If you want to get the most out of your social media efforts, it’s important to track your results. Basic social media analytics software is good for tracking data such as likes, clicks, shares and other types of engagement. However, if you really want to understand your audience and plan more effective campaigns, it helps to go deeper and find creative ways to benefit from analytics by using social media monitoring or listening strategies. Let’s look at some of the ways this can help your business.
Engage Better With Your Audience
Many businesses have a hard time keeping up with the vast amount of social media activity that impacts their brand. Hopefully, you monitor your own accounts and respond to direct questions and comments. However, most likely there are many conversations going on all over social media that affect your industry.
For example, people may be asking pertinent questions on Quora, tweeting about a news story or posting relevant photos on Facebook or Instagram. Listening to social media on a large scale let you to insert yourself into some of these discussions and possibly pick up new followers and customers. You can answer their questions and make helpful suggestions. It’s usually best to do this in a low-key manner rather than overtly selling your own product.
Improve Customer Relations
This is an area where social media monitoring overlaps with reputation management. If your business is listed on review sites such as Google, Yelp, Angie’s List or others, you already know it’s essential to monitor reviews and respond to them. Some customers will also talk about you on social media. If someone is tweeting a complaint about your business or making a comment on any other site, you should know about it.
In some cases, you can help a customer regain your trust. Even if all you can do is apologize, you’re at least showing the customer and everyone else who sees your comments that you care. Because there are a growing number of social media sites, it’s important to monitor any mention of your brand, whether it’s on a review site, a blog-type site such as Tumblr or one of the large social media platforms.
Monitor Your Competition
One of the most useful types of social media analytics that many businesses don’t use as much as they should be tracking competition. Your competitors can teach you a great deal about your audience. You can find out which strategies are working well for them and which aren’t. You can observe who is responding to their posts and in what manner. A smaller company might learn valuable tips by “spying” on a much larger and more established business in the same niche or industry.
One of the easiest ways to track your competitors on social media is to simply follow them. This makes sense for many reasons. Following people on Twitter, for example, can help you gain more followers yourself. Facebook provides a useful tool that lets you track your competitors’ pages. Using the Pages to Watch feature, you can access analytics from other Facebook Pages. There are many other social media analytics software and services you can use to get detailed data about your competitors. Some of these tools let you perform searches for your competitors’ posts and replies.
It’s also useful to keep track of which social media sites your competitors are using. This isn’t hard to find out, as businesses are eager to advertise their links. For example, if you notice that a competitor is active on Instagram and you don’t yet have an account there, it’s worthwhile to notice how successful they are. If they have lots of followers and engagement, that’s a clue to try marketing there yourself.
Identify and Engage With Your Top Customers
It’s important to identify influencers and loyal customers who help to support your business. One creative use of social media analytics is to keep track of your most valuable customers and brand advocates. By monitoring social media, you stay informed when people are touting your products. This helps you build stronger relationships with your best customers. You can sometimes incorporate them into your marketing efforts. For example, an influencer who’s fond of your brand might be open to reviewing your latest product on his or her YouTube channel or Instagram account.
Find Out Where Your Industry is Heading
Now more than ever, it’s essential to stay at the leading edge of your field, niche or industry. That’s why it’s useful to monitor discussions about the latest trends or news. This is especially important if you’re in a fast-moving field such as technology, but it really applies to every industry. If you have a restaurant, you’ll want to keep up with the latest food trends. If people are suddenly raving about a new dish, beverage or dessert, you might want to put it on your own menu. If you’re in fashion, you surely want to know what people around the world are wearing. The same for any industry. As soon as people get interested in something, they start posting their thoughts and images about it on social media. Those who monitor this activity have an edge.
As social media continues to expand, it becomes increasingly important to use analytics tools to track your campaigns. In addition to tracking your basic analytics, it’s also beneficial to go beyond this and monitor your competitors and any discussions that are relevant to your business.