Should I Be Tracking Likes, Comments or Engagement? Your Guide to Decoding Social Insights
Whether you’re after more followers, pushing a product or encouraging comments and conversation, ensuring your social content is hitting its objective is vital – otherwise it’s a waste of effort and time. Here’s how to check if your content is doing its job.By Gemma Plunkett
The social media battle ground can sometimes feel like a highschool popularity contest. Did they like my post? Are there any comments? How many new followers do I have? Stress no more. Say goodbye to the teenage angst and hello to informed insights based on your post’s objectives. Remember, and this perhaps the most important lesson, likes aren't the be all and end all of measuring a post’s performance. Look at the big picture and figure out how best to make your content work for you, and therefore how your audience should behave.
Come across a term you’re not familiar with? No problem. At the bottom of the article is a glossary of words you’ll often read when delving into content insights.
Objective: I want to grow my audience.
What to check: reach, profile visits and follows
The golden objective for most brands is to grow their audience, because generally more followers means more fans and hopefully converting to more readers, diners or online customers. As your numbers crawl up day-to-day, it’s important to check which posts are helping you achieve this. Instagram insights allow you to check if a certain post has brought in any follows by checking the insights page of that post. Post reach plays an important role in this, as when new eyes come across the post, they can be enticed to head to your profile (profile visits) to explore your other content and hopefully swing you a follow while they’re there. Essentially high reach means more profile visits which in turn means potentially more followers. Now, how do you get more people seeing your posts? Keep reading, friends.
Objective: I want more people to see my posts and know my brand.
What to check: reach, impressions, shares and sends.
Post reach is the amount of people who saw your post in their social feed, and it’s what you need to be watching if you’re curious about your visibility. Impressions, rather, are the total number of times that content has been seen (e.g. one person may have seen your post more than once meaning they have two impressions, but a reach of one). The people who follow you will (hopefully) see your post, but you can increase visibility to non-followers by using targeted hashtags, location geotags and profile tags. People who share your content on their stories, send it to their friends or share it on their personal feed or stories will boost your reach and impressions, too. (Creating shareable content, however, isn't as easy as it sounds. Shareable content needs to be engaging, fresh and true to your brand and hey, we can help with that 😏)
Objective: I want people to engage with my posts and start conversations
What to check: likes, comments, shares, saves, sends, engagement rate, video views and story replies.
This is the objective where likes are important. Along with comments, shares, saves and sends, they make up your post’s engagement rate (an overall indicator of how people are interacting with your post). You can get specific, too. If your objective is to start a conversation with your audience, check your comment numbers or story replies. If you’re prioritising *trendy* content, see if people are sharing or saving it. Types of posts (images, videos, carousels) also play a role in engagement. A video post, for example, may not get loads of likes, but could have lots of video views, which is a great sign of audience engagement.
Objective: I want people to read my blog, make a booking or shop on my website.
What to check: website visits, link clicks, calls, get directions, emails
Your social channels are a great way to lure people off the apps and direct them to your website, inbox or old bricks and mortar. Using a CTA (call to action) is how you can direct your audience what you want them to do, such as “head to the link in bio”, “call us to book” or “swipe up to read more”. The success of these CTAs can all be measured by checking the website visits, link clicks, calls, emails or if they’ve got directions to your store. Pretty simple, right?
Not sure what you want your socials to do (or feel like they aren't really doing anything)? Get in touch, we can help! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or download our Channel Menu here to get a taste for some of our strategy packages for brands who want to stand out and cut through.
No fancy reporting software needed – you can see all these stats on Instagram and Facebook.
Likes / Reactions: The number of times a post was liked or reacted to
Comments: The number of comments left on a post - this means people are talking.
Saves: The number of times someone has saved a post on Instagram, meaning they’re likely to share it with a friend, or return later.
Shares: The number of times someone has shared a post to their stories (Instagram)
The number of times a post was shared privately or to another page (Facebook). Both these mean your content is a great performer, and is exciting enough for people to share the news.
Sends: The number of times a post was sent privately to someone else (Instagram), a great marker of audience interest.
Engagement rate: The total number of interactions (likes, comments, sends shares) your content receives divided by your total number of followers, times 100. Most scheduling softwares can generate this for you easily.
Reach: The number of people who saw your post
Impressions: The number of times your post was seen (includes multiple views by the one person).
Video views: The number of times your video has been watched.
Website visits: the number of times people went to your website after seeing your post
Profile visits: the number of times people visited your profile from a post. This should lead to follows!
Follows: the number of accounts that started following you from seeing a post.
Directions: The number of times people got directions to your business’ physical location.
Calls: the number of times people called you from your page, ideally to make a booking.
Emails: the number of times people sent and email to you from your page, again to book themselves in.
Story Replies: the number times people replied to you after seeing a story, this is a great marker of audience engagement and hype!