Evaluating success

The definition of success will vary between each social media strategy – it very much depends on what you hoped to achieve.

Below are some general key performance indicators (KPIs) for social media and an explanation of how they can help to quantify success and shape future strategy. However, these are just a few of the many, many metrics available to quantify social media success. For more advice on this, please contact Corporate Communications.

Reaching your target audience

Research undertaken while developing your social media strategy should have illuminated the best ways to reach your target audience(s) – but how do you prove you have achieved this?

There are two important things you want to track to make sure you are reaching your intended audience: fans and followers, and demographics.

Fans and followers (quantity)

This is your raw audience and you should aim to have these numbers as high as possible. These are the first people that your content will reach – the larger the number, the higher the chances of achieving your goals.

Demographics (quality)

Quantity, however, is not everything. The quality of your fans and followers is also important.

Demographics help you to work out the proportion of your fans and followers that belong to your target audience. This can include age, gender, location, occupation, hobbies and socio-economic status – most social media platforms provide this information.

The higher the proportion of your fans and followers that fit your target audience, the more successful your social media strategy has been, and will be in the future.


The levels of engagement that your posts garner will indicate whether the content you are sharing is of interest to your target audience.

Methods of measuring engagement vary between platforms. On Facebook you are looking for likes, comments and shares; and on Twitter you want favourites, retweets, mentions and replies.

You can also use social listening tools to track your social media mentions. These can help you to monitor not only what is being said about you but – equally as important – by whom.

If you are including links in your posts then it is also worth using a link management tool. This allows you to measure how many clicks your links are getting along with basic demographic information such as location and language.

Google analytics

If you are aiming to drive traffic to your website (as we often are here at the University), it is recommended that you monitor social referrals through Google Analytics and pay attention to visitor behaviour once they have reached your site.

Do social visitors behave differently from other visitors? Exploring this question could highlight differing user needs and, as a consequence, influence the content you share on social media.