Jonas V. Schürmann
Jonas V. Schürmann

Marketing Director

Award Winning Toastmaster

Public Speaker


Citizen of the World

Jonas V. Schürmann

Marketing Director

Award Winning Toastmaster

Public Speaker


Citizen of the World

Blog Post

Social Media KPI’s and Engagement

Social Media KPI’s and Engagement

What are KPIs and how do they work with engagement?

Well to be honest, KPIs are a pain.

You’ve got to monitor and understand them while you could spend your time with your community, planning events or doing stuff that seems to be more important. But in fact, meaningful KPIs grant you the opportunity of a more in-depth understanding of your community, how the development is going or where you might need to improve your actions.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (iisd) published a document back in 2012 which isn’t that up-to-date anymore but the summary of their conducted study is still applicable to most community indicator systems (CISs).

Community indicator systems (CISs) are growing in number across North America, Europe, and Australia in an effort to improve evidence-based decision making in government, businesses, and civil society. By providing open access to data and information on community well-being, CISs generally aim to build the knowledge and capacity of communities to work together to improve wellbeing. However, there is currently a dearth of research on the extent to which CISs are achieving positive impacts on community well-being. Similarly, the research on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems and best practices of CISs is limited. Hence, CISs currently have few resources to which they can turn to design and improve upon their evaluative practices and overall program performance

Of course by now, 4 years later, those systems are far more developed and fine-tuned than they were in 2012 but the main purpose didn’t change. The purpose of a CIS is still to improve your understanding of how a community works and what you can do to improve and drive the success above and beyond.

So what’s it about? Engagement!

  • You want people to create buzz around you.
  • You want people to love your product / website.
  • You want people to be happy customers/players that are happy to return and refer you!

Those are 3 golden rules and I personally can sign-off on these easily. I mean hey, I’m not writing this for nothing, of course I want people to like the content I produce. And I’m pretty sure that you’re maybe feeling the same about your product / company / project? 😉

Engagement is a game

I’m a lover of shooter and MOBA games and that’s pretty much common knowledge about me. So why am I telling it again? Well, it proves my point. Engagement is not just about replying “Thank you for being a loyal and returning customer!” to a good review of your company. (And just for the record: That’d be an example of bad engagement)

Why don’t you reach out to that reviewer with something more specific like:

Hey Jonas! We truly love that you’re loving our product! Is there anything specific that you’d like to share with us?
Can we improve somehow?
Anyway, thanks a million for being a proud #Valgardian!


Of course, that’s just an example and it’s by far not applicable for everyone or every company, that’s true. My point with this is, that you’ve got to do more than just thanking someone. You want to make them feel special and you should feel special about every of your customers. As much as you embrace the positive reviews, also take the negative ones into account, take them in as great feedback instead of disregarding them as useless.

It’s like a game. Sometimes you feel like a weapon is useless for your style of playing but that doesn’t mean that it’s useless at all. In any event, taking a top-down look at engagement and monitoring how it changes over time can easily help you position yourself and your product as the center of the community. Prove, that your investment into meaningful engagement is a wise one. In the end, you and your boss will probably be quite happy if everything goes according to your plan. (That’s if you’ve got a plan, of course. ;D)

Don’t listen to everything I’m going to write now…

…but take it into account. Some of those possible factors might not suit your specific business or purpose, but they might fit someone else’s business and are a general indicator. KPIs for a social environment are very diverse, just like the people working in it.

So what are possible KPI factors?

  • Bookmarks
    • How many people are bookmarking my post / website / channel?
    • Is my content bookmarked onsite or offsite?
  • Comments
    • positive
    • negative
    • engagement
    • support
  • Subscribers / Followers
    • social channels (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc.)
    • E-Mail
    • Blogs
  • Favourites / Likes
  • Downloads
    • Media
      • press kits
      • artworks (you could also just divide between press kits and other media but I’d suggest to at least measure the press kits separately)
      • screenshots
      • videos
    • Product
  • Groups (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn etc.)
    • how many created
    • how many people joined
    • total number of groups
    • group activity
  • Key activities
    • social channels
      • post count
      • average post count per day etc.
    • visits (blogs, website etc.)
  • Messages
    • E-Mail
    • onsite
    • contact forms
  • Profiles
    • updated avatars, bio, links, email
    • how many people really customised their profile?
  • Ratings
  • Reviews
  • social media sharing
  • tagging (user-generated-metadata)
  • time spent on key pages
  • time spent on site
    • from which source
    • how long on what sub pages etc.
  • views

Let’s break it down to a few general tips:

  • You should star building your organizational goals to then develop your community goals from there.
  • Growth is nice, but it shouldn’t be your first metric. Measuring behaviour change first and then scaling it, is the better idea.
  • Again, growth is nice and engagement numbers are as well, but they’re not the ultimate goal.
  • If your community is a more mature one, bring together the stakeholders to develop ideas how to best measure what the organisation asks for instead of just measuring what is easiest to measure.
  • Numbers! Nice! Don’t just throw them on the table, tell a story with them and make your reports educational. You want people to understand your story and see the bigger picture. Of course, skilled social media professionals know that executives actually look forward to numbers, so why don’t you take advantage of their attention? Use their attention to educate them about the steps you took to generate those numbers, what they mean and how you’re planning to nurture the community.


What do you think? All rubbish, totally amazing or a good indicator? Write it down in the comments! =)

Next time I’ll probably write an extended version of my Facebook Advertising – Do’s & Don’ts article.







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