Over the last few months, we’ve been going over the basics of social media strategies, how to pick the best social media content and themes, and a guide for automatically scheduling posts. So if you’re here – congratulations, you’re well on your way to a strong social media presence! Now that you’ve got content going out regularly, it’s important to track its performance and find out what’s working and what is not. Welcome to the wonderful world of social media analytics.
Analytics are the data metrics that allow you to get insights into how well your content is performing on social media platforms. This social data monitoring ranges from very specific actions to broad patterns in thousands of user interactions. Knowing how to read these numbers holds the key to refining and improving your posts over time.
Keep track of your social media presence with analytics (from Sprout Social)
Reading Social Media Reports
With so many different metrics to track, you may find it overwhelming to figure out exactly which ones you should be looking at, or even what they mean in the first place. Not every number will apply to every social media strategy, so streamlining your data is important. Here are the basics for social media monitoring:
Impressions and Reach: Impressions are the total number of potential views of your media, while Reach is the number of potential viewers. These can differ, as the same content displaying multiple times to the same person only increases Impressions. And remember, an impression or a reach doesn’t mean the person actually read your content!
Engagement Rate: This tracks how actively involved your users/viewers are with your content. It can usually be further broken down into Clicks, Reactions, Comments, and Shares, and these are weighted differently (e.g. someone sharing your post is a better sign than just liking it, which is in turn better than just clicking on it).
The engagement rate formula (from Hopper HQ)
Demographics: Find out how your audience breaks down by age, gender, preferences, interests, education, industry, or many other factors. Knowing this, and how different demographics engage with your content, is helpful in improving your content as well as your ad strategy.
Conversions: This monitors whether your audience is performing a desired outcome from your content – making a purchase, visiting your website, requesting a quote, etc. Ultimately this is one of the more important metrics to track, as it’s the more likely to lead to an actual customer than just a simple like or comment.
There are far more advanced metrics to track (ever heard of bounce rates, cost-per-mille, or acquisitions?) but these are the big ones that can help guide you forward. But now, with so much information at your disposal, you’re probably wondering – where do I even begin?
Social Media Analytics Tracking Platforms
Tracking things like reach, engagement, brand mentions, and other metrics can be extremely time-consuming without the right tools. Even for the basics, rather than going through each of your social accounts individually, we recommend using a good reporting platform. Luckily, many of the same scheduling tools we talked about in our previous blog – like Hootsuite, SEMRush, and Sprout Social – also have decent analytics functions for major social media apps, as well as the ability to monitor your competitors. And, to monitor social traffic heading to your website, you can’t go wrong with Google Analytics, which is tailored specifically for that purpose.
A Google Analytics dashboard (from Neil Patel)
If you’re also using a paid social media strategy, such as boosted posts or advertising, there are more robust tools, like Google Data Studio, Zoho, or even the built-in Facebook Business Manager (which has its own mobile app, Facebook Ads Manager, for on-the-go access). These will let you break down your audience with ease, far beyond the usual demographics, with factors like video views or prior interactions on your website. Setting these up and linking all your various web presences together as one cohesive unit takes much longer, but if you’re committed to taking full advantage of every tool in the digital box, feel free to dive in.
All in all, analytics are about knowing what information you need and deciding on a reliable way to get that social media data. Monitoring your social accounts may seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, the payoff is worth the effort. And if you really don’t have the time or the patience to learn, that’s okay, too – because that’s what we’re here for! William Joseph’s social media management packages include monthly analytics reports for all your platforms. So whether you’re just starting out and need help getting set up, or you’re simply too busy and need to free up some time, let us know and we’ll figure out a winning social media strategy together!