Social media metrics defined

Influencer Marketing
Social Media Marketing



Marketing is a numbers game. And when it comes to social media marketing, brands want all the numbers: how many people their content reached, how many people engaged with it, who the audience was and most importantly, if the content achieved its intended goal. With built-in analytics and reporting, most social media platforms have made finding and exploring this data relatively easy. But what does it all mean? Here’s a breakdown of social media metrics terminology to make reading those reports just a little bit easier.



This is promotion that happens organically and at no cost to the brand. Earned influence is when a consumer loves a product enough to promote it on their own channels without any incentive. It’s the most genuine and authentic form of influencer marketing as the poster is solely motivated by their passion for the product. Each time this happens it also counts as a brand mention, which is when a brand is mentioned online in a blog, vlog, post or article.


Sally is a runner and a nano-influencer with 2,000 Instagram followers. She recently purchased a pair of XYZ running shoes and loves them. After her first run with her new shoes, Sally posts a picture of herself in her new shoes and tags XYZ. Since the brand XYZ was tagged in a social post where a consumer shared her positive brand experience just because she wanted to — that’s earned influence.



Unlike earned influence, this type of social media advertising is not free. In fact, marketers compensate carefully selected influencers to promote their brand or product. Keep in mind, these influencers must legally disclose they’re paid for their promotions.


XYZ has decided to increase their social media marketing budget and have selected an influencer with 50,000 followers, Bobby, to represent their brand. They negotiate the terms, conditions and compensation and Bobby creates a post a praising XYZ shoes with #ad in the caption. Unlike what happened with Sally, XYZ just paid to influence Bobby’s followers.



This is how many individuals see a piece of content. In an ideal world, an influencer with 10,000 followers would reach at least 10,000 people with every post. However, due to social media algorithms and audience behavior, not all of their followers will see every post. So keep in mind, the number of followers does not always equal reach.


XYZ’s partnered post with Bobby has the potential to reach 50,000 people but that’s unlikely. While Bobby has that many followers, he has no control over how many of his followers each of his posts will reach.



When it comes to reach, it’s important to note how many people were reached organically and how many were reached through paid promotions. With social media, the audience a brand reaches through compensating the promoter is paid reach. Meanwhile, organic reach is the number of people reached from the brand’s own account.


If Bobby’s post reaches 10,000 people and XYZ’s post on their own account reaches 4,000, XYZ’s paid reach is 10,000 while their organic reach is 4,000.



On social media, every time person likes, comments, shares or reacts to a post, that’s considered engagement. Engagement rates help brands identify what percentage of followers engage with their content. This is done by dividing engagement by number of followers or audience size.


If 100 of Sally’s 2,000 followers engage with her XYZ post, her engagement rate for that post is 5%. While this number looks dismal, it’s actually much higher than the industry average of 1.97%.


Social media metrics can be overwhelming. While follower count seems to dominate our attention, there are many other numbers that can help a brand measure success. Feel free to explore our blog and glossary to better understand social media marketing. And if you have any questions about building your brand with influencers, just reach out.

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