New Engagement Metrics to Watch in Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

In the ever-changing world of social media marketing, keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and metrics is crucial. While ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ were once the pinnacle of engagement, we have moved into an era where these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. As a small business owner, your focus should be on metrics that truly reflect how well your brand is resonating with your audience. This post will delve into the new engagement metrics you should be paying attention to for effective small business social media marketing.

Why Are Traditional Metrics No Longer Enough?

In the past, social media success was largely determined by vanity metrics like likes, follows, and shares. While these metrics are still useful for gauging general interest and reach, they don’t necessarily paint the full picture of your online performance or audience engagement. The shortcomings of traditional metrics have become especially evident in recent years, with platforms like Instagram even considering the removal of like counts from public view. Let’s dive deeper into why these metrics are no longer sufficient:

Shifting Algorithms

Social media platforms are continuously adjusting their algorithms, affecting how and to whom your content is shown. For instance, Facebook has updated its algorithm to prioritize posts from friends and family over those from brands. This makes the number of likes or shares less indicative of how well your content is genuinely performing.

For a comprehensive understanding of these algorithm changes, Moz has an excellent guide on social media algorithms that is a must-read for any small business owner involved in social media marketing.

The Rise of ‘Fake’ Metrics

There has been a surge in accounts that use fake likes and follows to boost their perceived popularity, making these metrics unreliable. Websites and services that sell these fake metrics have undermined the authenticity of traditional metrics.

Check out this report by The New York Times on the economy of fake likes and follows, and how they can distort social validation metrics.

Beyond Surface-Level Numbers

Likes and follows are surface-level metrics that don’t necessarily translate to conversions or sales. You could have thousands of likes on a post and still not see any measurable increase in website visits or revenue. For this reason, deeper metrics like engagement rate per follower or Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) offer much more actionable insights.

This Forbes article Why Engagement Trumps Reach in Social Media explains why it’s time to shift your focus from traditional metrics to those that truly measure engagement.

Limited Scope of Data

Traditional metrics like likes and follows often don’t tell you much about user behavior or preference. New metrics, on the other hand, can indicate how long someone spent looking at your post, whether they clicked through to your website, or even how much they spent as a result of a social media ad.

To understand more about these ‘engagement metrics,’ the social media management tool Hootsuite offers a comprehensive guide that expands on what each of these metrics are and why they are important.

Understanding these limitations should prompt any small business owner to look beyond likes and follows and dig deeper into metrics that actually convey the level of engagement and, ultimately, the success of their social media marketing strategies.

What New Metrics Should Small Businesses Focus On?

In the ever-changing landscape of social media marketing, small businesses must adapt and refocus their strategies based on metrics that offer real insights. But what are these new metrics and why are they crucial for small businesses? Let’s explore some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) that can truly make a difference in your social media strategy.

Engagement Rate Per Follower

One of the most telling metrics today is the engagement rate per follower. This metric gives you an idea of how actively your followers are interacting with your content, which is much more informative than simply counting likes or shares.

To learn how to calculate this metric for various social media platforms, check out this step-by-step guide by Sprout Social.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate is another important metric to track. It’s the ratio of users who click on a specific link in your post to the number of total users who view the post. A high CTR usually indicates that your content is effective in encouraging action, leading your audience further down the sales funnel.

Neil Patel provides a deep dive into CTR and how to improve it for better conversions.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate focuses on how many click-throughs or interactions actually resulted in your desired outcome, such as making a purchase or filling out a contact form. This is crucial for small businesses because it directly correlates to ROI.

For a complete guide on conversion rate optimization, including tips tailored for social media, visit CXL Institute’s comprehensive article.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Understanding the Customer Lifetime Value allows you to estimate the total revenue a customer will bring during their entire lifetime. This can help you allocate your marketing budget more effectively, aiming for long-term customer relationships rather than one-off sales.

Harvard Business Review has a must-read article that explains why CLV is an essential metric and how to calculate it accurately.

Share of Voice

Share of Voice (SOV) represents your brand’s share of conversations in your industry or niche. This includes mentions, shares, and other types of engagements compared to your competitors. SOV gives you an idea of your brand’s positioning in the market and how well you’re doing in capturing audience attention.

Learn more about Share of Voice and how to measure it with this guide from Brandwatch.

Average Response Time

The average time it takes for your brand to respond to customer queries or comments can be a significant indicator of your customer service quality. In today’s fast-paced digital world, customers expect quick and effective responses.

