Social Media Analytics: Why And How To Measure Them

Social Media Analytics Why And How To Measure Them

Put yourself in the shoes of a marketer and think about how you can best utilize social media for marketing. Obviously, you want to measure the success of your strategy and decide whether or not to continue down this path. 

What Is Social Media Analytics?

Social media analytics measures, analyzes, and reports audience trends and activities within social media channels.

To do this, you need to look at more than just the numbers. You need to look at the data point that proves whether or not your efforts have been successful.

Social media analytics can track and analyze a variety of social media metrics, including:

  • Retweets
  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Kudos (+1, +2, etc)
  • Location-based content (e.g. Instagram geotags, Foursquare check-ins)
  • Commerce and marketing (e.g. Google Analytics, Facebook Ads)
  • Demographics (e.g. Hootsuite’s Audience Insights)

As a business owner, marketer, or brand manager, you may wonder what social media analytics is and how it can help your business.

What You Need To Know

First of all, it’s important to note that social media analytics can vary in size, shape, and function across different social media platforms. What it basically is, is the analysis of various social media metrics to understand and track the behavior of social media audiences.

In essence, social media analytics analyzes social media data to understand, engage, and convert audiences into customers and advocates.

Why Analyze Social Media Metrics?

You may be wondering why you would want to analyze social media metrics. After all, these platforms can be overwhelming, fast-paced, and sometimes chaotic. From a business perspective, this may not seem valuable. 

In reality, understanding your audience’s behavior and trends via social media provides you with invaluable insight into your audience’s needs, wants, and expectations. The metrics also allow you to track the effectiveness of your social media campaigns and determine if they resonate with your audience or need to be altered to be more effective.

Additionally, many social media platforms provide you with detailed analytics on how effective your content is. For example, on TikTok, you can look at how many people actually watched your video (not just viewed but actually engaged with it). 

This type of analysis can help you pinpoint any potential problems with your content, such as low view counts, which could indicate that your video is not resonating with your audience.

Why Should You Be Tracking Social Media Performance?

It is important to measure the performance of your social media strategy because a lot can go wrong. If you’re not tracking analytics, you have no idea whether or not your efforts are paying off. 

Did your hashtag campaign help increase your social media presence? Have you noticed an increase in the number of people interacting with your content when you use specific hashtags? Are you using the right hashtags for the type of content you publish?

The list of potential questions is endless. The fact is, there is a lot that can go wrong with a hashtag campaign, so it is essential that you track its performance and make adjustments where necessary. 

Even small changes can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your campaign. For example, if you’re using hashtags on your blog posts, try using the #b2c hashtag on Instagram and the #bkc hashtag on Twitter. 

This will help increase the exposure of your content to people searching for those hashtags.

Types Of Social Media Analytics

Depending on your business goals, you may be interested in pursuing different types of social media analytics. For example, if you’re a brand marketer, you may be looking to carry out marketing research. 

At the same time, a small business owner may just want to understand his or her audience’s behavior.

Each type of social media analysis has its perks and limitations. As a business owner, you may want to consider which type of analysis is right for you.

  • Marketing Research

If your goal is to carry out marketing research, you may be wondering what types of analysis you need to pursue. First, you want to ensure that you are collecting data from the right sources. You can’t trust solely on your own website as you may not get an accurate picture of what’s going on. 

Luckily, social media platforms like SurveyMonkey make obtaining quick and easy online surveys a breeze. You can create a survey using their easy-to-follow wizard, and within minutes you’ll have an engaging survey set up.

One of the major advantages of marketing research is that you can easily adjust your survey questions and test different versions to see which one resonates the most with your audience. You don’t want to limit yourself to just one approach, as it may not be right for every business.

  • View Count And Other Engagement Metrics

If you’re looking to get a general sense of a video’s popularity, you can either look at the view count or engage metrics of a video. View count is the number of times a video has been watched.

Engagement metrics, on the other hand, can measure various aspects of an audience’s interaction with a video, including:

    • Likes(+1, +2, etc)
    • Shares
    • Comments
    • Retweets(+1, +2, etc)
    • Responses to social media posts
    • Repins

There are several advantages to looking at engagement metrics rather than view counts. For example, you can see how many people actually listened to your podcast episode rather than just downloaded it. 

Additionally, you can see how much content was shared on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

Each of these platforms provides you with various metrics that can measure your audience’s behavior. Knowing how to analyze these metrics properly allows you to understand your audience’s behavior and engage with them on a deeper level.

It’s also important to note that the metrics may not be reliable as they can be manipulated by the person or people uploading the content.

  • Demographics

If you’re an advertiser or brand marketer, you may be interested in pursuing demographics. After all, knowing the audience that your product or service is geared towards can help you pinpoint the right audiences and strategies for marketing.

Luckily, there’s an abundance of information on social media platforms like Facebook that can provide you with accurate demographic information. 

Did you know that you can actually look up the demographics of any Facebook user just by their email address? 

Simply visit the Facebook Ads dashboard, locate the row of numbers representing the user you’re interested in (ideally, you want to track a random sample of your audience), and then click on the “Get Details” button.

