As more financial institutions embark on their social media journey, the need for measurable metrics becomes evident. Management is concerned with data and social media usage produces reams of data. With all this data, it is important to identify the most important social media metrics for financial institutions or risk drowning in a sea of data.

Social media is the digital extension of word-of-mouth advertising. It is a direct connection between financial institutions and customers and should accurately reflect business goals and strategies.

Most Important Metrics

As reported by Ken Paterson of the Mercator Advisory Group, there are “four basic classes of metrics to determine the efficacy of a firm’s social media efforts: online brand visibility, engagement, customer care, and conversion.”

[1] Online Brand Visibility (OBV) is how aware your customers are of your online presence and is measured by:

  • Brand mentions – how many times your brand was mentioned;
  • Share of Voice – comparison of the number of conversations about your brand versus your competitors; and
  • Sentiment – how users feels about your brand based on engagement with your brand.

[2] Engagement is how online users interact with your brand and is measured by:

  • “People Talking About This” – the unique visitors who interact directly with a brand.
  • Reach – the potential number of individuals who could be communicated to through a social network. Reach = (# of “People Talking About This”) X (Number of Facebook friends of the average user); and
  • Engagement Rate – the percentage of an institution’s audience that performs an action based on posts or content.

[3] Customer Care is how well you service your customers’ online communications such as comments, questions, issues, and complaints. It can be measured by:

  • Customer service rating;
  • Speed of response;
  • Response rate; and/or
  • Successful resolution rate.

[4] Conversion Rate is the percentage of users who perform an action based on content from your website or social media sites.

Where Is the Data?

Social media sites are competing for your business and provide lots of free data and reports. A financial institution needs to determine which social media site is best-suited for your business goals and strategies as there is not one platform that can satisfy them all. Choose the best fit and then utilize the metrics they provide.

Facebook is perfect for community outreach as the Pew Research Center states that 71 percent of internet users are on Facebook. The platform is highly effective for public relations activities, promoting products, broadcasting events, and customer conversions.

Facebook provides Insights on the engagement of users with your page. Key metrics include:

  • Page Overview;
  • Promotions – the number of users reached, website clicks, and money spent;
  • Reach – both organic and paid;
  • Page views – demographic breakdown of who is viewing your page;
  • Actions on Page – Get directions, phone numbers, clicks to website, clicks on action button;
  • Video views;
  • People – who was reached by gender, country, and language spoken; and
  • Messages – total number of conversations.

Twitter is a micro-blogging site. Financial Social Media reports that 45 percent of Twitter’s adult account holders engage with financial service firms. Financial institutions can engage with their customers directly to manage relationships and market services.

Twitter Analytics provides a 28 day summary of:

  • Tweets;
  • Tweet Impressions;
  • Profile visits;
  • Followers;
  • Top Tweets;
  • Audience Insights;
  • Video Activity; and
  • Conversion tracking.

LinkedIn is a networking site whose 467 million members are primarily business professionals. BMO Global Asset Management reports that “73 percent of the five million investors that use social media to help with financial decisions rely on LinkedIn as their main source of social financial information – more than Facebook, Google+, and Twitter combined.”

LinkedIn Analytics can evaluate engagement of posts, identify trends, report on demographics, and quantify page traffic and activity. Key metrics include:

  • Updates;
  • Reach;
  • Engagement;
  • Total Followers – organic and acquired;
  • Follower Demographics;
  • Follower Trends;
  • How You Compare;
  • Page views;
  • Career Page clicks;
  • Unique visitors; and
  • Visitor Demographics.

YouTube exhibits videos that can be specialized for branding and education. You can upload product demonstrations, tutorials, training, and pre-recorded interviews with a company’s executives.

The YouTube Dashboard shows the following:

  • Videos posted;
  • Watch time;
  • Subscribers;
  • Audience retention;
  • Demographics;
  • Playback location;
  • Traffic sources;
  • Types of devices played on;
  • Likes & dislikes;
  • Comments; and
  • Number of shares.

Google+ is important for branding and linking to your other social media sites. Use of SEO keywords and phrases will strengthen a company’s results in Google’s search algorithm.

Google+ provides a lot of data, but the four most helpful reports are:

  • Pages report – shows Traffic, time on site, and bounce rate;
  • Navigation summary – reports how they arrived at your page and where they go from there;
  • Traffic from organic search; and
  • Conversions – actions visitors take on your website.

Instagram and Pinterest are less popular among financial institutions, however, they do provide some valuable services and can be utilized for community engagement.

Instagram allows individuals and businesses to share photos, messages, and videos and can be used to advertise your financial institution. They do not provide analytics, however, there are third party suppliers who provide actionable metrics, such as Inconosquare, Simply Measured, and Union Metrics.

Pinterest bills itself as the “world’s category of ideas” and some institutions are starting to use the site to provide supplemental information to customers on their product offerings.

Pinterest Analytics allows you to see the following:

  • What pins and boards people love most;
  • What people save from your site;
  • Demographics; and
  • Devices used to access your site.

Conclusion

All companies engaging in social media need to understand how to leverage each platform to best fit their business goals and strategies. Financial institutions need to pay particular attention to content posting to ensure they remain in compliance with government regulations. For robust customer engagement, it is recommended that financial institutions master one or two of the major platforms, including utilization of their metrics and data, before branching out onto additional sites.