For tips on how to improve response times on social media, Social Media Examiner has an insightful article on the subject.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS measures customer experience and predicts business growth by asking one simple question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” This score can offer insights into your customers’ loyalty and satisfaction.

Qualtrics offers a comprehensive guide on how to use NPS effectively, especially within the context of social media marketing.

By understanding and implementing these new metrics, small businesses can vastly improve the effectiveness of their social media marketing campaigns. So, don’t rely solely on outdated metrics; instead, focus on these KPIs to build a more robust and informed strategy for your brand.

Below is a table that compares the new metrics in terms of why they are important, who should use them, and where to find them or how to measure them.

MetricWhy Is It Important?Who Should Use It?Where to Measure or How to Learn More
Engagement Rate Per FollowerOffers insights into how actively followers interact with content, beyond likes and shares.Social Media Managers, Marketing TeamsSprout Social’s Guide
Click-Through Rate (CTR)Indicates content effectiveness in driving actions, an important factor in lead generation and conversions.Digital Marketers, Content CreatorsNeil Patel’s CTR Guide
Conversion RateDirectly correlates to ROI, informing you how many interactions lead to desired outcomes like sales.Small Business Owners, E-commerce ManagersCXL Institute’s Guide
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)Allows budget allocation for long-term customer relationships, rather than one-off sales.Business Analysts, Marketing StrategistsHarvard Business Review
Share of Voice (SOV)Provides a snapshot of your brand’s standing in industry conversations relative to competitors.PR Teams, Brand ManagersBrandwatch’s SOV Guide
Average Response TimeIndicates quality of customer service; faster response times can lead to higher customer satisfaction.Customer Service TeamsSocial Media Examiner’s Tips
Net Promoter Score (NPS)Measures customer loyalty and satisfaction, predicts business growth.Customer Experience Managers, ExecutivesQualtrics NPS Guide

These new metrics offer invaluable insights that go far beyond traditional measures.

How to Measure These New Metrics?

The next logical question that comes to mind is, how do you go about measuring these new metrics? Understanding the metrics is only half the battle; implementing them in a way that offers actionable insights is key for small businesses looking to optimize their social media marketing strategy. Here are some tools and methods to consider:

Use Analytic Platforms

One of the most straightforward ways to measure these new metrics is by using social media analytic platforms. Tools like Google Analytics, Sprout Social, and HubSpot provide robust tracking and reporting features that can give you a deep dive into these key performance indicators.

For beginners, Google’s Academy for Ads offers a free course on how to use Google Analytics effectively.

Here’s a table that provides an overview of various tools that can be used for this purpose, what they specialize in, and their pricing:

MetricRecommended ToolsSpecializationPricingWhere to Learn More
Engagement Rate Per FollowerSprout Social, HootsuiteComprehensive social media management and analyticsStarts at $99/month for Sprout Social, $29/month for HootsuiteSprout Social, Hootsuite
Click-Through Rate (CTR)Google Analytics, SEMrushWeb analytics, SEO and PPCFree for Google Analytics, Starts at $119.95/month for SEMrushGoogle Analytics, SEMrush
Conversion RateOptimizely, HotjarA/B Testing, HeatmappingStarts at $50/month for Optimizely, Free tier available for HotjarOptimizely, Hotjar
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)HubSpot, SalesforceCRM, Customer SegmentationStarts at $50/month for HubSpot, $25/month for SalesforceHubSpot, Salesforce
Share of Voice (SOV)Brandwatch, MentionSocial Listening, Brand MonitoringCustom Pricing for Brandwatch, Starts at $29/month for MentionBrandwatch, Mention
Average Response TimeZendesk, FreshdeskCustomer Service, TicketingStarts at $5/agent/month for Zendesk, $15/agent/month for FreshdeskZendesk, Freshdesk
Net Promoter Score (NPS)Qualtrics, SurveyMonkeyCustomer Feedback, SurveysCustom Pricing for Qualtrics, Free tier available for SurveyMonkeyQualtrics, SurveyMonkey

Before committing to a tool, it’s a good idea to take advantage of any free trials or demos to ensure that it meets your needs.

A/B Testing

A/B testing involves creating two different versions of your content to see which one performs better based on a specific metric, such as CTR or conversion rate. This is a highly effective way to directly measure the impact of changes to your social media campaigns.

To understand how to implement A/B testing specifically for social media, take a look at AdEspresso’s comprehensive guide.

Customer Surveys

Sometimes, the best way to measure metrics like Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) or Net Promoter Score (NPS) is to go directly to the source: your customers. Various tools can help you conduct these surveys, such as SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics.

