When it comes to digital marketing, every social-media savvy business knows the importance of creating, publishing and sharing relevant content.
But the question is, is it enough? Or should your brand go a step further?
The answer is yes. In order to craft a successful social media marketing strategy, you need to consistently work on optimizing your content.
You need to know how your social content is performing on a regular basis to ensure you deliver consistent value to your target audience.
Now, you simply cannot improve the performance of your content unless you keep track of what’s working and what’s not. That’s where social media metrics come in.
By reading into the right metrics, you not only get a better “social” vision, but you’re also less likely to make common rookie mistakes.
Choosing the right metrics to measure is what’s ultimately going to help you steer your social media marketing strategy in the right direction.
And there are basically two steps for doing so:
- The first step is to know your social media objectives and goals inside out. The more clarity you have on what you want to achieve with social media, the better you can focus on your metrics.
- The second step is to use an appropriate set of tools and have proper knowledge, or else you will not be able to prove a return on investment.
In order to apply the above two core steps efficiently, you need to keenly understand your social analytics, which basically involves:
- Collecting data from your campaigns and various social media accounts.
- Using the collected data to track and improve the overall performance of your social media marketing.
Checking your social analytics on a regular basis and efficiently reading into them will allow you to see what’s actually generating results. Then you can detect upcoming trends that could be beneficial for the campaign.
In simple words, the term “social analytics” refers to the act of gathering and then directly interpreting social media related data so that you can:
- Gain a better view of the current market conditions and do proper market research
- Understand where the target consumer stands and gain their unique insights
- Learn more about the preferences of your ideal audience
- Collect various types of feedback that can be used to arrive at better, more refined business decisions
According to Gohfar F. Khan, author of “Seven Layers of Social Media” book, social analytics is defined as…
“The art and science of extracting valuable hidden insights from vast amounts of semistructured and unstructured social media data to enable informed and insightful decision making.”
The use of social analytics is critical in today’s times for brands that want to make a mark. Not listening to social media conversations can be costly because it can lead to expensive mistakes. But due to the overwhelming nature of a large amount of available data, that’s exactly what’s happening with many businesses leveraging social media.
By using the right tools to not only capture, but also interpret conversations in the social media arena, brands can make real sense of their data. They can actually extract valuable insights by focusing on the signals, and avoiding the noise surrounding the social media world.
To put it broadly, social analytics not only helps businesses (of any size or type) gather the right kind of data. But they also make it easy for businesses to measure what level of impact their marketing efforts are having on their followers/fans. Which is necessary at all times.
Businesses can use social analytics in a number of ways (some of which we’ll be discussing in this post). But how they are used differs from business to business. Because what your brand wants to track and measure may not be the same as mine.
Let’s quickly go through the key metrics that you get access to when you use social analytics:
- Engagement: It tells you about the level of engagement your social media post receives in terms of likes, shares, etc.
- Mentions: It gives you information about how often your brand name or a particular word/phrase has been mentioned on various social media platforms.
- Visual Mentions: It lets you know the amount of times your brand logo appears in visuals posted on a particular social network.
- Sentiment: It sheds light on the kind of sentiment social media users have towards your industry, brand and even your competitors.
- Virality: It basically shows how “viral” your social media post is or how quickly it is being shared across a network.
- Share of Voice: It separates and tells you the percentage of mentions related to your brand (within your industry) compared to your competitor’s percentage of mentions.
If you are active on social media, you should know that there is a lot of valuable data floating around that can help your business (or any business) understand not only its consumers, but also its competitors.
However, in order to truly derive value out of this data, you need to separate shaft from the grain with the help of social analytics. By effectively using social analytics, you can take your unstructured but valuable data, and turn it into real, actionable insights that can help you take better and more calculated business decisions.
Taking your business objectives into consideration, you can utilize of the following types of social analytics to see best results.
1) Descriptive Analytics [Hindsight]
Descriptive analytics is reactive in nature, as it tends to focus on the “what” part: the happenings in the past and the present. And happens to be the most common or basic form of social analytics.
By leveraging descriptive analytics, your brand will be able to aggregate social media data in digestible forms such as:
Doing so helps you identify a core business problem or even discover an untapped opportunity. The comments that people leave on your Facebook or Instagram post, for example, come under descriptive analytics. When you analyze social media comments, you’re able to get closer to understanding user sentiments.
2) Diagnostic Analytics [Insight]
Diagnostic analytics are also reactive in nature, as it focuses on the “why” part and helps you get to the core of a successful social media campaign or a failed one.
When compared to descriptive analytics, which simply gives you a broad overview of your campaign performance, diagnostic analytics gives you more. It can filter through the broad data and give you key points on what made your past campaigns work.
