuss an upcoming team retreat, continuing education, volunteer day, etc. 
  • Promote a webinar or upcoming event
  • Generate buzz for a website update, redesign, or another internal improvement.    

Your options are limitless! Try out something new and have fun.

Let Your Brand Voice Guide You

In general, social media offers brands a little bit of tonal leniency. Brands can remain true to their core while having a bit of fun. 

While you don’t want to loosen up the language so that the posts don’t feel authentic, you shouldn’t be afraid to interact with your audience less formally. 

One of Dave Ramsay’s recent tweets is an excellent example: “Wealth building is a crockpot, not a microwave.” It’s an accessible and lighthearted metaphor for an important concept. 

Plan and Schedule Posts Each Week

It’s probably unrealistic to expect that you’ll have enough time to curate and post something unique every single day. 

Batch posting comes to the rescue!

Take a look at the other marking initiatives you have throughout the month/quarter. 

  • What type of content are you posting? 
  • What goals do you have? 
  • How can you better shape the narrative? 

Take the answers to these questions and build out social media posts a few weeks in advance. That way, you can create an intentional posting plan and not have to worry about interrupting your lunch break to press publish.

Coordinate Your Posts With Other Marketing Initiatives 

Each piece of your marketing collateral should do its part to shape your brand’s story. While a story comprises many features, they all work together to create a singular experience. 

Marketing is no different. 

Your social media strategy should consider the other elements of your marketing plan like newsletters, webinars, blogging, lead generation, podcasts, video, events, and any other form of content you and your team create.

Live And Let Social 

A comprehensive social media strategy can elevate your brand’s digital presence and foster deeper connections with your audience. 

But a solid social media presence takes more than clicking your heels three times or a magic wand. It’s about developing a consistent, genuine, and exciting strategy that fits your company and audience. 

Are you ready to take your social game to the next level? We’d love to help you craft a strategy that speaks to your audience and aligns with your brand goals.