For an in-depth look at how to create effective customer surveys, Qualtrics offers a guide that can be particularly useful for small businesses.

Monitor Customer Interactions

To calculate Average Response Time, you’ll need to monitor customer interactions on your social media channels. Many Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software suites offer this capability. Brands like Zendesk or Salesforce can help you keep track of this metric effectively.

Salesforce’s blog provides insights on how to measure customer service metrics like Average Response Time.

Benchmark Against Competitors

When measuring metrics like Share of Voice, you also need to understand how your competitors are performing. Tools like Brandwatch and SEMrush can help you analyze your Share of Voice relative to your competitors in the industry.

SEMrush’s blog has an article outlining how to effectively benchmark against your competitors, which is a must-read for small businesses.

Invest in Training

Lastly, these metrics are only as valuable as your ability to interpret them. Consider investing in training for your team. Many online platforms, such as Coursera and Udemy, offer courses on social media analytics.

Udemy’s Social Media Analytics Course is an excellent resource to get started on understanding these metrics in-depth.

If you’re looking to decide on a training tool for your business or personal needs, the following table provides an overview of different training tools, their specialization, pricing, and additional features. This should help you make an informed decision.

Training ToolSpecializationPricingAdditional FeaturesWhere to Learn More
UdemyBroad Range of TopicsStarts at $9.99/courseCertificates of Completion, Mobile AppUdemy
CourseraAcademic and Professional CoursesFree to $79/monthAccreditation, Mobile AppCoursera
LinkedIn LearningBusiness and Tech Skills$29.99/month or $239.88/yearLinkedIn Profile Integration, CertificatesLinkedIn Learning
PluralsightTech and Software DevelopmentStarts at $29/monthSkill Assessments, Learning PathsPluralsight
MasterClassCelebrity-Taught Classes$180/yearHigh Production Value, Workbook IncludedMasterClass
edXAcademic Courses from UniversitiesFree to $300/courseVerified Certificates, MicroMasters ProgramsedX
CodecademyCoding and ProgrammingStarts at $19.99/monthInteractive Learning, ProjectsCodecademy
SkillshareCreative SkillsStarts at $8.25/monthCommunity Features, Short ClassesSkillshare
A Cloud GuruCloud ComputingStarts at $35/monthReal-world Labs, Exam SimulatorsA Cloud Guru
SimplilearnProfessional Certification TrainingCourse-specific PricingLive Online Training, Exam VouchersSimplilearn

This table summarizes some of the best platforms available for various types of training.

By implementing these measurement methods and tools, you can take a more data-driven approach to your social media marketing, enabling more effective decision-making and strategy optimization for your small business.

Are These New Metrics Universal?

Another vital question to ponder is the universality of these new metrics. Can they be applied across various social media platforms and industries, or are they specific to certain niches? Well, the answer is a bit of both, and here’s why:

Platform-Specific Metrics

Certain metrics are platform-specific, meaning they are only applicable to a particular social media channel. For example, “Saves” is a key metric on Instagram but doesn’t exist on platforms like Twitter. Similarly, “ReTweets” and “Likes” are Twitter-specific metrics that you won’t find on LinkedIn.

Here’s a table that outlines whether these new metrics are universal, as well as some platform-specific metrics you might consider.

MetricsUniversal?Facebook SpecificInstagram SpecificTwitter SpecificLinkedIn SpecificWhere to Learn More
Engagement Rate Per FollowerYesPage Engagement RateEngagement Rate by ReachEngagement RateEngagement RateSprout Social
Click-Through Rate (CTR)YesLink Click-Through RateBio Link Click-Through RateLink Clicks RateSponsored Content CTRNeil Patel
Conversion RateYesOff-Facebook Conversion RateInstagram Shopping Conversion RateWebsite Conversion RateConversion TrackingCXL Institute
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)YesFacebook Value OptimizationN/AN/AN/AHarvard Business Review
Share of Voice (SOV)YesBrand MentionsBrand MentionsBrand MentionsBrand MentionsBrandwatch
Average Response TimeYesFacebook Messenger Response TimeTime to First Response in DMsTime to First ReplyInMail Response TimeSocial Media Examiner
Net Promoter Score (NPS)YesN/AN/AN/AN/AQualtrics
Cost Per Click (CPC)NoYesYesYesYesWordStream
ImpressionsNoYesYesYesYesGoogle Analytics
Video ViewsNoYesYesYesYesTubular Insights


  • “Universal?” indicates whether the metric is commonly used across multiple platforms.
  • “Platform-Specific Metrics” are metrics that are uniquely important or only available on a specific platform.