This will link you to a page with all the demographic data about that user (including age, gender, and interests).

From there, you can locate the city and state that the user lives in, and then you’ll see a map with all the demographic data for that city. You can also find similar data for other locations that are relevant to your business.

  • Location-Based Content

If you’re an entertainer or want to create a buzz about your product, you may consider incorporating location-based content into your social media marketing campaigns. Once you’ve decided to pursue this route, there’s a wide variety of platforms, including:

    • Instagram
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Pinterest
    • Tumblr
    • YouTube
    • Snapchat
    • Devices (e.g. Apple Maps, Google Maps)

There are various advantages to using location-based content in your marketing strategy. For example, you can easily find your audience based on their locations.

If you want to target audiences in a certain city or region, you must enter that location into the relevant field on the appropriate platform.

The location of your audience can also be used to determine the content of your campaigns, whether you’re creating new content or reusing existing content, such as blog posts.

  • Commerce And Marketing

If your business is involved in e-commerce or marketing campaigns through traditional media (e.g. TV ads, radio spots, etc.), you may also want to consider pursuing these types of analytics. 

For example, Google Analytics offers a whole section within its analytics dashboard specifically geared toward marketing and e-commerce activities.

You can easily determine the ROI of your marketing and e-commerce campaigns. Just look at the number of leads generated versus the amount spent on these campaigns.

  • Omnichannel, Multichannel, And Video Audience Studies

Depending on your business goals, you may want to consider pursuing omnichannel, multichannel, or video audience studies. These types of analyses can help you determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts across multiple platforms.

If you want to increase your audience on different platforms, you may want to try a multichannel strategy.

For example, if you’ve been doing a lot of TV advertising and want to see how effective this strategy has been on other platforms, you can use these analytics tools to track all the digital behaviors of your audience.

Video audience studies enable you to measure the effectiveness of different types of video content, whether you’re a YouTube channel owner or just want to do some quick and easy social media video marketing.

How To Measure Social Media Performance

Many marketers, business owners, and company leaders get bogged down in the numbers and forget about the why. Numbers can be a little easier to follow, but they should never be the only thing that you look at.

To truly understand the results of your social media efforts, you need to go beyond the numbers and look at the underlying data points. 

This brings us to the next question.

How do you measure the performance of your social media strategy? There are a few different ways to go about this, but the most basic is to use quantitative metrics and compare them over time to determine whether or not your efforts are paying off.

Quantitative Metrics

One of the easiest ways to do this is to look at the numbers of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The more likes or followers you have, the more people will be interested in what you have to say. 

To determine the success of your strategy, look for the following numbers:

  • Likes

The more likes you have on your Facebook page, the more people will appreciate your content. Every business and brand has a Facebook page these days, so the chances are your business page has already been liked.

  • Followers

The same goes for followers on Instagram. The more followers you have, the more people will appreciate your content.

  • Interactions

On social media platforms like Twitter, the more you interact with your followers, the more they will value your opinion. This is known as ‘liking’ or ‘retweeting’ another user’s content.

  • Sharing

On social media platforms like Pinterest and YouTube, the more you share, the more people will value your opinion. This is known as ‘pinning’ or ‘doing a live stream.’

Qualitative Metrics

It is also important to look at the qualitative metrics too. On social media, ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ easily fall into the trap of focusing, but these numbers can be somewhat misleading. 

If you’re looking for an indicator of the success of your strategy, seek out these other numbers that speak to your business’s voice and the type of content you produce.

When evaluating the performance of your social media strategy, look for these numbers:

  • Engagement

This refers to how successfully you engage with your audience on social media platforms. For example, are you answering questions and engaging with your audience via social media, or are you just throwing out a bunch of advertisements?

  • Conversations

This refers to how much engagement you have with your audience on social media platforms. An easy way to measure this is by looking at the number of comments you receive on blog posts or the number of conversations you are having on social media platforms.

  • Community

This refers to the amount of engagement you have with your audience on social media platforms. The more you engage with your audience, the stronger your community becomes. 

Your community will provide you with insight into what is working and what needs to be adjusted. Seeking out and involving your community in developing your social media strategy is essential.

To determine the success of your social media strategy, look at how many people are engaging with your content and whether or not you are reaching your target audience. 

If you’re using social media to grow your business, make sure you’re tracking the performance of your strategy so you can determine whether or not this is a fruitful path.

Improve Your Results Now

Social Media has taken the world by storm. People are more comfortable being publicly themselves than ever before, and they are more likely to use the internet and social media to find like-minded people with which to share opinions and ideas.

With every new social media platform that comes into existence, there is a rush to learn about how to harness this new phenomenon for marketing and business purposes.

While it is true that businesses can take advantage of social media for marketing and sales, there is a much bigger picture to analyze. That picture is known as ‘social media analytics.’

Every marketer, business owner, and company leader should look into social media analytics. It is the best indicator of whether or not your strategies are working and how you can continue to improve your results.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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