The Importance of Social Media Analytics

Jenny Force Jenny Force, VP of Marketing

Social media gives businesses an unprecedented opportunity for connecting with customers and prospects. While there are numerous social networks that provide you with a vast array of tools for providing customer service, explaining how your products work, and much more, it’s important to realize that simply having a social media presence is no guarantee of success.

Social media is crowded. It’s competitive. And it’s essential to test and track your results so that you can identify the most effective strategies – which is why social media analytics are so important. Sans data or feedback on what’s happening on social channels, you’re in the dark about what is and isn’t working.

Let’s talk about a number of ways to keep track of your data so you can get the most out of your social media campaigns.

Important Social Media Metrics

You can gather all kinds of information about your social media pages. You can’t keep track of everything, so you have to decide what data matters most to you. Some things are obvious while others are easily overlooked. The type of data you need also depends on your goals.

Keep in mind that you may want analytics for accounts other than your own. You may, for example, want to learn more about your followers on Twitter. It’s also useful to analyze your competition. Different tools will give you these and other capabilities. Even people who don’t know the word “analytics” are very aware of the most basic analytics for their social media accounts. This has to do with the number of friends, followers, likes, views, etc. This is very basic information that doesn’t require any special tools.

Many beginners actually get overly attached to these raw numbers. If you’re on social sites simply to socialize, you can measure your success or popularity in these terms. If you’re in business, however, you have to go much deeper.

While it’s always nice to increase your Twitter following, Facebook likes, YouTube views and so forth, it’s even more important to focus on the quality of your followers. How engaged are they? Are they likely to become customers or return customers? Detailed analytics allows you to answer these and related questions. This lets you plan your social media actions with a purpose rather than simply hoping something will work.

Important Social Media Data

Let’s look at some examples of analytics that can help you with your social media marketing.

  • Analyze followers. This is an especially useful thing to do on Twitter. Finding out, for example, who your followers are following helps you understand them better. It also provides you with lists of more potential contacts. This can also be helpful on other social networks, including Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. You can use the information you learn about your followers to make your business more customer friendly.
  • Analyze the reach and results of your posts. It’s crucial to be aware of the impact that all of your posts are having. Which posts are being shared or liked most frequently? Which are leading readers to your landing page or website? On Twitter, you want to know which posts are being favorited and retweeted. The same is true with photos on Instagram, Facebook posts, videos and other content.
  • Identify influencers. Influencers don’t necessarily have to be famous. They can be people hidden in your list of contacts who create a disproportionate amount of activity around your content. You want to know who is most active in sharing, liking or commenting on your posts. By identifying influencers and their characteristics, you can engage with them better and bring more into your circles.
  • Compare platforms. There are more social media platforms every year. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, there’s LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat, to name just a few. You can’t have a strong presence on every single site. Analytics can help you identify which platforms work best for you. That way you can maximize your efforts on these sites and either drop the others or scale back your efforts with them.
  • Save time. When you are diligent about tracking your results and using the most efficient analytics tools, you save time. As you observe what kind of content works best for you, it’s possible to stop wasting time on less effective content.
  • Improve your ROI. While you may have to spend a little money on analytics tools and services, in the long run, they can help you save money and make your business more profitable. You can track how many leads your social media efforts are bringing in and how many of the leads turn into customers.

Choosing the Right Analytics Tools

How do you decide which analytics tools are right for your social media campaigns? It really depends on your needs, budget and objectives. You can start by using the tools located right within the social media networks themselves. Many people don’t take full advantage of these.

Twitter Analytics, for example, tells you at a glance your number of tweets, tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions and followers. Facebook Insights gives you page post metrics such as the number of people posts have reached, clicks and reactions. LinkedIn provides analytical data about company pages, such as measuring your posts’ engagement and supplying information about your followers’ demographics. Other social sites provide comparable free tools.

In order to get more thorough analytics, however, you may want to acquire additional tools or subscribe to certain services. Some of these tools are specific to certain social media sites while others work across multiple sites. You can also find tools that combine analytics with other tasks, such as scheduling your posts.

Tracking your data is essential for helping you get better results from your social media campaigns. If you don’t track data, you will be wasting time on hit or miss type campaigns. Social media analytics is often the difference between success and failure for obtaining the results you want.

3 Comments on “The Importance of Social Media Analytics”

  1. Totally feel the point on identifying which platforms work best for what. A how-to site will fare better on Pinterest or YouTube, rather than on Instragram. Great content. However, when a site is small and just starting out, what do you recommend for identifying relevant metrics?

    1. Hey there. Great question.

      I’m going to do my best to help – what are your goals?
      Gaining more audience?
      Reaching new audiences?
      Measuring engagement?

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