Smart business owners understand the importance of staying on top of the social media game, since it is generally the first touchpoint between them and their customers. Social media has enormous reach, and if used well, it can take your business to great heights. If you want to use social media to your advantage, then you need to understand the effects of your efforts — and this requires social media analytics.
Making efforts without knowing the results is like wandering in the dark.
How do you know that your social media posts are reaching your target customers in the right way? The answer lies in the numbers. And that’s why you need to understand social media analytics.
Hubspot defines social media analytics as “the process of gathering and analyzing data and reports based on metrics from one or multiple social media accounts.”
Once you know what’s working and what’s not, you can fine-tune your social media strategy for better results.
Therefore, in this article, we will discuss a step-by-step process of using social media analytics to learn what works best with your particular customers.
1. Set goals
Let’s start with your goals. If you have goals like ‘Growing my social media presence’ or ‘Increasing engagement,’ then you’ve to play smarter. Yes, you have to create SMART goals.
Think about a more specific goal like:
- ‘Increase FB page followers by 100% in 30 days’
Now check this goal on the above five parameters. It’s specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. For a business that wants to grow on Facebook, isn’t it a SMART goal?
Related: How to know what your customers want
2. Determine the numbers you’ll watch
Based on your goal above, you should choose appropriate metrics in order to see how you’re doing on that goal. To track the analytics, you may need to install:
Once the tracking system is set, you can begin watching the metrics that matter to you.
Social media analytics goes beyond tracking your number of followers and Likes. Conversion, which measures how many readers become customers, and engagement, which shows how many readers take an action, are good ways to measure your social media effectiveness.
Here are some of the numbers you should keep a close watch on:
This is the percentage of users who take the action you want them to take, whether that’s clicking to learn more or actually buying a product. The most highly sought-after conversion rate is often the number of website visitors who bought something from the website.
Reach is the total number of potential viewers a social post could have. Mostly, this number is the sum of your followers’ count, plus the number of people who follow any sharers of that post.
Another metric that’s similar to reach is ‘impressions.’ That is the count of the number of times a post showed up on someone’s timeline.
Reach and impression in themselves are not strong signs of effectiveness, unless paired with engagement or conversion metrics. Like how many people out of the total who saw a post took one of these actions:
- Engaged with your content
Social media analytics showing high impressions and low engagement would mean that your post was not interesting enough for the audience. This would be a sign to try something else.
This is the attitude people have (positive or negative) towards your social media post or campaign (or series of posts).
This is not an exhaustive list of the numbers you might wish to monitor. For more help on determining the social media metrics that will advance your business goals, read this post.
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3. Choose a reporting tool
Social media reporting tools can help speed the process of content curation, discovery, scheduling, publishing and social media analytics. They can help you watch multiple social networks at once, thereby enhancing your effectiveness on social media.
Some of the most popular tools are:
The integrated analytics tools of HubsSpot provide insight into the customer journey (or the path a person takes to becoming your customer), along with the performance of your social media in the context of your business and revenue goals.
You can also compare the performance of multiple social channels to measure campaign performance. Hubspot’s graphs and visuals help you to understand the numbers easily.
SproutSocial calls itself a comprehensive tool for social media analytics.
With the help of its cross-channel social listening feature, it provides a look into the needs of your customers by analysing topics, hashtags and keywords. The tool also measures your content-level and campaign-level performance.
Hootsuite allows you to manage multiple social media platforms and also more than one account on each platform.
With Hootsuite, you can create reports using more than 200 metrics of any of your social channels and campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress.com, Instagram, and YouTube.
Note that Hootsuite Analytics services are only available with the paid version of the tool.
4. Track your goals
Whether you are an employee responsible for the growth of your company’s social networks or working for your own business, social media analytics help you to measure the success of your efforts — and alter them for better results.
With the help of the above social media reporting tools, you can create reports and dashboards according to your requirements (based on the metrics you have chosen in step 2).
5. Improve your social posts
Based on your social media analytics, you can determine the future course of action. You can tweak or abandon the strategies that are not delivering the desired results and increase activity where your social efforts are making an impact.
Win with social media analytics
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” said business management author Peter Drucker. That saying goes for social media strategy as well.
If you’re not tracking your efforts, then you’re not doing as well as you could on social media.
In this article, we discussed various goals, metrics, and social media reporting tools that can help you to analyze your social media campaigns. Although none of the lists is exhaustive, I hope you’ve got an idea of how you can do social media marketing effectively and measurably.
Image by: Photo: Daria Nepriakhina