Social Media Analytics
What is social media analytics?
Social media analytics is the practice of gathering data about your social media activity and your audience (such as likes, follows, shares or clicks) and creating actionable insights based on the findings.
Why is social media analytics important?
Social media analytics is important because it allows businesses to measure and review their content performance to see if their social media marketing strategy works. Plus, they can use those insights to find areas to strengthen their strategy. For example, a business might create a website and set a goal to have their socials direct traffic to the site. Social media analytics tools help them see whether they're reaching their marketing strategies goal, and if not, what factors they can improve to succeed.
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What are the benefits of social media analytics?
The benefits of social media analytics (and marketing analytics in general) include the ability to:
Measure social media return on investment (ROI): A brand’s social media strategy requires an investment in time, money and manpower—from influence partnerships and ad campaigns to third-party automation tools. Social media analytics allow businesses to collect data on their types of marketing efforts and ensure their investments pay off.
Understand audience behavior: Social media analytics allow businesses to zero in on their audience’s behavior, interest, habits and sentiments toward the brand and use this data to tailor their social media content and social media branding to suit their audience’s preferences.
Monitor and compare competitors’ campaigns: Social media analytics allow companies to benchmark their marketing goals and compare them to industry standards and competitors’ campaigns. Social media analytics tools also allow businesses to study their competitors’ campaigns to see what did and didn’t work, and use that data when creating their own social media campaigns.
Make sound business decisions: While social media analytics measures data from social media accounts, the insights revealed can be confidently used in other areas of your business, like branding or sales. For example, many social media research tools include social listening features, which allow you to sift through the mountains of data coming from different social channels to understand how your audience feels about your brand, product and industry. This information can be invaluable when it comes to making critical decisions like setting budgets or launching new products.
Which social analytics tool is the best?
The best social analytics tool depends on a business’s needs. Many free social media analytics tools can give insight into some of the basic metrics. More robust social media analytics dashboards will help answer questions about social campaigns and online presence. For example, if a business wants to understand how their content measures up to their competition, then social media analytics tools can provide the answers.
Brands commonly use these well-regarded social media analytics tools:
Sprout Social: Small companies and large enterprises alike use this tool to track their social media goals across multiple channels. It also offers features like social listening, social media calendars, post scheduling, group reports and performance monitoring.
Hootsuite: One of the most recognizable social media analytics tools, Hootsuite can help businesses identify what content works best for their audiences. Features include post scheduling and tracking brand mentions across multiple social platforms.
Keyhole: This platform gives deep insight into when audiences are active and tracks metrics for a more thorough analysis. It also includes features that help businesses dive deep on hashtags and industry-specific conversations on social networks.
Buffer Analyze: This tool provides easy reporting along with posting strategy insights and recommendations on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Zoho Social: Zoho offers tools for things like customer relationship management (CRM) and collaboration. Their social analytics software offers users the ability to optimize social listening across multiple platforms from one dashboard and integrate it with other marketing tools for an all-in-one solution.
BrandWatch: This software helps companies monitor their brand awareness data and search for social media mentions.
BuzzSumo: This tool can measure social engagement on a specific piece of content, showing how many times a piece of content was shared on different platforms and comparing it to how competitors’ similar content performed.
Brand24: Brand24 collects brand mentions across the web in instances like keywords and hashtags. It offers analytical insights toward an audience’s brand perception, like if a mention was positive or negative.
How to develop a social media analytics practice
No matter which analytics tool a business chooses, the steps to understanding and tracking data are more or less the same.
01. Get familiar with social media insights
Most social media platforms have their own built-in tools that provide basic metrics like information about your followers or social media engagement. Familiarize yourself with these charts and graphs, and do some research about what factors affect these metrics.
02. Study followers and learn their habits
Your total number of followers might be important to your account but the metric doesn’t reveal what your audience likes or wants to see. To better gauge how your audience perceives your content, pay attention to likes, shares, what times of the week your audience spends online and when users unfollow you. See what times of the week your audience spends online or when users unfollow you. Are there any patterns? If yes, you can test things like posting your most engaging content at those designated times or discontinuing content that has led users to unfollow or unlike your page.
03. Pick metrics and set goals
Every business wants social media accounts with a large number of engaged followers, killer content and converting CTAs. To get there, businesses need a step-by-step plan that tracks specific metrics and works towards set goals. When studying social media analytics, pay attention to areas to improve and create SMART goals from those metrics. For example:
If a business wants to generate more leads, they may choose to track the click-through-rate (CTR) over a determined period of time
To increase brand awareness, track the number of follows, likes and shares
For a goal of building an engaged online community, track metrics like audience growth rate, CTRs, engagement rate or conversion rate
Businesses can test social media analytics tools with a social media campaign designed with their goals in mind. Since campaigns are time-sensitive, they allow brands to plan and measure success using data over a set period of time.
04. Implement tools to track your goals
Third-party social media analytics tools often offer more functionality than built-in tools. Businesses use them not only to track and measure their campaigns but also to keep an eye on the big picture. For example, if a campaign runs on more than one social channel, a third-party tool can populate all associated metrics across social media management platforms in one place.
FAQ (Frequently asked questions)
What are some social media analytics examples?
These can vary from social media platform but some of the main examples include: click through rate (CTR), engagement rate, likes, shares, saves and leads.
What is the importance of social media analytics?
Social media analytics is crucial for showing how successful, or not, your social media campaigns are. They can help show ROI but also help you understand more about your potential audience and customers. They can also show what content your potential customers respond to most positively.