Social media has revolutionized internet marketing strategies. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest have given digital marketing professionals inexpensive and powerful tools to reach new audiences around the globe. One of the benefits of these social media platforms is the availability of sheer volumes of data. Understanding that data, however, can be a difficult task for even the most experienced marketer. Making sense of social media analytics can point to areas for improvement. In this guide, we’ll show you how to decode these analytics, helping you to get the most out of social media marketing.
The Role of Social Media Analytics
Digital marketers know that social media represents a cost-effective way to reach new audiences. These digital platforms can be used to tell a company’s story, to build brand awareness, and to showcase new products and services. It can be useful to understand what works in a social media campaign and what doesn’t; this is the role of social media analytics.
Social media analytics is the process of using data to uncover trends or to unlock new opportunities. It can also be used to avoid potential problems in conveying a company’s message with others. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide marketers with a tremendous volume of data; the key to successful analysis of this data is to focus on what is important and what can be ignored. With the right information in hand and a careful evaluation of that information, marketers can create impactful, engaging social media presences that resonate with followers.
Key Data Sets in Analyzing Social Media Interactions
In order to be effective, internet marketing strategies must be tailored to specific audiences and user preferences. To do that, it can be valuable to look at the data social media platforms provide to marketers or those who manage specific online profiles. Unfortunately, there is often so much data available that marketers do not clearly understand what to put emphasis on. So, there are key data sets to consider:
- Engagement – a percentage of how users are interacting with a given post or a post containing a specific keyword. Interaction can include likes, comments, shares, tweets, and retweets.
- Virality – the rate at which a given post is being shared and how it spreads online from user interaction.
- Mentions – how often a word or phrase is mentioned on social media platforms and other online environments.
- Visual mentions – related to text-based mentions, this data shows how often brand logos or other identifying information appears in images shared online.
- Followers and impressions – the number of people who follow a social media profile, and the number of people who have viewed a given post.
- Post reach – the number of people who have seen your posts on social media. This data is typically broken into segments like total number, organic reach, and promotional reach.
Each of these four data sets offers tremendous insight to marketers, giving them a better understanding of what is working and what can be tweaked or adjusted to have a greater impact.
Tools on Social Media Platforms
Social media analytics can be complex; even by focusing on key data sets, it is all too easy to become overwhelmed. Luckily, most social media platforms offer specific tools to make the process easier. For example, Facebook provides Insights, a free tool available to any business page. This tool helps marketers understand their audiences and how they have interacted with posts.
Twitter offers a similar free tool, simply called Twitter Analytics. This tool shows users statistics based on tweets, impressions, visits to a given profile, number of followers, and many more aspects. Together, these statistics let marketers know who is following posts and how they are interacting with the posts.
There are many third-party tools that offer even more functionality. Talkwalker’s social media analytics platform is a popular choice for many online marketing professionals. Users can even analyze competitors’ social media metrics with this tool, which can uncover potential opportunities for new audiences.
Benefits of Social Media Analytics
As with any internet marketing strategy, users of social media analytics enjoy certain benefits. Once data is evaluated, marketers can gain insights such as:
- What types of posts work best (get high engagement levels from followers)
- What specific audiences are viewing posts
- What times followers are typically viewing posts
- How much reach posts are getting online
The benefits of these insights are clear – marketers can improve return on investment (ROI) by gaining a better understanding of user preferences and habits. They can also tailor future posts to reflect user preferences, further boosting engagement and interaction. Social media analytics is only one part of a more comprehensive marketing campaign. Digital marketers should take advantage of data to make smarter decisions, helping to ensure a growing pool of engaged and informed followers.
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