How to measure social media reach?

February 19, 2021 ・ 7 min read

Social media reach is one of the social media metrics you can track to assess the impact of your marketing activities both on social media platforms and beyond. Here’s how.

If you want to be more aware of how effective are your online marketing activities and if they are performing as planned, you came to the right place. Inside this article, you will learn everything about social media reach – one of the most important metrics that will deliver you many insights and will help you draw conclusions considering your marketing strategy.

Here is an agenda of what we will be looking into:

  • Social media reach: definition
  • Non-social reach: definition
  • Reach as a key performance indicator
  • How to calculate reach?

Social media reach: definition

At Brand24, we’ve put a lot of time and effort into developing our social media reach calculator and algorithm. Here’s what our social media reach is made of:

Social media reach is an estimated number of social media users that could have contact with a social media post. It’s based on a number of followers, fans, subscribers, connections, and visibility percentage. Visibility percentage is an estimation of what part of an audience usually sees a social media post on a particular social media platform.

Here’s our short video in which Chia explains social media reach and impressions, and the difference between them:

When it comes to the sources of social media reach, media monitoring tools, or at least Brand24 analyze content from:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • TikTok
  • Twitch

Social media reach is one of the most important social media metrics. It helps you track your social media efforts, measure performance, learn about your social media brand awareness.

Measure social media reach for free!

Non-social reach

On the other hand, there’s non-social reach.

Non-social reach can be really helpful in estimating the overall reach of a topic, brand name, product name, campaign name, hashtag, or actually any other keyword on the web.

Non-social reach is an estimated number of contacts with a piece of content beyond social media. Non-social reach based on the number of domains mentioning a piece of content, the average monthly visits number on a given domain, and the Visibility Ratio which describes how big was the exposition of a piece of content.

In practice, the sources of non-social reach include:

  • News sites
  • Blogs
  • Discussion forums
  • Review sites
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Other websites with public content

Reach as a key performance indicator

Social media KPI’s are not that obvious.

Social media managers often find it problematic to measure the effectiveness of their social media work and this is where reach can be helpful.

There are also brand managers and PR managers who can use non-social reach to measure the reach of content connected to their brand.

If you’re a marketer, reach can become one of the key performance indicators – metrics you can keep track of to see if the reach of your content increases.

Social media reach is a useful metric that can be used to track:

  • Hashtag reach: branded hashtags, hashtag campaigns
  • Reach of social media marketing campaigns
  • Reach in online media: industry media, blogs, discussion forums, etc.
  • Reach of competitors
  • Reach of events
  • Reach of social media profiles
  • Reach of influencers

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KPIs, or key performance indicators, are the metrics you can keep track of overtime and assess the changes in the performance of your marketing actions. It can be done in a simple spreadsheet.

You can similarly track your competitors.

Social media analytics can help you discover new insights, and draw conclusions from your startegy.

Social media reach may also be used as one of the indicators that will help you get a better understanding of your brand awareness.


Hashtags are a simple, yet powerful tool in the hands of marketers.

They can do much more than categorize social media conversations, connect people, and look cool.

First, however, you need to know how to use them.

If your company is keen on building a strong social media presence, using branded hashtags is a must.

Just like Shimano has its #rideshimano hashtag:

Such a branded hashtag does not only boosts brand awareness, connects Shimano users and customers, but also gives Shimano an easy way to measure how many social media users use the hashtag, who they are, what they talk about, and, finally, what social media reach the hashtag generates.

Social media reach of your branded hashtags can become your social media KPI. You can track on the monthly basis whether the social media reach of your hashtag increases or decreases.


Calculate the social media reach of your hashtags!

You also need to set a goal. You might want to increase your company social media reach by creating a social media strategy which will be focused on driving engagement and sharing your hashtagged social media posts — more people will get to see it.

Marketing campaigns

Social media and non-social reach can be a KPI’snot only when it comes to social media performance, but also while tracking the performance of marketing campaigns.

By measuring reach, you can see how your marketing campaign spreads in social media and beyond and how many users it reaches. The more people it reaches, the better, or course.

#MeToo is one of the most popular campaigns that have gone viral in October.

Marketing Campaigns

Whether it’s a marketing campaign or awareness campaign the goal there is the same — to reach as many users on the web as possible.

If you launch marketing campaigns often enough, your KPI here should be to increase the social media reach of each next campaign.

But how to do it is another story.

Calculate the social media reach of your marketing campaign!


If you do social media marketing for events, social and non-social reach should be some of the top KPI’s in relation to your event marketing.

What’s worth saying here is that social media reach of your event can be tracked before, during, and after the event.

Social media content related your event should reach as many people as possible — the more people stumble upon it in social media, the bigger likelihood that the number of attendees increases, sponsors or speakers increases.

Measuring social media reach of an event tells you what buzz your event generates and how many people it reaches. The more people stumble upon your event in social media, the bigger likelihood that the number of attendees increases.

Creating an event hashtag is a must. Also, it’s good to encourage participants to use it in their social media posts about the event.

Above you can see that Inbound uses #INBOUND17 hashtag. If you’re planning an event, think about your event hashtag. It will then let you measure the social media reach of your event.

How to Calculate Social Media Reach

One of the ways to calculate social media reach is to use a social media monitoring tool, for example, Brand24.

Start free trial (no credit card required)!

Among many features within the tool’s panel, you get the chance to measure the social media reach of social media posts, hashtags and accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Social media monitoring tracks in real time any keywords of your choice. It tracks them in real time across all the Web: social media platforms, websites, news sites, blogs, discussion forums and other places.

This way, you can track, for example, your company name, company hashtag, event hashtag, the name of marketing campaign, a social media profile and more.

The most important pieces of data are inside the summary tab, including graphs showing the number of mentions and their social media reach day by day:

How to Measure Social Media Reach
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Analysis tab is where you can find most of the social media analytics. You will find there the most important bits of data about social media reach as well. This is where you can identify social media profiles of the highest social media reach and more.

Start calculating social media reach for free!

How to Measure Social Media Reach
Try Brand24 for free

Brand24 has some other useful features that can help you build and monitor the performance of your social media presence. Some of them include detecting the most influential authors, the most interactive mentions, email alerts, Slack integration, monitoring hashtag performance on Instagram, Twitter and much more.

If you feel like that’s what you need, you can try Brand24 out. It’s absolutely free and no credit card required.

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