By now, most inbound marketers know that having a good SEO ranking requires maintaining a good social media presence.

Your business may have started participating in social media. You have a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and a LinkedIn account. You engage with your audience: you respond to questions, follow back fans, post news, and thank your customers for their support.

But the big question is: How you are tracking and monitoring these interactions in order to know if your efforts are paying off?

You need to track the right social media metrics so you can evaluate the results of your social media campaigns, and as a beginner, you might not know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to one of the most important social media metrics: reach.

social media reach

What is social media reach?

Social media reach is a measure of the potential audience size for a message based on the total social media follower count. Simply put, reach is the measure of a social media conversation.

The quality of both your content and your social strategies reflect on your social reach and its growth percentages. Both website traffic and leads that you generate from social media directly correlate to social reach.

On a competitive note, the impact of reach on various networks can vary. Take the example of Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter has always been the best social media platform for businesses to generate leads. According to business.com, Twitter outperforms Facebook nine to one and generates 82 percent of social media leads.

Twitter has a social metric called potential reach, which is the sum of all followers of all “unique people.” It means that if your business has 5,000 followers on Twitter, each of your tweets could potentially reach those 5,000 people.

In terms of reach, businesses with 51-100 Twitter followers generate 106 percent more web traffic. B2C companies with more than 1,000 followers experience a larger traffic increase than B2B ones.

On the other hand, Facebook provides its own analytics around social reach, termed total reach. This is the number of people who might have seen a story about your page while browsing their newsfeed. Total reach can be broken down into three variants: organic, viral, and paid.

Organic reach is defined as the number of unique people who saw your post on their feed. Viral reach is the number of unique people who saw the post because it was commented on or liked by friends. Paid reach is the number of unique people who saw your post through an advertisement.

In terms of reach, on average, companies observe a 185 percent increase in traffic after crossing the 1,000 likes mark.

Why does social media reach matter?

Although reach is more powerful than other engagement metrics, reach alone can’t build a loyal customer base. But reach helps contextualize other social metrics and can be used as a denominator in all other social media measurement equations.

If you divide important action or engagement numbers such as clicks, retweets, or replies by reach, you can calculate your engagement percentage. You can use this calculation to determine the number of people out of your potential social media audience participated in your campaign.

How to measure social media reach on different social platforms

Facebook

Tracking reach on Facebook is easy. Check out page insights on your dashboard to immediately see the relevant data.

If you want to crunch some numbers, you export your data into an Excel file. This also gives you access to another useful metric called “lifetime post reach by people who like your page.”

Facebook provides these metrics to break down your audience reach:

  • Total page likes
  • Friends of fans
  • People talking about this
  • Weekly total reach
  • Engaged users
  • Click-through rates

Twitter

A fast-paced microblogging network, Twitter provides analytics of your audience reach if you use a URL shortener such as Bit.ly, Buffer, or Ow.ly.

Twitter provides these metrics to break down your audience reach:

  • Total number of followers
  • Followers of people who re-tweeted your content
  • Number of mentions you received

LinkedIn

LinkedIn breaks down your audience into demographics. LinkedIn’s demographics help determine if you’re reaching the right people.

The demographics deliver information about the groups you own, as well as the industry, job role, seniority level, and location of everyone who follows your page.

LinkedIn provides these metrics to break down your audience reach:

  • Number of group members
  • Personal connections
  • Total impressions for company page for the last seven days
  • New followers in the last seven days

Pinterest

Pinterest has virtual pinboards and lets you pin images and videos from your favorite websites. The Pinterest Web Analytics tool helps measure performance on the social network.

In order to access the Pinterest Analytics tool, you first need to first verify your website. The process is simple and you can either upload an HTML file or a META tag.

Pinterest provides these metrics to break down your audience reach:

  • Total number of followers
  • Pins from your websites
  • Number of repins
  • Number of followers your repinners have
  • Impressions and reach

Google+

Though Google’s social network lags behind other social networks in terms of data, Google­+’s Google Ripples is good analytics tool.

Ripples lets you see how your posts are being shared and who shared them. It also provides statistics on how your post has been shared over time.

Google+ provides these metrics to break down your audience reach:

  • Number of people who have circled you
  • Circles of folks who shared your content
  • Number of circles your business page has been added to