In other words, you get detailed insights into why a particular campaigned performed in a certain way; information that you can then use to improve your future campaigns.
3) Predictive Analytics [Foresight]
Predictive analytics is proactive in nature, where you go deeper by analyzing vast amounts of social media data accumulated over a period of time. The purpose here is to predict a future event that can benefit or even save a social media campaign.
So yes, as the name suggests, predictive analytics deals with the future or what is to come. It involves questioning both, “what” and as well as “why”. If an event happens, it tells what would it be and why it’ll occur.
For example, let’s say that you’re looking out to generate more leads or sales (which is a future event), you’ll be analyzing your social media data for any intention from users that may lead to this event. In this case, the words that you would be monitoring would be buy, purchase, want, need, etc.
The idea is to increase the chances of a favorable event happening by reading into its possibility much earlier. So if a social media user expresses interest in your product or service, predictive analytics give you information on whether he/she will hit the buy button or not – and what would be influencing their decision.
4) Prescriptive Analytics [Foresight]
Prescriptive analytics, which is proactive in nature, goes beyond predictive analytics. Because it not only informs you of a future event, but also gives you clarity on how you should approach the scenario for best possible results. Social media is made up of all kinds of users. So it’s important that you deal with different types of groups in a way that is suitable to them.
Regardless of the type of group of social media users you are dealing with, no matter how diverse, using prescriptive analytics allows you to know what you can do in order to have the highest reach.
For instance, if you have varied groups of social media users who have clearly shown interest in certain products/services that you offer, you’ll have to fully optimize your approach for them. This allows your offering to meet the need of all groups and see better results.
As a business, without properly understanding your data, getting ahead of your competitors on social media is not only difficult but also risky. Why?
Because data is what makes your campaigns tick. You cannot analyze your audience and make sense of your results unless you have access to data. And data is only useful when it is fully understood with the help of social analytics.
When you work on measuring the overall success of your social media content strategy, you are able to get so much more out of your marketing efforts — regardless of the social network you are on.
Here are eight solid, practical ways social analytics can help you take your business growth to the next level.
#1: They Help You Serve Your Audience Better
In order to find success with social media marketing, it’s important to know what your audience wants so you can serve them in the best possible way.
There are many ways to understand your audience. But have you considered using social analytics to do so? By looking into your social data, you’ll know what direction to steer your marketing efforts without making any huge blunders.
For example, there’s a lot of debate on what time is the best to share social media content. Different social media experts have different answers. However, when you leverage social analytics and analyze your existing content posts, you’ll know exactly what times have worked for you best in the past. That’s when you’ll have a customized answer.
Similarly, you can dissect your “social data” to understand the behavior of your audience and see how you can improve their experience by giving them more of what they want. Remember, the better you understand your target audience and their requirements, the better you will be able to serve them.
#2: They Tell You What Social Networks to Focus on for Best Results
Let’s face it, every social network is unique, with a unique audience. So it’s wishful thinking to think that you can make every social media network work for you.
Some social networks, such as Facebook, have a huge number of users when compared to smaller (yet popular) social networks such as LinkedIn or Pinterest. However, depending on your social media goals, you may find more success on a smaller network, because that’s where your audience hangs out.
So how do you know what social network will give you the best of the best results? That’s right – by using social analytics to find out which network is driving the most engagement, traffic (and maybe even sales) to your business.
Once you know what social network to focus on, you’ll be able to allocate your time/budget to it without wasting your resources on something that’s clearly not working.
#3: They Help You Share More Relevant Content
One of the side effects of tracking activity on your social network is you’ll get a better understanding of what content works for your audience. Looking into your social analytics will make it less challenging for you to find and share results-driven content.
For example, finding success with Twitter marketing is about sharing content that resonates with your audience. With the help of social analytics, you’ll know what content performs better. If your followers are responding strongly by sharing your image-based tweets, then you should focus on adding relevant images to all your tweets.
#4: They Help You Know Your Competition Better
Regardless of the niche you are operating in, you are bound to have competitors who are leveraging social media actively. Every single strategy that they use and the type of content they create will lead to unique data that you can analyze.
Using this data, you can refine your own strategy and avoid any mistakes that they’ve made. The ultimate result would be a higher return on investment in the long run.
#5: They Let You Formulate a Better Social Media Posting Strategy
No brand has a perfect social media strategy. But you can certainly have a better one than your competitors by leveraging the right social metrics.
Initially your strategy probably won’t give you outstanding results. But as you regularly look into your social analytics, you’ll know what mistakes to avoid when creating and posting content. With time, you’ll be able to optimize your strategy and keep improving your results.
