Mastering Social Listening Metrics & KPIs: A Comprehensive Guide For Digital Success

Consistently marketing on social media can help your brand generate wide exposure and high-value leads. 

But, as with any marketing channel, showing up without a strategy can be fruitless. 

With competitive and beloved brands dominating the space, it’s essential to lean on valuable insights to understand what resonates best with your target audience. 

That’s what this guide is here for.

Mastering social listening metrics and KPIs is about interpreting data and applying the lessons you’ve learned from it to continuously refine your social media marketing approach. 

If you’re ready to see your social media efforts pay off, keep reading. 

In this article, we share six helpful steps to help you master social listening metrics and KPIs.

Step 1: Define your goals 

What are you looking to achieve with social listening?

With this in mind, do you need to measure brand sentiment, track industry trends, or keep up with competitors? Clarify your objectives to guide your metrics selection.

For example, if you’re the CEO of a new startup company, you might be looking to generate leads to market free trials. 

In this case, you might consider tracking engagement metrics, brand sentiment, and conversions. 

You might also be interested in comparing your brand mentions against competitors and discovering relevant influencers to help you get the word out.

Keyhole social listening example.

(We’ll expand on social listening metrics in the next section.)

Next, consider your business goals and overall social media goals. What does social media success mean to you for each of the channels you’re targeting?

For instance: 

Our current business objective is to build out our email list with 30% more pre-qualified leads, obtain 25% more free trial users, and generate 15% more subscribers.”

Our social media goals include:

  • LinkedIn: Encourage virality with informative carousels and generate leads with webinar invitations. This will help us build our email list.
  • Twitter: Build trust with thought leadership content and offer gated guides for more in-depth reading. This will help us build our email list.
  • YouTube: Create product demos and self-service tutorial videos. Add free trial calls to action (CTAs) throughout the videos and in the video descriptions. This will help us obtain more free trial users.

To generate more free trials and subscribers, we’ll use lead-nurturing emails and retargeting campaigns.” 

Step 2: Finalize your metrics 

Depending on your goals, choose your final social media metrics that align with your objectives. 

Some popular social listening metrics to consider include:

Engagement rates

This social media KPI measures the level of interaction and participation with your social media content. It includes likes, comments, shares, and other forms of engagement. 

Use to: See how much your audience resonates with your social media content. 


This metric reveals how many unique users have seen your content or interacted with your social media profiles. 

Use to: Discover your audience size and brand visibility.

Sentiment analysis

This metric helps you analyze the sentiment or emotional tone behind brand mentions and conversations on social media. It categorizes them as positive, negative, or neutral.

Use to: Learn insights about public brand perception and customer sentiment.

Share of Voice (SoV)

SoV represents the proportion or percentage of online conversations and mentions your brand receives compared to your competitors — or the overall industry. 

Keyhole social listening example.

Use to: Measure your brand’s visibility and influence in a specific market.

Customer satisfaction

This KPI helps you understand how happy or satisfied your customers are. Think ratings, reviews, or feedback.

Use to: Gauge the overall customer experience and identify areas for improvement.

Conversation share

This metric measures how much your brand contributes to online conversations and discussions within a particular topic or industry. 

Use to: See how much your brand participates and engages in social media conversations. 

Number of leads

This KPI helps you track how many potential customers your brand generates through social media activities. 

Use to: Measure your social media lead generation efforts.

Brand mentions (negative vs. positive)

This metric counts how many times people mention your brand on social media between negative and positive mentions. 

Keyhole social listening example.

Use to: Discover insights into brand perception and reputation.

Conversion Rates (CR)

CR evaluates the percentage of social media users who take a desired action. This may include buying something, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a form.

Use to: See how effective your social media campaigns are at driving conversions. 

Click-Through Rates (CTR)

CTR measures the percentage of users who click on a specific link or CTA on your social media posts.

Use to: Assess user engagement and interest in your content.

Step 3: Set benchmarks 

Establish benchmarks to measure your social media goals’ progress over time. 

Compare your metrics against previous campaigns or periods. 

This helps you set realistic benchmarks based on your own historical data — as well as track improvements or setbacks.

You should also compare your results against social media case studies or industry reports to see what’s achievable in your specific market. 

You can also track key industry influencers or thought leaders in your niche. Use their metrics as a point of comparison to assess your brand’s conversation share.

Keep an eye on your competitors’ social media analytics and activities, too. Use these insights to understand how your brand performs relative to others in your industry.

Finally, make sure your benchmarks are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). 

For instance, if your current engagement rate is 2%, you might set a benchmark to increase it to 4% within the next three months.

Step 4: Choose the right social listening tool

Invest in a social media listening tool that provides accurate data in real-time, like Keyhole.  You’ll use this tool to track metrics, monitor conversations, and generate reports.

Keyhole social listening example.

Loved by over 100,000  agencies, global brands, and nonprofits, Keyhole has all of the features you need to:

  • Benchmark your social media performance against competitors
  • Uncover the sentiment behind every brand mention
  • See what people are saying about your brand
  • Analyze campaign performance in real-time
  • Discover top social media influencers
  • Track profile growth and engagement
  • Conduct market research
  • Analyze influencer ROI 
  • Follow the latest trends

Get started with Keyhole for free today.

Step 5: Analyze and interpret data 

Regularly review your social listening metrics to uncover trends, patterns, and customer insights. 

Look for connections between your social media efforts and business outcomes.

For instance, you might notice that informative carousels with webinar CTAs on LinkedIn have been helping you generate more qualified leads than other forms of content. 

On Instagram, you might notice that short, educational videos with free demo CTAs help you generate the most leads. 

Step 6: Optimize your strategy

Leverage the insights you’ve gained from your social listening metrics to refine your social media strategy. 

Identify areas for improvement, adjust your content, and engage with your audience based on the data.

For instance, if you learned that you get more positive brand mentions when you lock arms with popular influencers, consider increasing your influencer budget and campaigns. 

If you generate way more conversions on Twitter than on other social media platforms, consider increasing your efforts there.

If thought leadership content boosts your engagement rates and CTR way more than other content types, consider focusing more time on that style of content.

Wrap up

Social listening is an ongoing process. 

As you track your metrics and measure goal progress, be sure to implement everything you learn. Continuously evaluate and refine your strategy to stay ahead of the game.

And remember, if you need a tool to cut the manual labor for you, you’ll love Keyhole.  Get started with Keyhole for free today. No credit card is required.

Here’s to your success!

Author Bio

Ioana specializes in Business, Digital Marketing, and SaaS content for B2B brands. Born in Transylvania and raised in Texas, Ioana has been living the digital nomad life since 2016. From Barcelona to Puerto Vallarta to her new abode in windy Oklahoma City, you’ll never know where Ioana will head off next.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you measure social listening?

You can measure social listening by tracking common metrics, such as Share of Voice, sentiment analysis, and customer satisfaction.

2. What is social listening analysis?

Social listening analysis means interpreting conversations, trends, and metrics relevant to your brand. This helps you measure your brand's visibility and influence in a specific market.

3. Which tool is useful for social listening?

Keyhole is an effective social media listening tool to help inform your marketing strategy. You can use it to analyze brand mentions, campaigns, and influencers across multiple social media profiles.

Put an end to manual legwork once and for all.