For a comprehensive guide on platform-specific metrics, Hootsuite’s platform-by-platform guide is a valuable resource.

Industry-Specific Metrics

Depending on your business type, some metrics may be more important than others. A B2B company may focus more on LinkedIn metrics like “Profile Visits” or “Post Clicks,” whereas a B2C retailer would prioritize Instagram metrics like “Engagement Rate” or “Story Exits.”

Below is a table that lists common metrics that are particularly relevant for specific industries. This table will help businesses understand what to focus on based on their industry type.

MetricsRetailHealthcareReal EstateHospitalityFinanceFood & BeverageEducationWhere to Learn More
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)YesYesYesYesYesYesYesInvestopedia
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)YesYesYesYesYesYesYesHarvard Business Review
Engagement RateYesYesNoYesNoYesYesSprout Social
Click-Through Rate (CTR)YesYesYesYesYesYesYesNeil Patel
Bounce RateYesNoYesYesYesYesNoGoogle Analytics
Average Order Value (AOV)YesNoNoYesNoYesNoOmniconvert
Patient Satisfaction ScoreNoYesNoNoNoNoNoHealthcare Success
Lead-to-Lease Conversion RateNoNoYesNoNoNoNoProperty Management Insider
Net Promoter Score (NPS)YesYesYesYesYesYesYesQualtrics
Guest Satisfaction ScoreNoNoNoYesNoNoNoReviewPro
Investment ROINoNoNoNoYesNoNoInvestopedia
Course Completion RateNoNoNoNoNoNoYesEducause


  • “Yes” indicates that the metric is important for the respective industry.
  • “No” suggests that the metric may not be as crucial for that particular industry.

Make sure to focus on the metrics that are most relevant to your specific industry. Each industry has unique KPIs that better reflect their business goals and customer behaviors.

For tips tailored to your industry, Sprout Social’s industry benchmark report is an excellent place to start.

Adaptation of Metrics

These new metrics are not set in stone and often evolve with changes in user behavior and technological advancements. What’s relevant today might be obsolete tomorrow, so it’s crucial for small businesses to stay updated. Websites like Social Media Examiner and Marketing Land often publish articles on the latest trends and metrics.

The table below provides an overview of how adaptable certain metrics are across various platforms and industries. The aim is to help businesses understand which metrics can be universally applied and which are more niche or platform-specific.

MetricsFacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedInYouTubeRetailHealthcareReal EstateWhere to Learn More
Engagement RateHighHighMediumMediumLowHighMediumLowSprout Social
Click-Through Rate (CTR)HighMediumLowHighMediumHighHighHighNeil Patel
Conversion RateHighHighMediumHighHighHighHighHighCXL Institute
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)MediumMediumLowLowHighHighHighMediumHarvard Business Review
Share of VoiceHighHighHighHighHighMediumLowLowBrandwatch
Average Response TimeMediumHighHighMediumLowHighHighMediumSocial Media Examiner
Net Promoter Score (NPS)LowLowLowLowMediumHighHighHighQualtrics


  • “High” indicates that the metric is highly adaptable and useful for the respective platform or industry.
  • “Medium” suggests that the metric may be useful but is not a critical performance indicator for that platform or industry.
  • “Low” indicates that the metric is not typically used or not highly relevant for the platform or industry.

By understanding the adaptability of these metrics, you can better tailor your data tracking efforts based on the platforms you use and the industry you’re in.

For continuous learning, you might consider subscribing to Neil Patel’s Marketing School Podcast, which frequently covers the latest metrics and how to apply them.

Cultural and Geographical Considerations

Sometimes metrics can be influenced by the cultural and geographical regions your business targets. What works in the United States may not necessarily work in Japan. There are tools and resources like Geckoboard that offer geographical breakdowns of various metrics.

The following table provides insights into the adaptability of certain metrics across different regions and cultures.

