It’s one thing to know in your heart that you’re a social media whiz: it’s another to be able to prove it. Which is why social media analytics are so critical to any successful campaign or brand strategy.
Data keeps you on track to achieve your social media goals, proving what’s working and — just as importantly — what’s not. Read on to dig into how to track social media analytics and social post analytics, and why these numbers are key to unlocking your engagement and reach.
Do you know there’s a wealth of information hiding behind all your social media activity?
It’s your social media analytics.
What is social media analytics?
Social media analytics is the collection and analysis of data points that help you measure the performance of your social media accounts.
These are the metrics that will help you assess your social media marketing strategy on both macro and micro levels. Besides helping you see how social media is contributing to your larger business goals, they can also help you gauge customer sentiment, spot trends, and avoid PR crises before they happen.
To track social media analytics, you’ll look at likes, comments, shares and saves, but you might also monitor mentions and discussion of your brand or consumer insights by practising social listening.
Social media analytics tools help you do all this math, while also creating performance reports to share with your team, stakeholders, and boss — to figure out where you’re succeeding and where you’re struggling.
How to track social media analytics
It may seem like a daunting task, but tracking your social media analytics isn’t difficult. It just requires a little bit of planning and a lot of consistency. You’ve got this!
It’s pretty much impossible to measure your success if you don’t actually know what success looks like. So great social media tracking begins with setting a goal for your brand.
To be clear: a social media goal is not the same thing as a social media strategy (although both are important).
A social media goal is a statement about something specific you want to achieve with your marketing activity. Your goal can be applied to something short-term and small (for instance, a single ad buy) or can be bigger picture (like a goal for your overall social media campaign).
Either way, we recommend using the S.M.A.R.T. framework for your social media goals to set yourself up for maximum success.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Specific: Your goal should be as precise as possible. What exactly do you want to achieve? “Improve our Instagram account” is too vague. “Build Instagram engagement by 500%” is far clearer.
Measurable: Set some quantifiable indicators (a.k.a. hard numbers) to make success clear. For instance, “increase our TikTok followers by 1,000 this month.” Without having a goal that’s measurable, you’ll never know if you’ve achieved it.
Attainable: Listen, it’s great to want to reach for the stars, but setting the bar a little lower is going to make it much more likely that you’ll actually achieve it. Think baby steps here. If your goal is to push a million views to your website this week, but you just launched it yesterday, you’re only setting yourself up for failure.
Relevant: How does this goal fit into your overall plan? Go ahead and strive to get Rhianna to follow you back on Twitter, but make sure it’s clear why pursuing that goal is going to benefit your big-picture brand strategy.
Time-bound: Deadlines are key. When do you want to achieve your goal? If you can’t come up with a timeline, that might be an indicator that your goal just isn’t specific or attainable enough.
Here are some suggestions for social media goals, if you need a place to start. Once you’ve got one in place, it’s time to figure out just how to best measure your progress towards that goal. Which leads us to…
Decide which metrics matter to you most
There are a lot of different numbers flying around the social-media-verse. Likes! Followers! Views! Shares! Duets! How do you know which of these social media metrics are important? Well… it’s really up to you.
Social media metrics fall into one of four categories:
1. Awareness: current and potential audience.
2. Engagement: how audiences are interacting with your content.
3. Conversion: effectiveness of your social engagement.
4. Consumer: how active customers think and feel about your brand.
“What can’t be measured, can’t be managed,” as the old leadership adage goes. If you just set your strategy and let it play out without any observation, you’re missing opportunities to adjust and adapt along the way.
All the major social media accounts have their own in-platform analytics tools.
In fact, here’s a list of step-by-step guides to using the Insights tools for some social platforms you can dream of:
· How to use Facebook Analytics: https://blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-analytics-insights-beginners-guide/
· How to use Instagram Analytics: https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-analytics-tools-business/
· How to use Youtube Analytics: https://blog.hootsuite.com/youtube-analytics/
· How to use LinkedIn Analytics: https://blog.hootsuite.com/linkedin-analytics/
· How to use Twitter Analytics: https://blog.hootsuite.com/twitter-analytics-guide/
If your goal is to grow your Instagram following, then metrics that track engagement (like follows and likes) are probably the most important ones to keep an eye on. If your goal is sales, conversion-related metrics are more relevant (that might include views or click-through rates).
