Understanding Social Media Analytics: An Expert’s View
The importance of Social Media for brands is relatively well known and written about. However, it is important for brands to use Social Media Analytics to understand their audiences. Social Media Analytics is becoming an important aspect of Social Media Marketing. In order to understand customer behaviors, analyze trends, reassess performances brands are using social media analytics in a big way.
What is Social Media Analytics?
In recent years, social media analytics have become more than just an extension of a brand’s website. For many industries, it holds more importance even than a brand website. The dynamism of social media and its inherent personality is responsible for more than 3 billion people using it.
The importance of social media analytics and how it can contribute towards marketing and sales strategy has been well established. These analytics have been critical for brands in improving connect with present and new audiences.
Any social media marketing strategy cannot start unless social media analytics provide background research. For brands, social media analytics can come from either the-
- Social Media Pages themselves, or;
- Social Media Marketing Tools.
One important question that might arise among brands and marketers is whether-
Is it really worth spending so much time on social media analytics?
There is already a separate social media team at work?
Does it make sense to make an addition to the team and extend the KPIs?
To all those questions, I would answer a resounding ‘Yes’!
The biggest advantage of social media analytics is that it helps you track data and metrics. In 2019, it is data, which helps make or break marketing, advertising, and sales strategies.
In 2019, brands can no longer just create an image creative, write copy and post it on their profiles.
- What post is to be created (image, video, GIF, Live Feed)
- What image is to be used (stock photo, real imagery, text on image)
- When it is to be posted (Time of the day, the regularity of the posts)
- What demographics are to be targeted (according to the brand)
- How social media stores should be used for brands
Social Media Analytics: Tracking Progress and Engagement
The importance of social media analytics has become even more resounding because of changes in social media algorithms.
As more and more people become part of social media, social media companies have tweaked their algorithms. The effects of these were-
- Limited organic reach
- Prioritizing engagement as compared to just likes and follower counts
- Changing the types of content that are promoted
- Increase in the impetus given to social media marketing spends and promotions
In the past couple of years, the ad spends on social media is nearly rivaling Google. This is, of course, taking the share of all the social media companies.
The increase in money invested on social media necessitated the sharp and intelligent use of social media analytics. As the switch from just content to informative content has been made, brands have woken up and used social media analytics accordingly.
Traditional models of marketing have been historically ROI driven. Given the rise of social media, the same expectation in terms of ROIs was natural to arise. To get the most out of social media, marketers need a road map that would help them deliver ROIs.
Social Media Analytics helps marketers chart a constructive and full-proof roadmap for social media strategy. Yes, the heavy investments in monetary terms make you careful in terms of planning and allocating budgets.
If a strategy is going wrong, just print out the analytics, do course-correction and reassess the way forward.
Types of Metrics that Social Media Analytics help with:
According to Techopedia-
“Social media analytics (SMA) refers to the approach of collecting data from social media sites and blogs and evaluating that data to make business decisions. This process goes beyond the usual monitoring or a basic analysis of retweets or “likes” to develop an in-depth idea of the social consumer.”
If you want to follow all social media analytics and address each one of them, you must have a million dollar budget. However, it is not possible for every brand to look at all analytics from a social media marketing point of view.
It is not only the big brands, which can take recourse to social media analytics, to help their cause. However, it is also possible for smaller brands to look at analytics and data to help themselves.
We list some metrics that are important-
1. Analyzing Followers and Demographics:
If you are a young brand, creating content for 70+ age groups is not a good way to go. Social media companies give very helpful insight into the audience demographics. If you are able to analyze social media analytics, you will understand which type of people are engaging with your brand.
This differentiation is in terms of gender, age, profession, ethnicity/country, and several other markers. Scrutinizing and analyzing this data is crucial for brands. This helps craft social media and content strategies.
2. Analyzing the Content:
There is no point pushing static images as posts when they are not performing. If you have helpful insights with regard to what performs, you will be able to create better content. Content, which, engages and performs well with audiences is important for any brand to go well.
For example, we all know now that videos perform better than images on social media. Almost all brands and agencies agree on this. However, social media analytics was the first to point this three to four years ago.
3. Which Social Media Platform is right for you?
It is not possible for every brand to have a presence on all social media channels. It is common knowledge that some brands perform better on particular social platforms. . Social media analytics helps you understand what social media marketing platforms you should adapt to.
By using data, a brand will know which the correct platform is for it. Be it in terms of engagement or increase in follower base. Brands can use this data to concentrate their resources on that particular platform.
4. Analytics help plan for the future:
Brands can no longer take social media marketing in a non-serious fashion. The rise and importance of social media have made it necessary for brands to plan. In terms of strategy, future projects and processes, social media analytics play a great role.
A brand, which has not done well on social media in one year, can transform its fortunes in the next year. This is the dynamism and influence of social media in the world today.
Where can you get Social Media Analytics?
If you need to use social media analytics, you need to get some tools to help you extract the data. Twitter Insights and Facebook Insights offer a host of exhaustive reports and insights. These range from demographic details to content performance.
I personally feel that Facebook Insights are quite credible, extensive in terms of understanding audiences, and content. If you want to use paid tools, by taking help from social media tools that are provided by Hubspot, Social Sprout, Buffer, and other companies.
If you have allocated a significant portion of your budget to tools, you should definitely use paid tools.
Subscribing to paid tools is something that is becoming very commonplace in 2019. However, the biggest development of the last year is the growth of big data analytics firms. The growth of such firms points to the next way forward for social media as a whole.
Gone are those days when a social media manager with a barista in their hands would handle social media for brands. Now, it is all about data scientists analyzing tons of reports and helping bring out solutions.
The Final Word:
Social media is becoming an increasingly crowded and competitive domain. With more and more brands and users joining it every day, the need is to make your brand stand out. Social media analytics helps brands stand out and come up with stellar content.
I have seen brands rise and grow in a matter of two months by taking help from data and analytics. I am not talking about huge brands, but restaurant brand and a small artifact brand.
As social media keeps embedding itself more and more in our lives, data will keep getting important.
The more access to the information you have, the better your performance will be. Social media is no longer ‘throw anything and see what sticks’ platform. Sometime back, this is what brands would do. They would try different things and waste time and resources. Today data and analytics pave the way forward towards ensuring a more definite comprehensive step forward.
If you have any other questions about social media analytics or social media marketing, please feel free to reach out to me. firstname.lastname@example.org
I invite you to contribute to the article by adding value in the comments section.