KPIs is the universal language of business runners. Regardless of where in the world your company operates, talking to the management in KPIs is the most sure-fire way to get your message across.

Digital marketers are too familiar with the struggle: it’s little use reporting on your progress in social media engagement if you can’t tie it to conversions. The good news is if you’re using social listening tools in your marketing work, KPI insights are very much within your reach, with no extra resources required.

Social media listening is the shortcut to the world’s largest database of consumer insights that is social media. By tracking and analyzing every mention of your brand or product online, you get to know your customers like never before. Tapping into raw user data analytics brings intel on major aspects of product and business development:

  • Brand awareness — how recognizable your company and products are;
  • Market share — how much of the market you’re holding;
  • Customer satisfaction — how happy customers are with your services;
  • Net promoter score — how likely they are to spread the good word about you;
  • Conversion rate — how many of your leads make a purchase.

Naturally, you won’t find business KPIs per se in your social listening dashboard. Social listening tools were developed with social listening metrics in mind; therefore, you need to know which metrics correspond to which KPIs. This is the only encoding system you’ll need to learn — the rest is self-explanatory and easily available in your social listening tool.

Let me walk you through social listening metrics that correspond to business KPIs.

1. Reach ⟶ Brand awareness

Measuring brand awareness is the starting point of any business planning. Before you set off to conquer or re-conquer the market, you need to know how recognizable your brand is. The social listening metric reflective of brand recognition is Reach.

Reach is the number of impressions your brand mentions generate. The reason this metric reflects brand awareness much better than the sheer number of brand mentions is that not all brand mentions work the same. The more popular an author is on social media, the more exposure their mentions get. Hence, a brand mention from an influencer may be worth a thousand mentions from non-influencers.

Total reach of brand mentions over 7 days. Screenshot from Awario.

By looking at the Reach metric, you get an idea of the total exposure to your brand people get online. Big mentions and small, you’ll know how many impressions they generated, therefore assessing your brand awareness as such.

Share of voice ⟶ Market share

Share of voice is next of kin to market share. It shows brand mentions in perspective, i.e. how much a brand is mentioned online compared to its competitors. Back in the day, the Share of voice metric indicated advertising efforts only. Today, it’s an assessment of your brand’s total online visibility benchmarked against competitors’.

Shares of voice of video streaming services. Screenshot from Awario.

Because the number of mentions is not as telling as their total reach, Share of voice is based on both metrics. It’s derived from the overall volume of conversations around your brand + the impressions they generate. With social listening tools, you get to measure Share of voice of your direct competitors and by doing so determine the market share each of them is holding.

Sentiment score ⟶ Customer satisfaction

The sentiment of brand mentions is the ratio of positive to negative feedback your company and products receive. In contrast to customer surveys that are resource-demanding and don’t always reflect the full picture, measuring mentions’ sentiment via social listening is a reliable way of learning how happy/unhappy your customers are. This is also a legit indicator of your brand health.

The Sentiment graph. Screenshot from Awario.

Social listening tools are built to analyze brand mentions and determine the shares of positive, negative, and neutral mentions. Because mentions monitoring is non-stop and fully automated, you get to assess customer satisfaction at any given point. Keeping tabs on the sentiment graph is also the safest way to prevent reputation crises.

4. Share of positive mentions ⟶ Net Promoter Score

The number of positive mentions might not be a straightforward choice in determining NPS. Yet when we take a closer look at the mechanics, it becomes clear that social listening tools got this one right as well.

Social listening operates with publicly available posts. This means that brand mentions found on social media come from public accounts accessible to all users of any given platform. And since social listening tools can tell positive and neutral mentions apart, explicitly positive mentions are essentially recommendations people give to other social media users.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the share of positive mentions is your Net Promoter Score. To double-check your facts and retrieve individual posts promoting your products and services, you can always refer to the Mentions feed and filter out positive mentions only. Then you can go through posts and meet your brand advocates, including social media influencers.

5. Number of leads ⟶ Conversion rate

Leads is your secret weapon in justifying the need for a social listening tool in your marketing work. It’s also one of the most time-consuming objectives: you need to find leads and then take them all the way to a purchase. Luckily, social listening tools take care of half the job here. They identify leads and give you the tools to close the deal.

Lead generation is one of the most impressive use cases of social listening. The algorithm works in a way that combines your product description and competitor brands. What you get as a result is a live feed of people looking for a product like yours or complaining about your competition.

Leads feed for Spotify. Screenshot from Awario.

Naturally, the number of leads identified is not conversion rate per se. However, if you engage with the mentions right away (which you can do without leaving the app) and keep track of the results, you get a reliable conversion rate. A little extra work, yes, but once you have a leads workflow set up, calculating your conversion rate becomes a matter of a few clicks.

Wrapping up

KPIs can be a bother to get, let alone get them right. Social listening is a brilliant and completely user-friendly way to seize business KPIs simply by keeping brand monitoring going. I hope my list of social listening metrics gives you new ideas on using your social listening tool to translate marketing efforts into the universal language of business KPIs.

Read more: What Is Social Listening and Why Is It Important?