All those updates you shared, the interactions they generated from your followers, those comments you replied to and other activity amass together to form extremely useful data.
This unique information can benefit your social media marketing in so many ways.
So, I have listed out all the reasons why you should use your social media analytics and the social media tools you can use to track it effectively.
#1 They help you understand your audience
Taking steps to understand your audience using social data can help you in so many ways. For example, analyzing your past posts can help you find your unique best time to share.
Timing is an important part of social media marketing. If you post when your fans are online and at their highest level of alertness your posts will drive more engagement, traffic and sales.
Therefore, you should dissect your social data and find your unique best time to post on social media.
Some social networks let you do this easily through their built-in analytics.
On Facebook, you can find it by going to the ‘Post’ section in your insights.
#2 They show you what your best social networks are
Not all social networks will work perfectly for you. Just because Facebook has over 2 billion users and Instagram has over 800 million users doesn’t mean they will drive the best results.
There might be smaller networks like Pinterest or Flickr that can help execute your strategy better.
The only way to confirm which social networks work best is through experimentation and using your analytics to measure how much engagement, traffic and sales you are getting.
This data can be utilized to focus more on social networks that are working for you and eliminating ones that aren’t.
You can also use the data to prioritize the amount of time you spend managing each social network. More time can be spent on the top performing networks and lesser on ones that bring in smaller results.
#3 Social data can help you create better content
When you track your social networks, you will understand what content drives the best results.
On networks like Facebook and Twitter you will be able to see whether images, links or videos do better. While on visual-centric networks like Pinterest and Instagram you can check what type of images perform best.
To figure out what content is performing best you can use your social media page’s analytics. Some social networks like Facebook have built-in analytics that shows what types of media perform best. You can view it in the ‘Posts’ section of your analytics on Facebook.
You can also use analytics to check how your blog performs. You can see which content is shared more, the number of visits each social network sends, how much time they spent and how many of those people converted to subscriptions and sales.
#4 Help you Understand competitors
Your competitors are also creating content and running social media strategies. This will result in their own unique data.
If you analyze this data, you will be able to figure out what is working and what isn’t. It will help you avoid the mistakes they are making and only focus on techniques that bring results.
#5 Social metrics can help you create a better strategy
You will not create the best strategy in your first attempt. You are bound to make several mistakes and use tactics that don’t work.
But if you study your social media analytics regularly you will be able to figure out what these mistakes are. Hence, when you optimize your strategy you can eliminate them and fortify it.
To figure out these mistakes using any good social media analytics tool will do. But along with it you should use social media listening to check the impact your strategy is having on people.
Social media listening can be defined as…
‘The process of tracking online conversations to learn what people are saying about a specific brand, industry, person, etc. and use the insights as a business leverage.’
Using social listening you can view in real-time what people are saying about your business online. This can help you modify your strategy to better connect with current and potential customers.
For executing social media listening you can use a tool like Sentione. Just sign up for an account and add in keywords like your product name, company name and other relevant keywords and the software will track all the mentions and list them out. It will also display the data in the form of graphs.
#6 Social media analytics shows you how a social media campaign is performing
Once you launch a social media campaign you should regularly track it. You can check if it is panning out the way you intended it to.
If things aren’t going according to plan you can make changes to your campaign and rectify it. And if results are very damaging you can nip it in the bud.
For this, you can use a tool like Sentione as it conducts a sentiment analysis of campaigns to show whether it is having a positive, negative or neutral effect.
Now begin spending more time on your social media analytics.
As you can see above there are several benefits of using your social media analytics. It can help improve your presence in the short term and even in the long term. Data from your analytics also ensures you get more out of the time you spend.
For best results make sure you use the right tools to track your analytics and only track metrics that matter most to your business.