It’s thought that around 95% of millennial social media users follow their favourite brands on the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
If you operate in the hospitality industry, that should give you plenty of impetus to ensure that your social media marketing strategy is on point and delivering results.
But how do you know if it is? How do you know if the posts you schedule each day and all of the time you put into crafting the best possible images for Instagram is actually worth it?
This all comes down to key performance indicators (KPIs). They’re not just for staff appraisals or board meetings; KPIs will ensure your social media marketing is making a tangible difference to your bottom line.
Should I bother with social media?
Spending on social advertising this year is expected to increase to $43 billion in the United States alone. And it doesn’t cost as much as you might think, either. In fact, social ad pricing has been relatively stable since 2018, and the average price paid for an ad to be seen actually fell by 3% in 2019.
Great social media marketing can benefit your business considerably. Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep your brand’s tone of voice both vocal and highly visible, and there’s nowhere better to do that than on social media.
The challenge is that it’s such a vast platform - and there are so many platforms on which you can promote your brand.
So, you should bother with social media - absolutely - but not without a solid KPI base from which to work.
The 4 social media KPIs - quick definitions
If truth be told, these KPIs don’t change much, year-on-year. And that’s a good thing, because it means you don’t have to continually switch them up to make sense of your social media efforts.
Here’s a quick reference guide to the 4 most important social media KPIs for hospitality.
Social media is a huge domain. So big, in fact, that the distance your content travels is an important success metric. Known as ‘reach’, this defines how far and how fast your words, pictures and videos travel.
Arguably the most important KPI. This refers to the number of likes, shares, retweets and comments (to mention but a few metrics) your content receives. Put simply, it’s how popular - or unpopular - you are and feeds every other metric in this list.
3) Lead generation
As a business, there’s little point undertaking a social media strategy if it doesn’t have some form of lead generation built in. Only a portion of your followers and interactions will result in leads, but it’s important to know how many.
The big one: how many sales are a direct result of your social media efforts? This KPI will enable you to attach a revenue figure directly to social media.
Let’s dig deeper.
Social media KPI #1: Reach
Some people might tell you that reach is an old-school metric that can largely be disregarded today.
They’re wrong - big time.
The reach you achieve with your social media marketing campaigns will remain relevant for as long as social media is a ‘thing’. And the reason is simple: reach confirms how far your social posts are travelling and will greatly impact the number of people you attract to your brand.
Low reach isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re getting above average levels of engagement, but if that isn’t the case, it might indicate that you’re simply not putting enough work into social media.
Reach KPI examples
- Impressions. Most social networks will provide an ‘impressions’ figure in their reporting suite. An impression is simply a moment during which your social post or advert appears on someone’s feed; it has given that person a chance to look at and engage with your post. But, did they?
- Followers. This is an easily mis-understood KPI. Lots of followers doesn’t necessarily mean you’re popular or liked - it just means lots of people (or ‘fake’ social media profiles) have clicked the ‘follow’ button on your profile. It’s an indication of how many people are following you and how great your reach could be, but it needs to be compared against all other metrics for a reality check.
- Traffic. If you’re experiencing reach of any kind, it’s important to know if that’s resulting in traffic to your website. If it is, you should be able to see that’s the case in Google Analytics. High reach and low traffic means that you’re probably not chiming with your audience, or the offer to click-through simply isn’t tempting enough.
Social media KPI #2: Engagement
This is the KPI to which all others relate. If you don’t get decent enough levels of engagement on social, you won’t reach a big audience, your ability to generate leads will decrease and, consequently, you’ll probably see zero conversions as a result of your efforts.
Engagement can tell you so much about your marketing campaigns. For instance, if it’s really high but you don’t seem to be getting any leads, your messaging probably isn’t right. Similarly, if you’re enjoying decent reach but a low engagement rate, whatever you’re doing isn’t resonating properly with your audience.
Most experienced marketers will agree that a small, tightly defined and highly engaged audience is much better than a massive audience that simply doesn’t do much with your posts.
Engagement KPI examples
- Likes. To an observer, the number of likes a social media post has directly correlates to how interesting or useful it must be. In hospitality, it can mean the difference between someone choosing to visit your establishment over another. Importantly, the social platform itself is more likely to boost a post’s visibility if it has a high number of likes.
- Clicks. The holy grail. If someone clicks on a link within one of your social posts, you’ve successfully got them interested and started them on the buying journey. Getting clicks is hard, but relies on the best possible calls-to-action (CTAs) and imagery.
- Shares. This is when your followers become your marketing team. By sharing your post, they expose it to an audience you simply can’t reach alone. Shares can increase the reach of your posts exponentially and are another indication that people like what they see.
- Comments. Social media is all about interaction, which is why comments are such an important element of this KPI. Good or bad, comments will really get your posts moving and give you a crucial insight into the likes and dislikes of your audience. How many other KPIs literally talk?
- Profile visits. It’s easy to ignore this metric, but it’s really useful. The more people who visit your profile, the more people there are who clearly want to know more about your brand.
- Active followers. Just like email marketing subscribers, there’s only a portion of your social media following that is actively engaged with you. It’s these people who are more likely to interact with you and, eventually, make that all-important purchase.
Social media KPI #3: Lead generation
If you’re getting great reach and engagement - congratulations; you’ve got what should be a profitable lead generating machine.
A huge follower base, loads of engagement and massive reach is, actually, pretty inconsequential if you get any leads. After all, if your business isn’t making money, that social media prowess isn’t going to be of much use.
This is still the case if you see social media as nothing more than the voice of your company. That voice - just like the voice of your marketing department - should be capable of generating well qualified leads.
How to measure lead generation from social media
This isn’t an easy task, and it’s far from 100% accurate (like most forms of lead generation measurement), but there are some tried-and-tested methods you can use to gain the best bird’s eye view of what’s going on.
Analytics tools like Google Analytics usually attribute a conversion to the last interaction the user had. So, if that wasn’t social media, it won’t get any credit as a lead.
The good news is that Google is aware of this frustrating attribution issue, and has responded by offering a number of reports aimed squarely at determining whether or not social media is resulting in proper leads for your business.
You can find the report in Google Analytics by following this path:
Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels
Social media KPI #4: Conversions
If you’ve done a decent job on social media, those leads you receive will convert. Not all of them, admittedly, but a good proportion of them should.
Measuring conversions is often an internal task due to the many ways in which businesses attribute the word ‘success’ to a closed sale. In hospitality, however, it’s markedly easier thanks to the simple definition of a sale (in most cases).
Conversion KPI examples
Just remember to attribute the conversions below correctly to your social media leads (see note on Google Analytics, above).
- Booked room
- Booked table
- New spa booking
- Function food pre-order
- Wedding booking
- Food delivery order
When businesses claim, “social media doesn’t work for us”, they’re not trying hard enough. It’s a harsh, simple truth which becomes clear when you consider the availability of the KPIs above.
As noted from the outset, the likelihood of these KPIs changing is rather low, so throw yourself wholeheartedly into creating yours safe in the knowledge they’ll serve you well for a long time to come.