If you are only evaluating your social media success based on the amount of “likes” or “followers” your page has, you are doing both your organization and yourself a disservice.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) there are more ways to measure your success than just tracking “likes.” That is not to say that “likes” aren’t important;  they certainly are! You always want to increase your “likes” and “followers” because that means your network is expanding and thus you have more people to reach.

There is more to social media than that, though. After getting comfortable tracking “likes,” start tracking your “reach.” You want to know how many people saw your post, tweet, or picture, so this is an important metric to track in both the short term and the long term. You may find that while people are hesitant to affirm a post by liking or commenting on it, they have seen it. So, while you want to see that 50+ people have “liked” your post, isn’t it more important for your brand that your message got out there to 2,500 people? That’s “reach.”

The other metric that you want to track is “engagement” – which includes clicks, “post expansions” (when someone clicks “read more”) and comments. Engagement is a more complicated and inclusive metric than “likes,” because it counts these other factors, which show you how many people have interacted with your post. You may find only 20 people “liked” a link you posted, and only 3 people commented on it, but 200+ clicked on it.

Of course, there is more to analytics than just what I have described above, but these two metrics are great ways to track your social success while under a time and monetary budget. Tracking reach and engagement is an easy place to start for newcomers to social media!