MetricsNorth AmericaEuropeAsia-PacificLatin AmericaAfricaMiddle EastCultural SensitivityGeographical AdaptabilityWhere to Learn More
Engagement RateHighHighMediumHighLowMediumHighHighSprout Social
Click-Through Rate (CTR)HighHighHighMediumMediumLowMediumHighNeil Patel
Conversion RateHighHighMediumHighLowMediumHighMediumCXL Institute
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)HighMediumLowMediumLowLowLowLowHarvard Business Review
Share of VoiceHighMediumMediumLowLowLowLowMediumBrandwatch
Average Response TimeMediumHighHighMediumMediumLowHighMediumSocial Media Examiner
Net Promoter Score (NPS)HighHighMediumLowLowLowMediumLowQualtrics


  • “High” indicates that the metric is highly adaptable and useful for the respective region or culture.
  • “Medium” suggests that the metric may be useful but is not a critical performance indicator for that region or culture.
  • “Low” indicates that the metric is not typically used or not highly relevant for the region or culture.

By taking into account these cultural and geographical considerations, you can better customize your social media marketing strategies for specific target audiences.

For a comprehensive look into the global differences in social media engagement, the We Are Social and Hootsuite’s Digital Report is an eye-opener.

Fine-Tuning is Key

While many of these new metrics are universally valuable, the key to effective social media marketing is customization. Your business should not only adopt these metrics but also adapt them to suit your specific needs. Resources like Google’s Data Studio allow for customization of your analytics dashboard, so you can focus on what’s important for your business.

In summary, while some new metrics may have broad applicability, the best approach for any small business is to selectively implement those that align closely with their specific goals, industry norms, and target audience. By understanding the nuances and staying updated, you can better tailor your social media marketing strategy for optimal success.

FAQs: New Engagement Metrics to Watch in Small Business Social Media Marketing

Metrics can be confusing, especially with the constant influx of new ones that promise to revolutionize your understanding of customer engagement. Let’s address some common questions that small business owners have about these new engagement metrics.

What Are ‘Micro-Moments’ and Why Are They Important?

Micro-moments refer to specific points in a customer’s journey where they turn to the internet for quick answers. Understanding these moments can help you tailor your content and advertisements more effectively. Google has an in-depth guide on Micro-Moments that’s well worth the read for any small business owner.

How Does Video Engagement Differ from Text or Image Engagement?

Video is quickly becoming the preferred form of content, and the metrics for video can differ from those for text or images. You might look at ‘Video View Completion Rates’ or ‘Average Percentage Watched’ to measure the efficacy of your video content. Platforms like Vimeo offer specialized video analytics.

What is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and How Do You Calculate It?

Customer Lifetime Value measures the total worth of a customer over the entire period they’re associated with your business. Knowing this figure can inform you on how much to spend on customer retention versus acquisition. For a step-by-step guide on calculating CLV, check out this Harvard Business Review article.

What is Social Share of Voice (SSoV)?

Social Share of Voice measures your brand’s share of social conversations relative to your competitors. It helps you understand how your brand is positioned within your industry’s social discussions. Tools like Brandwatch can help you measure SSoV accurately.

Is ‘Scroll Depth’ a Useful Metric?

Scroll Depth can provide insights into how much of your content is actually being consumed. If users generally only scroll through 25% of a page, your most critical content should be in that top quartile. Crazy Egg’s Scroll Map is a useful tool for tracking this metric.

Are Emoji Reactions Important?

Believe it or not, emoji reactions can be a more nuanced way of understanding audience sentiments compared to likes or shares. They offer a broader range of emotional responses, from love and laughter to anger or sadness. Emojics has a great article explaining the importance of emojis in social media marketing.

Can These New Metrics be Automated?

Yes, automation tools like Buffer and Sprout Social offer features that can track these new metrics and integrate them into comprehensive reports. Automation not only saves time but ensures that you don’t miss out on any critical data.

How Often Should I Review These Metrics?

A regular review is crucial. Some metrics might need daily tracking, such as during a marketing campaign, while others like CLV or SSoV can be monitored on a monthly or quarterly basis. You should also align your review schedule with any industry-specific seasonal trends or cycles.

What Are Vanity Metrics and Should I Ignore Them?

Vanity metrics, like page views or follower counts, might look good on paper but don’t necessarily correlate with business objectives like sales or customer retention. Be cautious about putting too much stock into these. For more on this, read Neil Patel’s take on vanity metrics.

By addressing these FAQs, you can gain a nuanced understanding of the new engagement metrics to watch in small business social media marketing. The key is to stay informed and adapt your strategies as new metrics emerge, ensuring your marketing efforts remain both effective and efficient.

That wraps up our detailed look at the new engagement metrics that are redefining success in social media marketing. Stay tuned as we venture into our next exciting topic, “8.4 Preparing for the Next Big Shift,” where we’ll explore how small businesses can anticipate and adapt to the ever-changing social media landscape.

Roger Lopez
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