How do I know if social media is working for my business?

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How do I know if social media is working for my business?

If you’ve just starting to integrate social media with your business communications, you may be wondering if it’s working or not.

Did you know that only 47% of small businesses in Alberta use social media? According to the ATB Business Beat Survey completed in 2017, the main reasons Alberta businesses use social media is to advertise, communicate and engage with customers, share promotions, stay relevant and generate leads. On the flip-side, the main reasons 53% of Alberta businesses do not use social media is because they felt it’s not relevant to their business, see value but lack resources, don’t understand it and don’t like it. No matter which side you fall on, it is important to know if social media is having a positive impact on your business. Approximately 58% of Alberta businesses using social media have an employee designated to manage it, 57% have owners taking care of it, 22% have all employees involved, while 19% have an external company or part-time consultant. Here’s the thing, if you’re allocating resources (time, people, money) it is important to know if it’s working!

Where do we start?

Believe it or not, we’re going to start from the end and work our way back. The number one thing you must consider if what does success look like via social? As you think about that, it should be aligned with your overall business objectives. What do you want to accomplish with social media? How can social media support your overall business objectives and goals?


Let’s pretend you’re a local ice cream business and you want to increase foot traffic to the shop.

Social Media Goals:

  • Increase awareness by getting 25% more people talking about the business on Facebook (comments)
  • Get 2x people sharing the message to their networks via Facebook (sharing)
  • Increase the number of people visiting the store by 25% (via Facebook)


  • Post 2-3x per week; test content types.
  • Share Coupon on Facebook for people to present at store.
  • Post messages encouraging check-ins; perhaps try some contesting.
  • Run a Snapchat Geofilter.

Measurement: (use UTM)

  • How many shares do key posts have during time frame?
  • What does the reach look like?
  • Where is our audience coming from? (are they local?)
  • Comments/Likes (increase/decrease from previous period?)
  • Number of coupons redeemed?
  • Number check ins?
  • Number of Geofilter uses?


  • Conversion Rate
  • Conversation Rate
  • Amplification Rate

How do we get all of this information?

Social media data can be challenging to access because you’ll have to grab it from several places manually (unless you have a big budget for analytics software.) To begin, think simple. Grab the data right in your social channels. For example, in Facebook look at ‘Insights’. By clicking on Facebook posts, you can see how many comments, likes, shares and reactions there are. This will help you determine your Conversation Rate and Amplification Rate. (Conversation rate = # of comments/replies per post; Amplification Rate = # of shares per post) Your conversion rate would be tracked offline through either physically tracking coupons or within your POS software.

It’s important not to discount small data. Small data are pieces of information that don’t live in an algorithm, and requires you to listen to what’s happening.  Are people visiting the shop and telling you that they heard about you online, or saw your content on Facebook? This can be a good indication that what you’re doing on social media is working!

We know that you can’t run a business on likes, tweets, retweets or shares but it is important to increase your awareness (which hopefully leads to new business!) And equally as important to track what you can. Knowing your goals makes it much easier to know whether your social media efforts are proving positive or not!

Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay is a Marketing Strategist, Writer + Speaker known for her no-nonsense approach to pretty much everything. Using data insights, she helps organizations market more effectively to get results that matter. She's also a high-scoring instructor at Mount Royal University, where she teaches Social Media Analytics and Google Analytics + Marketing Measurement. She holds certifications from Google, as well as Facebook and is currently working toward a specialization in Marketing Analytics and a certificate in Data Science from IBM. When she’s not busy juggling kids, volunteering + work, she’s busy planning her retirement to Cape Breton.