So is social analytics just for those “numbers guys”? Social marketers tasked with maximizing their efforts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. may not be math savants straight out of “Good Will Hunting,” but they need and can use this data as navigational beacons for sailing the social waters. Adjustments in social strategy need to be made almost continuously, and knowing what metrics matter to your brand will help you chart a course and stay on it.
So before my seafaring analogies make you queasy, let’s skim over the basics of why analytics is such a key pillar of brand marketing on social. If you want some real specifics, feel free to grab our latest Vitrue white paper, “How Brands Can Optimize Social Strategies Through Analytics.”
Having measurable analytics does not mean that good old-fashioned gut intuition never comes into play. There is no one more experienced with your customer base than you are, and your intimate knowledge of them will work in concert with the cold, hard numbers you’re getting to direct you toward one course of action or another. Having analytics also doesn’t mean you remove all risk from the equation. You can’t have social without content. And you can’t have content without at least some risk. So if you’re looking for analytics to deliver a sure thing every time, you ignore the fact that humans are involved here, both on the creation and consumption sides of the table.
That said, numbers can inform strategy and decision-making pretty effectively. Here are the things every social marketer might want to know:
Who’s liking your Page?
Analytics can give you the demographics (age, gender, etc.) of people coming to your fan Page, and for Facebook brand Page users overall. If your demographics don’t match up to the demographics you’re targeting for your product, content and exposure tactics can be adjusted accordingly. No point in selling empty nesters your cool new baby cribs.
Having a sizable number of people in Germany who are interested in your product doesn’t do you much good if you only make your Page available in English. And you may find that you are strong in some regions of the US, but weak for some reason in others. Finding weak spots or areas of untapped opportunity is a great way to shore up issues.
How are they finding you?
Are they “Liking” your Page from the Timeline, an Open Graph Object somewhere on the web, from the recommendation of a friend, or from mobile? Knowing the answers lets you focus your efforts on which discovery methods seem to be working best. You can also find out which search engines are doing you the most good, and where your impressions are coming from…your posts, paid ads, or viral spread.
What are they doing with your content, if anything?
When users engage with your content, do they tend to like, comment, or share it? If your goal is to get more shares but your content is mostly just likeable, this data will encourage you to try more impactful items that users will want to show their friends. Analytics will also reveal posts that inspire negative feedback; users who click “hide,” “hide all,” “report spam,” or “unlike.”
What do they seem to like best?
I’ll go ahead and tell you one thing revealed in our latest Vitrue white paper that every brand should be concerned about. The kinds of posts brands are mostly making (post type meaning text, link, image, video, etc.) do NOT match up to the kinds of posts users like and interact with the most. That means social marketers are leaving a lot of fan interest on the table, simply because they’re not in sync with those fans’ desires. Somebody’s not listening.
Whether you’re a numbers person or not, you’ll want the strategic navigation deep dive analytics tools that add to and go beyond what Facebook Insights offers can give you. It’s the only way to make educated, proper course corrections in your strategy and content.