When it comes to social media marketing, tracking performance over time is the only way to know when tweaking your strategy is necessary. One study found that many brands prioritize metrics such as engagement, impressions, followers, and leads to decide if their social marketing efforts are paying off.

Unfortunately, many businesses put prioritizing a social media calendar and tracking social media reach to the bottom of their list when it comes to significant key performance indicators (KPIs). But with more and more people utilizing social media, it’s definitely considered an important marketing channel for reaching and engaging with potential customers. 

What is Social Media Reach?

Social media reach refers to the number of unique followers or fans that see the content you post on your social channels. 

Social reach and social impression aren’t the same things. The principal difference is that social reach indicates the number of unique viewers, whereas number of impressions refers to the number of times your social post has been viewed. So, when you share a post on social media, some people will view it multiple times. The number of times the post is viewed equates to the impression. But social reach refers to the number of people that viewed the post.

For example, let’s say Amanda is one of your followers on Facebook, and when you post a video, Amanda watches the video once every day for a week. At the end of the week, you’ll have seven social impressions, but in reality, the video has a social reach of one.  

How to Calculate Social Reach

Let’s say you have 1,000 followers on Facebook. If you share a post on Facebook and 200 followers see the content, your reach is 200. The following is a formula for calculating the percentage of that reach: 

(200/1000) x100 = 20%

That said, a social post reach can transcend your social followers. That complicates things as far as manual calculation of social reach is concerned. The good news is that you don’t have to calculate reach manually: you can use reliable social media software to assess your hashtags, ads, events, posts, and profiles and better track reach. 

Tools such as Keyhole, Mention, Brand24, Hootsuite, and TweetReach automatically calculate your social reach. Even better, some tools let you determine the potential reach — the number of people who could see the post —  before publishing the social content. 

But, you don’t have to always look for a third-party tool to track reach accurately. Most social platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, track social reach for you. 

Why You Should Measure Social Reach

Tracking social reach helps you to better understand how effective your social strategy is at getting your message in front of potential customers. 

Moreover, it can reveal critical social marketing details such as:

  • Number of active social followers
  • Effectiveness of social campaigns on different platforms
  • Performance of individual social campaigns
  • Brand reach beyond social media
  • Impact of partnership with other brands and social media influencers
  • When most users view your posts
  • How your brand awareness is growing

How to Improve Social Media Reach

Social media tools let you compute potential social reach. You can use that metric as the benchmark for your campaigns. According to Hootsuite, the potential reach is approximately 2% – 5% of the theoretical reach

If you’re hitting figures below that, time to go back to the drawing board and redefine your strategy. Some of the best practices to improve social reach includes:

  • Sharing content at the most opportune time. Keep in mind that the best posting times vary across social media platforms. However, it’s not uncommon for the best posting time for different platforms to overlap. 

Note: The “When Your Fans Are Online” feature on Facebook helps you to post at the best possible time to get maximum reach.

  • Creating content that resonates with your followers. The content should be interesting, entertaining, and of high quality. Create content that oozes so much value that your followers can’t resist sharing. 
  • Making sure your social content includes the most common search terms for the topic of discussion. Moreover, covering trending topics and using hashtags gives your post the potential for a wider reach. 

A lot of businesses think they just don’t have time to dedicate to a social strategy. But the truth is that your audience is using social media. It’s a no-brainer for you to be actively present where your audience is already engaged and make sure that whatever you’re putting out there is getting in front of as many people within your demographic as possible. Tap into the metrics each social platform provides you with, especially social reach, and allow that to help steer your efforts.