The All-In-One Guide to Social Media Analytics

2018/06/25 08:00

Social Media Analytics guide

Understanding social media analytics, which tools you should be using and the metrics that matter the most.

Gone are the days when having a Facebook page and collecting as many Likes as possible was the height of social media success. Today, social media provides businesses with a platform to not only engage with their customers but to learn more about them too.

With countless consumers using social media to express themselves, shop, engage and consume content, it has quickly become one of the most powerful tools available to businesses today.

Social media analytics explained

So what is social media analytics exactly?

Social media analytics refers to the process of collecting insights and data from social media platforms in order to make strategic business decisions. Social media analytics helps brands develop an in-depth profile on their target audience in order to provide them with a more personalised experience and improve business functions such as customer service and marketing.

Why social media analytics matter

Social media analytics helps businesses better understand their customers’ motives and how they make decisions so that marketing and other businesses processes can be optimised in order to increase turnover and enhance brand reputation.

In order to gain the most value from social media analytics, it’s important to first establish your business objectives. What are you aiming to achieve by collecting and analysing social media data? Examples of objectives include collecting feedback on new or existing products and services, increasing turnover, enhancing your brand’s reputation or decreasing customer service costs.

Social media analytics matter because they help businesses:

  • Gain a competitive advantage. The more you understand your target audience, the better you’ll be able to cater to their needs and address their pain points. Customers prefer to do business with brands that offer them a more personalised experience. If your customers can relate to your brand more than your competitors, you will have a major advantage in your sector.
  • Improve businesses processes. By understanding how your customers make decisions and their motives behind choosing specific products, services and brands, you can enhance your internal processes in order to offer them a better experience with your brand. Whether this is how your customer service department operates or how you deliver your products, social media analytics can provide these additional insights.
  • Discover potential opportunities. Listening to your customers, learning more about how they think and looking at how they engage with content and brands online may be able to highlight potential opportunities and gaps in the market that your business could fill.

Social media metrics that matter

One of the most common pitfalls when it comes to measuring, collecting and analysing online data from any platform is knowing which metrics matter.

Social Media analytics Metrics

Below are some of the most important metrics that you should be keeping track of in order to use social media more strategically:

  • Audience Profile & Size

Social media is one of the few tools out there that can give you in-depth information on your target audience. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook give you the ability to see how many of your fans and followers have particular interests or fall into certain groups. For example, you probably have a good idea of who your customers are so when you setup a Facebook ad campaign, test out different interests when selecting your targeting to see how many of your fans actually tick the boxes you thought they did. Twitter’s reports will also let you analyse the categories that your followers fall into. These exercises will help you develop stronger profiles on your target audience so that you can better understand what they’re all about. It also pays to keep track of the size of your audience. If you are noticing a decline in the size of your audience, it might be useful to track who is unfollowing you. You may be able to link this decline to a particular campaign, your latest content or a bad customer experience so that you can make the relevant improvements.

  • Reach and Engagement

In order to achieve the best possible ROI from social media, you want to reach as many people as possible and have them engage with your content, which is why these metrics are important. Your social media analytics tool will be able to tell you how many people you’re currently reaching with your content and which posts are receiving the most engagement.

The messaging and content of each post will once again give you valuable insights into what your customers are interested in and what wording is grabbing their attention the most. These metrics will not only influence your content and online marketing strategies but also help you understand how you should be engaging with your customers at other touch points.

  • Traffic & Conversions

Knowing which channels and posts are sending the most traffic to your website will allow you to use your business’s time, money and resources more efficiently. This metric is particularly important if you are running campaigns on social media. Along with that, knowing which campaigns are resulting in the most conversions will make optimisation a lot easier and lead to higher turnover. By linking your social media campaigns to the user journey on your site, you will also gain valuable insights into whether the journey on your site is overly complicated and causing potential customers to drop off instead of having them convert.  

  • Brand Sentiment

Every business should be tracking what customers are saying about them online and whether this is impacting the business in a positive or negative way. Tracking brand sentiment means looking at the positive, negative, or neutral mentions of your brand, product or service across various social media platforms. Most tools that allow you to track this metric will also give you the option to track certain phrases and keywords in order to keep a close eye on your brand’s online reputation. Not only will this help your marketing department better cater to customer needs but it will ensure that your sales and customer service teams can also improve their processes and approach.

  • Content Analysis

Since content is such an integral part of most digital marketing strategies, it should be tracked at every touch point including social media. In fact, social media will probably provide you with the most valuable stats and data on your content, allowing you to provide your customers, fans and followers with more of the content they love and find valuable. Social media analytics will highlight which content is receiving the most engagement and driving the most traffic to your site, which will allow your team to use their time and resources more strategically when developing future content and social media posts. Social media is also the best platform to use to experiment with different content formats such as video, podcasts, blogs and images.

  • Competitors

If you want to stand out and excel in your industry, you need to know what your competitors are doing online. You are competing for customers after all. Most social media analytics tools will let you compare your social media accounts to those of your competitors to find out where you stand, what you’re doing really well and which areas could use some improvement. This is not to say that you should be copying what your competitors are doing, it’s more about understanding what you could be doing better or how you can offer your customers something new and different.

Top social media analytics tools in 2018

Below is a list of some of the most useful social media analytics tools that your brand should consider in 2018.

  1. Inbuilt social media analytics tools. While there are several great social media analytics tools that you can use to monitor and track your brand, competitors and customers online, most social media platforms already offer inbuilt analytics that you should definitely be taking advantage of. Facebook Audience and Page Insights, Twitter Analytics, Instagram Insights, and YouTube Analytics can all be used to gain valuable insights.
  2. Buzzsumo. This analytics tool looks at how your website’s content is performing on social media. Buzzsumo will show you how often your content is shared and what content is making the biggest impact on each platform based on length, type and publish date.  
  3. Sprout Social. This tool allows you to measure your performance across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, all from one interactive dashboard. Sprout Social gives you access to functionality such as keyword tracking, trend and engagement reports, campaign tagging and reporting, and more.
  4. Brandwatch Analytics. If you’re looking to monitor conversations around your brand online, this is a great tool. Brandwatch also gives customers access to competitor data and consumer insights.
  5. SumAll. This analytics tool works with a number of social media platforms. Not only can businesses automate their content using this tool but they can also track their performance with the help of in-depth data.
  6. Brand24. Track your brand mentions and sentiment as well as your influence score across several social media platforms using this analytics tool.

There are a number of great tools available out there, with many of them focusing on particular areas of social media analytics. Decide what’s going to be most important to your brand and choose a tool accordingly.

Are there any social media analytics tools that you’re currently using or interested in?