How to Use Social Media Analytics to Make Marketing Decisions

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Social Media Analytics

It’s no secret that brands need to be active on social media platforms in order to be seen by the masses, and hopefully, their target audience. But what are the numbers on the back-end telling you? How can you use the data from your social media channels to help improve your marketing strategy and tactics?

It’s one thing to be present on social media, but if you’re not making decisions based on the data it’s giving you, it’s a waste of time and effort.

The Kinds of Data You’ll Get

All social media platforms collect data on all sorts of things. Data are the numbers you’ll be seeing on the back-end, and you’ll use these numbers to do some analysis and figure out what’s a success and what isn’t. Here are some examples of the data you’ll get from social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook:

  • Shares
  • Likes
  • URL clicks
  • Keyword analysis
  • New followers
  • Comments
  • Mentions
  • Impressions
  • Hashtag usage

If you use Google Analytics for website data, you can also use it to get information related to social media. For example, Google Analytics will report things such as:

  • Which social media platform brought users to your website
  • How long those users spend on your website
  • What percentage of users leave your website after only a single view

Google Analytics offers several other data pieces and can further help you shape decisions about what to post on social media.

Determine What Success Looks Like

Before you even take a look at the numbers, figure out what social media success looks like to your business. You can do this even if you haven’t created your social media profiles yet. For example, for some brands, getting more followers is the goal. But for others, maybe it’s about promoting content and getting conversions based on content promotion.

There’s no right or wrong answer here. Use your business strategy to guide you through this process and determine what success on social media would look like in your company. Determining these key performance indicators (KPIs) before you get started — whether you’re just now getting started on the platform or just now getting started analyzing the data — will help you weed through all of the data and truly see what is working and what isn’t.

Create and Post Content That Matches Trends

Once you’ve determined your KPIs, you can start to look for trends related to your business or brand. For example, when you look at your Instagram data, it will show you what published content has performed the best so far. Look for a trend there — is it all pictures of animals? Is it all graphics that include an inspirational quote? If so, use that to help you craft future posts.

You might have to dig a little deeper to find the trend. Maybe the trend is the time of day you’re posting the content, or it’s the way the caption is written that gets people’s attention. All of this information is helpful and should guide your future posts so that you can get the maximum reach with everything you publish.

Customize Content for Each Platform

With so many different social media platforms, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with what kind of content to post on each. You can post similar content on every platform, but it’s going to perform better if you customize each post to best fit the platform. When you’re looking at and analyzing your past content, work to get a feel for what types of posts do best on each platform.

Each platform has their own way of presenting the data, but all of them will give you access to the numbers. This way, you can see what posts reached the most people (got the most impressions), had the most engagement (users clicked through or “liked” it or even shared it), and what posts get the most comments.

Once you start to get a feel for the types of content that perform best on each platform, you can better plan a content strategy in the future. You might have notes like this:

  • Twitter: Short, witty statements paired with images and fitting hashtag(s)
  • Instagram: Great images with informational captions, a mix of hashtags and a link in the bio section
  • Facebook: Longer captions with quality links and a great photo
  • Pinterest: Infographic linked to informational listicle/article
  • LinkedIn: Business or personal-development content articles and links with targeted hashtags

The more detailed your notes are, the better you can plan for future content no matter what type of marketing challenge comes your way. This will also help you take one piece of content and tweak it to succeed on each platform.

Utilize Audience Profiles for Custom Content

The more you get familiar with the social media analytics for each platform, you’ll almost be developing personas for each one. Some social media platforms even provide information about the users interacting with your brand. For example, you might get information as to what their interests are — sports, food, politics — and even their online hobbies. All of this information will help you to better target the content you’re publishing.

Keep in mind that these personas, or profiles, will likely evolve over time. The more followers you get, the more data that will be coming in. If you’re making social media reports or documenting your personas, make it a habit to keep tabs on any evolution in the data you’re seeing so you can continue to shape and target your content.

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