#6: They Help You Identify Micro Influencers
Now, when we say influencers, we’re certainly not referring the big shots a.k.a macro influencers. We’re referring to micro or niche influencers that aren’t that famous, but are perfect for your social media goals.
These micro influencers may be following you and may already be sharing/engaging with your social media content. By studying your social analytics, you’ll be able to find out who’s actively commenting on your posts and sharing them.
And by doing this, you will be able to spot some micro-influencers who you can collaborate with. Remember not to base your choice on the number of followers they have. But rather, their followers should be engaged and actively interact with them. Influencers who are constantly visible, have a credible image, share an audience similar to your target market and have a good track record are good choices.
Once you identify these influencers and know what common characteristics they share, you can directly engage them and also create more content that appeals to them.
#7: They Make It Easy to Save Time
According to the Annual Small Business Internet Marketing Study conducted by Roundpeg, a whopping 44% of business owners spend less than 30 minutes per day on social media marketing.
When doing social media marketing, saving time is important. And that’s exactly what happens as you focus on keeping track of your results and making use of various tools that help you get better results, faster.
Also, when you understand what kind of content is leading to the most engagement and clicks, you’ll invest more of your time in the right direction.
#8: They Help in Improving Your ROI
Investing in the right social analytics tools and using them doesn’t cost you much, both in terms of time and money. However, as you continue using the right tools over a long period of time, you will save much more in other areas where you may have invested blindly.
On top of that, you have a better chance of making your business earn more profits as you keep track of the leads/sales you generate via social media. All of which leads to a much higher return on investment.
Tracking and properly measuring your social media performance is what ultimately leads to optimal results. And thanks to social analytics, doing this is no longer considered rocket science. But still, you need to be smart within your approach, or else you’ll end up putting in a ton of time with little results to show.
Here’s how you can make the most of your social analytics by focusing on things that matter and by investing your time more wisely.
Tip #1: Establish a Proper Baseline
If you truly want to make the most of your social media data, then it’s important to establish proper baselines before you start analyzing it.
Go through the data in your social analytics over a timeline of few months to a year. Your aim here is not to get into the details. It’s more about finding out the average performance for every social media channel you are on. Social networks like Facebook already allow you to save all your analytics data in an easy to read spreadsheet format.
The idea is to note down all the averages of all the KPIs that are critical for your business. Whether it’s reach, clicks or engagements, get it on paper so that you’re ready to confidently move forward.
Tip #2: Use Google Analytics to Find Top Channels
There’s no doubt that Google Analytics is a goldmine when it comes to mining data. So why not use it to enhance your social media marketing?
If you look into the “social referral” section of Google Analytics, you’ll find a list of all the social channels that are sending traffic to your website. You’ll know in one glance which of the channels are sending the most visitors.
Another good thing about Google Analytics is it lets you go deeper by examining critical data such as page views and time spent on site. Which means you can also learn about the quality of traffic sent by each social channel.
When you know the top social channels that are sending you high-converting traffic, you’ll be able to devote more time and efforts to them.
Tip #3: Fine-tune Your Goals
Creating practical social media marketing goals is an integral part of a successful strategy. Without the right goals you’ll have a hard time winning the social media game.
Your goals can be measured in…
- Conversion Rate
- Follower Growth
Basically, your social media goals should co-relate to your core business goals. One effective way to do so is to focus on creating “SMART” goals, which basically are…
It’s okay to have flexible goals that change with time. However, it’s important that you keep an eye on your targets and update them every quarter. This will allow you to compare your progress against the previous quarter’s achievements.
Tip #4: Find Your Best Timing
Keep in mind that in the social media world, what works for someone, may not work for you and vice versa. Which is why it’s important to experiment with timing of your social media posts.
Timing is a factor that doesn’t seem like it would have a big influence on the results, but eventually it does. Sometimes posting at the right time on a consistent basis can result in huge growth over a short period of time. But once again, this requires a good level of testing.
There are many tools that you can use to find when your followers are highly active. Tapping into this time doesn’t guarantee results, but it’ll increase your chances.
When Buffer analyzed 4.8 million tweets, they discovered that tweets posted from 2 AM to 3 AM attracted the highest number of clicks. Your findings may differ and be surprising, but will be worth it.
Now it’s time to take this guide and put it to good use. We know we just threw a lot of information at you, so take a minute to really comprehend it before you start implementing it.
If you got it, then that means you understand how time-consuming analyzing your social analytics can be. We know that too. Which is why we including it in our social media marketing services. When you work with us, we not only create and schedule your content but also monitor and optimize your social pages based on the social analytics we track with our software.
Sound like your cup of tea? Great! We’d love to help your business grow. Contact us to speak with one of our experts and learn how to get started with a solid social media plan today.