How to measure shared social media content

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In many social media analytics tools, you’re often given the choice of downloading just your own content metrics or your content plus content you’ve shared. You might download just your tweets, or your tweets and retweets, as an example. The question is, does this matter? Should you measure shared social media content?

The answer is a “yes, but”. Yes, you should measure your shared social media content, but you should differentiate between what’s owned and what’s shared.

Re-shared content helps to boost the engagement rates with your account, which matters for networks like Facebook. Facebook’s algorithm favors engagement, even of re-shared content.

However, it’s important not to conflate re-shared content with your own stuff. Your own content, the original materials you’re sharing in the hopes of being re-shared, has to be measured on its own so you can determine whether people like it. If you aggregate all your social media metrics together in one bucket, you can’t tell how well your own content resonates.

Here’s an example from my personal Twitter account. If I look at the average retweet rate of all my tweets in the last year, on average I earn 63 retweets per tweet, and have a median of 20 retweets per tweet:


If I remove all retweets that I shared, the numbers change drastically. On average I earn 3.5 retweets and a median of just slightly more than 3 tweets:


That’s a huge difference. While the content I share is very popular, my own content needs work. I need to improve my stuff to be on par with the stuff I re-share. If my Twitter account were a business, I might even change my social media strategy to favor a curation-first model rather than a creation/curation blend.

Understanding the difference between your content and your sharing is vital for evaluating each component of your social media marketing plan!

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