What To Look For in A Social Media Analytics Program
The choice of programs is vast, and they all carry a range of benefits and pitfalls.
Each of these will take a while to become familiar with, and of course, it is always wise to refer to multiple sources when researching any campaign.
However, your choices should be made with your ultimate marketing goal in mind. Do you wish to generate more leads and reviews from social media? Are you looking to build a core audience in the run-up a new product launch?
The temptation to gather and crunch as much data as you can may work to your advantage. But be cautious not to get too overwhelmed with input. Make sure you are developing your social analytics skills to help you focus on your KPIs and broader business strategies.
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Step One: Perform A Social Media Audit
Social media marketing is no longer an afterthought. In 2017, it could be your primary source of inbound traffic. Therefore, before you start a campaign, you must check your reputation stats through Facebook Insights, Google Analytics and any other social media tools you may use.
- Export your results from the social media tab and pick a date range to examine in detail
- Import the data to a spreadsheet on Google Drive or Excel
- Sort the columns from lowest value to highest value. This will tell you which posts performed best
- Find the average number of likes/shares/retweets and copy across all rows
- Look for posts that exceeded your average number for engagement and check if they are anomalies. You may want to delete these entries, or move them to a separate spreadsheet
- Select columns for additional formatting. For example, you may want to see if a cell is greater than your column average. You can then highlight these posts in your list and take note of the characteristics that made these posts engaging
- You may also want to calculate all columns combined to create total engagement figures across all social media networks
You can also see how your brand is performing compared to your rivals, with competitor analysis tools like Mention. Take careful note of this feedback. You are looking for ways you can make improvements, so it is crucial to check back on your online reputation scores on a regular basis.
Step Two: Find Your Audience
Social media analytics tools mainly come in handy during the development stage of any campaign. Use a site like Buzzsumo to uncover common audience characteristics. You will need to find answers to the following questions:
- What are the top publications in your industry?
- What platforms do your audience most commonly use to view and share this content?
- How often do they share this content and at what time of the day?
- Who are the most popular thought leaders?
Use these tools to build up a list of specific client personas. Give them names and backstories and refer to their likes and dislikes when planning your content strategies.
Step Three: Set Goals In Google Analytics
In planning your budgets, you will need to ensure that you are all set up to track the results of every effort.
With your research from step one and two, calculate your target number of social media impressions and your daily budget. Then set up goals on Google Analytics.
- Set up goals for URL destinations
- Make goal funnels for ecommerce, tracking each step your visitor takes to the checkout
- Traffic sources will tell you where your visitors come from via social media, as well as top landing pages and conversion data
It is essential to follow your audience’s preferences and consider setting up advanced segments for every network they may use to find you. This will provide you with a more reliable bank of data to work from.
A note on video: YouTube is technically a social network and a hugely influential traffic source. Make sure you are tracking YouTube traffic, as well as sites like Pinterest and LinkedIn. Even if you don’t publish on these channels often, others may be talking about your brand.
Step Four: Test And Rebuild
Once you have researched and created your social media campaign, you will then need to set up UTM parameters for your goals in Google Analytics. These are tags that tack onto your sharing URLs.
In monitoring the effectiveness of your tags, take note of the conversions. Think of ways you can optimize your output to improve upon views and sales over time.
Analyze different headlines, imagery, and calls to action. From this, build a ‘magic formula’ template you can use for future posts.
Automated testing tools can take the guesswork out of testing. There are a vast array of tools to choose from. The best will offer:
- Multi-variant testing
- Funnel testing
- Real-time reports
- Format variations for desktop and mobile
- Testing sample variation options (based on demographics, location, etc.)
- Synchronization with your existing CRM and ecommerce tools
It is vital that you test your posts and optimize based on your subsequent findings, as your audience’s preferences will evolve continually.
Step Five: Monitor Your Ad Spend
Facebook has recently announced further controls on the content that appears in news feeds. This may make it harder for marketers to get their sponsored messages in front of the eyes of their customers. Experts predict that marketers will have to be a lot more careful to get their Facebook ad budget and targeting right.
However, there are also other options to explore within the realms of influencer marketing and user-generated content. Newer networks like Snapchat are filled with new audiences. Dedicated URLs set up from your online storefront, or catchy hashtags, can also help you measure your social media impact accurately. Bitly, for example, is a service that connects your Snapchat/Instagram to your site, creating trackable links you can monitor through your analytics.
Step Six: Gather Feedback
Software like HootSuite can help you track brand mentions and broader industry trends. However, you will also need to set up a system for gathering and analyzing customer reviews.
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Social proof in the form of mentions and reviews will boost your online reputation. But you should also seek to gain feedback on a regular basis to help you improve your customer service skills. Review tracking services like SocialBaker can help you sort and get back to your customer service inquiries.
Step Seven: Automate Your Processes
Scheduling your output to get to your audience at the right times of day can help you streamline your operations. From copying actions across multiple networks to testing and maintaining strong relationships with the voices in your communities. You can find a tool that does it all.
HootSuite remains a firm favorite. But there are many other scheduling tools, like Buffer, packed with superb benefits and features. Spend the bulk of your time conceptualizing and creating great content to share and let the bots handle the distribution and number crunching.
The Bottom Line
Social media analytics gives you the data insights you need to make smart marketing decisions that meet your customers’ ever-evolving needs. Get your goals and KPIs clear in mind beforehand and you should be in the ideal position to take creative leaps of faith in the world of online influence.