When it comes to social media marketing, analytics are king. Knowing the details about who’s interacting with which messages (and to what extent) is priceless when it comes to building marketing strategies. But let’s face it; it’s easy to get lost in a sea of charts and tables and graphs that delve deep into details about the demographics behind followers, fans, likes, unlikes, tweets, retweets, mentions, clicks, views, shares, check-ins, posts, comments, impressions…the list goes on and on. It’s all great information, but it can get overwhelming, especially for smaller companies that just don't have the time.
Sometimes you just need to quickly grab the most important snippets of social information. When you’re short on time, there are a handful of key analytics you can use to get a clear, bird’s-eye view of how you’re doing in the social space. Here are five essentials:
Active Users (Facebook)
The number of active users on Facebook is the number of people who have interacted with your Facebook page and its content in some way, whether it is via comments, likes, tags or shares. This metric measures engagement, which should be one of the key goals for any social media strategy.
The reason active users takes a higher spot on our priority list than Facebook "likes" is that when someone likes your page, he may hide it in his news feed, or he may simply overlook your posts that end up there. Just because someone likes your page doesn’t mean he’ll end up seeing your content. The number of active users, on the other hand, accurately describes how many individual Facebook users are engaging with your content.
Retweets tell you how many of your Twitter followers (or anyone on Twitter, really) have shared a specific message that you have tweeted. Retweets are important to track because they represent your specific marketing message being amplified and shared with Twitter users beyond your own network. Retweets can be a better measure of marketing success than both @mentions and number of followers because @mentions can include both positive and negative sentiments about your company, and the number of followers you have does not necessarily reflect the size of your potential customer base on Twitter, thanks to automated spambots. Users who retweet your tweets are leaving you in control of the marketing message while spreading it through their own audiences.
Number of Comments (LinkedIn Groups)
The LinkedIn Groups function is a great way to market your business to consumers on the largely professional-to-professional social network. When you start or respond to a discussion on your company’s LinkedIn Groups page, it helps establish you as a leading industry expert, and it strengthens your overall brand, both personally and corporately. However, to gauge how much impact your LinkedIn Group has on the public at large, take a look at the number of comments other people are making on posts in your Group. More interaction with your LinkedIn Group page comes from more visits to the page, which equals more opportunities for your words of wisdom to reach the potential customers in the audience.
Company Name Sentiment Rating (Sentiment.al)
Sentiment analysis tools can tell you how positively or negatively people are discussing your company in the social media space. Sentiment.al is Gremlin Social's sentiment analysis tool available to Enterprise-level customers, and while it’s helpful to gauge the opinions of the public on any pertinent search term you want (a product name, for example, or a major industry term), for a quick evaluation of how your company is faring in the marketplace, a sentiment rating of your company name is key. Public sentiment about your company is a good indicator of how well or how poorly your strategic communications plans are working across the board, taking into account product releases, company reviews, PR strategies, consumer behavior and many more variables worth gauging. Company name sentiment ratings give a general view of how well your business is faring in the public eye at any given point in time.
Link Click-Throughs (Brev.is)
Link shorteners are exceptionally practical tools, especially when you want to include links to your website in your company’s tweets. Shorter links mean you can include more information in the allotted 140 characters. But one of the great by-products of how link shorteners work is that they’re able to tell you exactly how many people have clicked each link you’ve shortened. A good link shortener, like Gremlin Social's own Brev.is tool, allows you to see not only how many people are clicking on your links, but also their locations, the sites that referred them to your links, and more. However, for a quick look at the success of your marketing campaigns, the overall number of clicks is a vital statistic. In the end, the number of people who see your marketing message comes in second to the number of people who click the links you post. Generally speaking, the point of social media is to eventually lead your fans and followers to a purchase point. If you’re linking your posts to your online store (or to any page on your site that offers more information on how to purchase your product or service), it’s great to see how much traffic your social media posts are specifically driving to the point of purchase.
The Bottom Line
There are hundreds of useful social media analytics, and management tools like Gremlin Social Guardian make it easy to access and evaluate them. But when you're pressed for time, these five social media metrics allow you to gauge the success of your social strategies in just a few seconds.