Digital marketing is becoming more and more competitive. Without good social media analytics, you will be left behind.
Whenever you make an investment, you should be able to measure its success. Every website owner wants to gain insights into how many people come to their own website, how long they stay, and where they come from. Google Analytics has quickly become essential for every marketer. So why aren't we doing the same for social media?
Decisions should always be based on data
The perception that social media is a black box is simply no longer true. We now have the tools to analyze and make decisions based on that data analysis. Data-based approaches are critical in a time when companies are spending more money on digital every year. Even visual sites like Instagram, which a few years ago was just a network for foodies and travel bloggers, are entering the marketing age. According to a study from emarketer, 72% of US companies want to use Instagram for some form of marketing in 2017. This number will continue to grow; the rest of the world is bound to catch up.
72% is an impressive number, and there is a lot of money behind it. That means activities on social media need to be measured, as every single post represents a significant investment in money and time. Marketing managers should thus be able to tell which posts performed best and, if necessary, to adjust their strategy to their target audience.
Free social media analytics tools go only so far
To get started with social media analytics, free social media tools are great. But they only go so far. As soon as your activities and your strategies get more complex, your analytics will have to get more detailed. To understand how to approach social media analysis, check out the following chart.
Let's get you started.
Step 1: Access collected data
Most free tools will only allow you to analyze your own performance. The key to successful analytics is to compare your performance with that of your competitors. To do that, you need to turn to more professional social media analytics tools such as quintly. Once you access the tool and have added the social media profiles you want to analyze, the data is visualized in different charts.
Firstly, you can gain insights into how your own business performs. Relevant social media KPIs can be Facebook Fans, Reach and Interactions. Secondly, the tool will tell you how you compare to the competition. Do your competitors or partners have more fans? Do their posts receive more interaction? Are they growing faster than you? Data gets more powerful when you put it into perspective.
Step 2: Understand data and set goals
Now that you have completed the first step and have identified your strengths and weaknesses compared to your competitors, you can go one step further. Based on the data you see, you need to set goals for the upcoming quarter or the year ahead.
Imagine the following scenario: You are happy with the growth in followers over the last six months, but you want more engagement. The adequate KPI to look for in this case would be “average interactions per post”. The KPIs you select will help you measure success by the end of the time period. With the help of these key performance indicators you are then able to adjust your social media tactics. Data provides the underpinning of a simple business strategy: learn from the competition and try to beat them.
Step 3: Improving your game
The boss is probably already bugging you for that performance report. Good analytics tools provide reporting functions based on the best KPIs for your audience. The report will show you not only where you have room to improve, but also the potential weaknesses of your competition. This in turn will allow you to stay ahead of the game.
Using social media analytics allows you to become a market leader.
The great thing is that even paid social media tools such as quintly offer a free version. We at Geber Consulting didn't need any convincing. We did the free trial and signed up for the paid version a day later, impressed by the amount of data and insights we gained.
There are almost endless possibilities. You can adjust metrics to your specific need, build your own dashboards, and you can even compare different platforms, such as Facebook with Instagram for example. This allows you to reallocate investment between different platforms.
Data-driven insights like these are immensely valuable not just for agencies like ours, but also for individual brands. In one case study, we analyzed the social media performance of a client -- a multinational chemical company -- by comparing it directly to their competitors. We found that the competition had significantly fewer followers, but almost ten times more engagement.
By analyzing the competitors' posts, we came up with a strategy, implemented it, and within 3 months our client owned the platform with the most engagement. Such success stories make for good reporting and happy bosses. By proving their usefulness in this way, advanced social media analytics tools will become mainstream.
We suggest you get on board now and give them a try.