Social Media Analytics: What, How, and When You Should Be Measuring

Posted by Emily Lange Rodecker on August 13, 2015

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Whether you are just getting started with your social media presence or you have an active and engaging fan base flourishing on various networks, paying close attention to your social media analytics can help you better understand your audience, increase your engagement, and make more informed decisions on your customer outreach and digital marketing efforts. 

Gremlin's social media management software provides a suite of analytics tools to help you track engagement, from a roundup of social media Statistics; and trackable, shortened Brev.is Links; to easily generated Reports that will help you monitor your ROI and share it with your colleagues. We know that access to analytics tools doesn't immediately make you an expert, so we're sharing some of our tips for interpreting the information and using it to your advantage.

Statistics & Reporting

Gremlin Social Guardian™ provides snapshots of important statistics to give you a baseline for your social media activities -- like how many Twitter followers you have, the number of Facebook likes your Page has, the amount of conversations your fans are engaging in with you, the number of times you've posted to each of your networks, and many more. Getting an idea of where you stand now will help you see how you want to grow and what changes you might need to make in order to improve your numbers.

When you're looking at the statistics for your social network accounts, make sure you consider how the different pieces work together. If you see a spike in your brand's @mentions on Twitter, take note of what might have happened that day to generate the buzz. Did you share a particular post that got people talking and replying? Or was your Twitter handle featured in a prominent news story that broke that day? Are you aware of a particular product, service or site issue that might have generated some customer concerns, praise or questions? You can use the same sort of questioning if you notice a sudden drop in Facebook Page likes. Perhaps you promoted something your followers found a bit too "hard" on the selling side, or you shifted gears and broached a topic your audience didn't want to hear about anymore. Whatever the case, people don't just randomly start talking about you all at once on Twitter or decide to stop following your Page on Facebook without a reason. Your job is to notice changes in pattern in your statistics and find out what might have caused them.

There's no magic formula as to when and how you should look at your company's data -- the frequency with which you post, the type of content you are sharing, and the social networks you use all impact your results. If you tend to post to various networks quite a bit, you will want to look at the results more frequently than someone who posts sporadically.

Because not all pieces of content are alike, the way you look at your results shouldn't be, either. When you look at your pieces of most popular content, consider what went into making those posts so engaging.

  • Was it the time of day?
  • The language that you used?
  • The network where you posted it?
  • A particular topic you addressed?

Compare your most popular posts against those that didn't fare as well, and you can start to recognize patterns that might inform future behavior -- like what time of day gets the most clicks on your shared links or whether posts with photos do better than those without any images. Each piece of content you share has multiple factors that impact its success. When you run regular reports -- whether they are weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly -- you'll want to pinpoint your most successful and least successful efforts. Then go back and analyze those specific posts and take note of what you find. If you see that the posts with the most engagement on Facebook tend to happen around a certain time of day, take advantage of that knowledge and plan your upcoming posts to go live in that time period.

Shortened Links

If you’re regularly sharing links to increase traffic to your website, blog or social media channels, we’re guessing you would love to know how effective these efforts are. Gremlin Social integrates the link-shortening tool bit.ly in addition to our own link shortener, brev.is. With brev.is, you can see how many people clicked on your link as well as the time of day they clicked on it, where they are located and what kind of browser they are using.

You can use this information to decipher what time of day your audience is most engaged and schedule your upcoming posts accordingly. You can test different language styles to see if a friendly, humorous approach is more effective than cut-and-dry messaging. Brev.is links track the browser and language settings your audience is using, as well as map out the location for each click, so you can ensure your website and copy reflect what makes the most sense for reaching your audience.

Brev.is Statistics shows you the top 10 most popular links, highlighting the content your audience is most interested in seeing. Not only does this help you see what specific pieces of content have generated the most engagement, you can see the length of reach your most popular posts have, giving you an idea of the "life" each one has. Just because something you shared several months ago seems old to you doesn't mean your entire audience has seen it. If it is still relevant, continue to work it into your content calendar, especially considering how quickly posts move through news feeds on the various social networks.

It's important to keep in mind that all your analytics won't provide you with an instantaneous answer as to which method for social posting is best. Taking the information and applying reason to what's working and what's not is an ongoing process, so know that you need to invest some time to getting the insight you're looking for. Because there are multiple pieces of information that factor into a post's success or failure, you'll need to do some trial and error testing to find what is most consistently beneficial.

At the end of the day, you want your social media efforts to work for you - not just be a thing you do just because you think you have to in order to be relevant. If you aren't tracking the amount of engagement your social media posts are getting or finding out which posts are driving qualified leads to your website, it's a lot harder to prove the return on investment. You may think you know what your audience wants from your brand, but if you don't take a look at the actual results from your current social media efforts, you could be missing out on clues to help fine-tune your content. So start paying careful attention to how and why you post when you do, and use the tools available to you to keep an eye on the results.

Topics: analysis, analytics, Business, data, return on investment, ROI, Social Media, social media analytics, social media data, social media results, social media ROI, social ROI

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