Social analytics

Social Analytics: Learn to Embrace it to Improve Your Marketing

I often hear small business owners complain that the marketing they’re doing isn’t working. However, they don’t know exactly what they were expecting, nor what their actual results were.

It’s frustrating.

I’m a huge proponent of measuring analytics and insights, as well as having goals for that very reason. If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve (other than making a ton of money), how can you measure results?

While this concept applies to every type of marketing, let’s focus today just on measuring results through your social analytics.

Start with objectives

Before you can measure how well your social media efforts are doing, you have to first decide where you want to go and what you want to achieve.

Each social media platform is different, so you should establish goals for each channel. For example, Twitter is a great place to get shares and retweets of your content, while Facebook might get more clicks and comments.

Before you establish goals for each social channel, however, look at where you are right now in terms of the number of followers you have and your level of engagement. These are areas you likely will want to include in your goals, and you want to be specific about what you want those numbers to increase by. Start by knowing where you are and using that as a benchmark.

What to measure

Over the years, there has been a lot of back and forth about how to measure the ROI of social media.The problem is, people wanted to apply the same rules to measure ROI that they used for other types of marketing to this new creature, which simply can’t be done.

The end goal of any type of marketing is to make sales or gain exposure to your brand. People often take crooked paths to those sales, depending on the channel. For example, someone might click to read a blog post you shared on Twitter, but she won’t immediately buy a product from your site. She might then subscribe to your blog, and then months from now, end up on your site and buy from you. It’s impossible to measure the dollar value of that click because typically, there’s not a direct correlation between it and a sale.

Instead, focus on the proof that your social media marketing is working. Are more people following you over time? Clicking your links? Sharing your content? If so, you’re moving in the right direction.

Typically, the following metrics in social analytics worth paying attention to are:

  • Number of followers
  • Amount of traffic sent from a particular social network
  • Number of people who share or comment on your updates

Where to look

There are a few places you’ll want to check in to measure results. The first is your Google Analytics, or other website analytics dashboard. Here, you’re looking under Acquisition on the left sidebar to see how much of your web traffic came from social media sites. This is your social analytics. You can even see which social channels are generating the best traffic. These are the ones you’ll want to put more focus on.

If you use Facebook, look at those insights next. Here, you get valuable data about who your followers are, how old they are, and where they live. You can also see the popularity of any given post you’ve published. If you’re considering Facebook Advertising, Insights can guide you to determining which updates are worth investing in promoting.

Next, look at Twitter Analytics. Here, you’ll get trends over time, like how much your following has increased (or decreased), as well as how many more mentions you’re getting, and your most popular Tweet.

What to do with the data

All of this information is useless if you don’t do anything with it! Pay careful attention to what the data tells you. If you’re listening, you will see which topics you need to veer away from because they’re unpopular, as well as what your audience loves (do more of it!). You will find out where your traffic is coming from, and you can nurture that. You can also get a sense of how a given marketing campaign has done, and that can shape future efforts.

My advice is measure, measure, measure. Until you know what works in attracting your audience on social media, you risk wasting your time. On the other hand, if you know exactly what’s working with social analytics, you’ll quickly ramp up your marketing skills and be able to deliver what your audience really wants. By succeeding in building a connection with them, you’ll move them toward becoming customers.

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