“Are my social media efforts working?”
If you run a business or work in the marketing department of one that has an online presence, then you’ve probably asked yourself this question. After all, there are only so many hours in a day, so if you’re going to spend your time promoting your business on social media, you’d like for it to pay off—otherwise that time could have been better spent elsewhere.
This is why social platforms include analytics tools. The idea of social media analytics is to give you insight into how your efforts on those platforms are panning out. Which posts are engaging users, which channels are a better fit for your business, how you stack up against the competition—these are all things that analytics can help with.
It’s easy to think of social media analytics as just a set of numbers—how many followers you have, how many likes, comments, shares, or retweets you garner… and it’s certainly true that you can take such an approach to analytics. But if you do, you’re really not using them to their full potential. A strong analytics tool (and the team that uses it) should provide more than just numbers. They should tell a story based on the facts, one which illustrates how your campaigns are progressing, and helps determine what your next move should be.
Don’t just look at how many followers you have, but at the quality of those followers: how many of them engage with your content? Do they share it? Are they influencers—in other words, do you get a lot of traffic from their shares? Don’t just look at likes, but at click-throughs, and how many conversions come through each social channel. Properly used, social analytics are a window into the nuances of whyyour social media efforts are or aren’t working.
Does your business use social media? If you’re spending money on social media, then you want to make sure that you’re getting a positive ROI, and if you’re not, you’ll want to either adjust your spending or adjust your strategy to ensure that you are.
Do you use multiple social channels? Analytics tools are a great way to compare and contrast performance across various platforms. Facebook is different from Twitter, and Snapchat is different from them both, and Pinterest is doing its own thing—each network is different, and not all of them will be a strong fit for your business. Using analytics can help you decide where your efforts are best applied.
Is there a gap between your followers and the success of your social campaigns? Analytics are great for determining the quality of followers, identifying influencers, and determining which types of content are driving the most engagement. This can also cut down on the time spent if you discover that certain posts aren’t performing as well as others.
Perhaps the biggest question to ask is – who are your customers? Who are the customers you want to attract? Every business, and on a higher level, every vertical, has a different demographic group or groups to work with, and social media usage is different across different demographics. While social media analytics can help determine if your social efforts are having a valuable ROI, if your audience is largely offline, then you may not get much ROI from the analytics themselves.
Again, if you’re just looking for numbers without intending to take the time to divine more meaningful information from them, then investing in social analytics beyond what a site or platform can offer you for free is not going to be the best use of your time or money. Raw numbers of followers, likes, shares, and so on are worthless without context and nuance. If you want to invest in getting great insight into your followers and how they interact with you, then social media analytics is the right choice for you.