Understanding social media analytics can be a bit like learning a new language.
What’s the difference between reach and impressions? How about reactions vs post clicks? And who are all these followers anyway? When you start digging into the numbers, you can really start to see the value of social media for your business and the information it gives you regarding your core audience.
Most social media platforms have customized analytic aggregators called dashboards, which show insights into the demographics and behavior of your followers within their platform. Dashboard content and availability can vary by platform and may require a threshold number of followers in order to display.
For instance, Facebook’s Insights dashboard requires at least 30 people to like your page before data becomes available. And keep in mind that because of the interface, differences in dashboard content may exist between the mobile and desktop versions.
The biggest value of social media measurement from a marketing standpoint is the ability to minutely segment your audience and market directly to those users you think are most likely to buy your products or services.
Social media platforms know this, so that kind of targeted advertising is only available for a fee. However, even the general demographic insights that social media sites provide are insightful when planning marketing promotions, building pricing, and creating content that appeals to your audience.
Demographic data varies by platform, and each site has some informational features that are unique to their own platform. Gender and age are two demographic mainstays, with household incomes, education, occupations, languages and location information all being used in various combinations.
All platforms also have a way to compare your account’s unique audience to the general demographics of all of the site’s users. This can help you understand if your page content is aligned with the users of the site, or if you need to concentrate your efforts on a social media platform that’s more actively used by your audience.
Hopefully you completed this basic demographic research during the planning and social media strategy parts of your social media decision making, so alignment isn’t an issue. But, like anything, demographic information on social media platforms can shift.
Facebook encountered this in the mid-2000s, when the number of users over 29 began increasing, away from its original demographic of college-aged students and newly post-graduate twenty-somethings. Twitter saw demographic shift too as the platform’s user base moved from tech gurus and early adopters to armchair pundits and soccer moms with the increased ubiquity of smartphones and texting.
Impressions and Engagement
The whole purpose of social media is to engage with your followers in a way that reinforces your brand image or inspires them to share your content within their social groups. Impressions and engagement have a symbiotic relationship in social media, because one usually produces more of the other.
This continuous cycle of impressions and engagements encourages the spread of your content beyond your own account followers, which makes that content ‘viral.’ Viral content is the goal of every social media strategist in the business and why it’s vitally important to the planning of your social media strategy.
Virality means the content that was created resonated with followers in such a way that it compelled them to share it with non-followers. By studying the kinds of content that goes viral, a business can hope to replicate its success and spread its content to new audiences.
So, what are impressions and engagements? Impressions are the number of times your social media content was viewed. Engagements are the number of times people reacted, shared, retweeted, commented, or otherwise interacted with your content.
You can see where this relationship can increase content sharing exponentially when you realize each engagement can open your content to hundreds or thousands of new accounts, all of which have the same ability to keep engaging with the content.
Analytics and Competition
As discussed before, each social media platform has its own unique dashboard and series of metric markers for performing analytics. But if you are trying to publish content on multiple sites, understanding trends, engagements, and reach across all platforms can be tricky and could potentially become overwhelming.
Multi-site analytics is one area where social media management tools can be helpful. Not only can these tools assist with overall account management and content optimization, but they can help spot trends as well as integrate each platform’s individual metrics into one dashboard.
There’s a lot more to these management tools, so we’ll cover them in a future blog post.
When it comes to competitive analytics, however, the results are minimal. While they can give you some insights into how competitors’ accounts are performing, as well as suggest accounts to “watch” for additional information, they are usually limited in scope and number of monitored accounts.
However, Facebook is now offering more transparency than ever before by allowing anyone (that’s right – anyone), to view all ads (paid advertising) a brand is currently promoting. This can be found by simply visiting a brand’s Facebook Business profile and selecting ‘Info and Ads’ from the left menu.
For pure decision making, marketing, and competitive analysis across a number of social media platforms, a program called Rival IQ gives great results. It monitors the five most popular social media platforms and can also track SEO keywords through search engines and via website content.
This post is part of a six-article series on how small businesses can leverage social media for success.
- Plan Your Way to Social Media Success
- Which Social Media Channels Should Your Brand Be Using
- Coming Up (and Keeping Up!) with Content
- What to look at and how to leverage social media analytics
- Managing Your Social Media Management
- Social Media Best Practices
Get Social With Thrive!
Learning the jargon of social media analytics doesn’t have to be as seemingly insurmountable as learning a foreign language. The reality is a little practice and the right tools can get you a long way. If you’d like to make sure you’re getting the most out of your social media metrics, contact us online or call 817-642-9686 to speak with one of our social media consultants about your analytics needs.