IntroductionBuilding an effective social media strategy requires a clear understanding of the goals and objectives that we expect the business to achieve. With a clear understanding of the set objectives, it is easier for a business to work backward and build a strategy for success. As the common saying in business goes, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. The same is true for the social media efforts of any business. Contrary to the other business functions where the measurement begins at the end of an activity, i.e., after all the campaign data has been distilled and collected. However, in the case of social media, it is important to understand what the business plans to achieve and how the success of any social media campaign will be measured. Established social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. have a USP and appeal to a certain set of audiences. As a result, social media marketing is an exciting business function where it is important to have a unique set of benchmarks across social media campaigns to understand how success will be measured. As marketers, we know that understanding customer behavior is critical for business success. In today’s digital age, social media provides an opportunity to connect with customers like never before. Social analytics is the process of measuring, analyzing, and interpreting social media data to gain insights that inform decision-making.
What is social media analytics?Social analytics is the process of measuring, analyzing, and interpreting social media data to gain insights that inform decision-making. It involves tracking metrics such as likes, shares, comments, followers, and sentiment across various social media platforms to understand customer behavior, preferences, and attitudes. Social analytics is used by businesses and marketers to improve their social media strategies, optimize engagement, and measure social ROI. The data obtained from social analytics is used to inform content creation, product development, customer service, and marketing campaigns. Overall, social analytics is a critical component of any social media strategy to help businesses better understand their audience and make data-driven decisions.
Importance of social analyticsSocial analytics are important for businesses in many ways. Social media and analytics have a strong connection, and a business needs to use both capabilities. Here are some of the key reasons why social analytics are important: 1. Understanding Your Audience: Social analytics helps businesses better understand their audience by providing insights into customer behavior, preferences, and attitudes. This information is critical for creating targeted marketing campaigns, developing new products, and providing better customer service. For instance, if a business is starting, social analytics will help refine the understanding of the target group, their possible interests, and preferences. Even for an established business, understanding the audience properly will help in a variety of business functions. 2. Optimizing Social Media Strategy: Social analytics helps businesses optimize their social media strategy by identifying which social media platforms and content types are most effective in engaging their audience. This allows businesses to focus their efforts and resources on the social media channels and content that drive the most engagement and conversion. In other words, social analytics help build a social media strategy that can generate the right results for a business. As we can set the right social media goals. More importantly, it helps us set realistic goals that are in line with the overall strategy and current state of your social media presence. For instance, if a business has 2,000 followers on Instagram and the profile is gaining 10 new followers each week, It is not a good idea to target reaching 5,000 followers in a single month. Rather, the business should focus on following a strategy that helps increase the number of new followers each week to 20 or 30 in a month. 3. Measuring Social ROI: Social analytics helps businesses measure the return on investment (ROI) of their social media efforts by tracking conversion metrics such as website traffic, leads, and sales. This allows businesses to make data-driven decisions about how to allocate their social media budget and resources. The use of social metrics can be used to understand the role played by each social media platform in business success. It is important because the role of social media in driving business is often questioned by traditional marketers. Some traditional marketers even consider social media as a channel that should only be used for brand building and reputation management. However, social analytics have enough options to track the campaign’s performance effectively and understand how the investment that is being made in social media is providing returns for a business. Social media analytics can be used to track if people are reacting and engaging with the content being shared on the various platforms and how it is being translated into business. 4. Improving Customer Service: Social analytics helps businesses monitor customer conversations on social media and identify customer pain points and preferences. This information can be used to improve customer service by addressing customer issues and concerns in a timely and effective manner. Social analytics can be used for trendspotting, which helps a business refine its customer service strategy. The trends can be relevant to the company, industry, competitors, or the market in general. Keeping a close eye on social media analytics can help us identify which platforms are gaining more traction, the type of ads and communication our audience expects, and topics of interest to the audience. The information collected by these analytics tools must be processed properly so that the brand can improve the level of customer service in its operations and continue to delight customers consistently.
- Monitoring Brand Reputation: Social analytics helps businesses monitor brand mentions on social media and identify potential brand reputation issues. This allows businesses to quickly respond to negative feedback and take proactive steps to manage their brand’s reputation.
What are the four types of data analytical methods in social media?There are several types of social media analytics that businesses can use to gain insights into their audience and optimize their social media strategy. Broadly, types of analytics for social media can be divided into four types of analytics. Here are some of the most common four types of social media analytics with examples:
- Descriptive Analytics: This type of social analytics is used to describe what has happened in the past. Metrics such as the number of likes, comments, and shares, as well as reach and engagement metrics, are examples of social media analytics in this category. Descriptive analytics provide a snapshot of the performance of social media content and campaigns. It is mainly used in cases where a business is looking at the historical performance of various campaigns and the kind of engagement they have generated among the target audience.
- Diagnostic Analytics: This is another data analytic type that is used to diagnose why something has happened. It involves analyzing the data collected in descriptive analytics to identify trends and patterns that can explain the performance of social media content and campaigns. Diagnostic analytics help businesses understand what is working and what is not. This type of analysis is much deeper and requires critical thinking. Rather than simply looking at the historical data, a business needs to understand the reason behind the event and what can be done to improve future outcomes.
- Predictive Analytics: This type of social analytics is used to predict what may happen in the future. It involves analyzing historical data to make predictions about future performance. Predictive analytics can help businesses make informed decisions about their social media strategy. This type of analytics helps a business move forward with an idea of what can happen in the future. Businesses use this information in a variety of ways.
- Prescriptive Analytics: This type of social analytics is used to prescribe what should happen. It involves using data analysis to recommend specific actions that businesses can take to improve their social media performance. Prescriptive analytics can help businesses optimize their social media strategy and achieve their business objectives. It is another type of analytics strategy that can be used by businesses in different ways.
What metrics should be tracked with social media analytics?The metrics that should be tracked with social media analytics depend on the business’s objectives and the social media platforms being used. Social media marketing analytics require that these metrics be understood properly. Here are some common metrics that businesses often track with social media analytics:
- Engagement Metrics: These metrics measure how users are interacting with a brand’s social media content. Examples include likes, comments, shares, and retweets. Engagement metrics are one of the most common types of metrics that are usually tracked with social media analytics. A business need not opt for specialized social analytics tools for engagement numbers. The basic information can be collected and analyzed using the in-house tools provided by the social media platform. However, to keep a continuous tab on the progress, conduct trend analysis, and generate relevant insights, a business can go for a specialized analytics tool.
- Reach Metrics: These metrics measure the number of people who see a brand’s social media content. Examples include impressions, reach, and click-through rates. These are also some of the basic metrics that are tracked by almost all businesses that are present on social media. However, the key aspect here is to understand that likes and comments are used to understand the level of engagement, while CTR, reach, and impressions are mainly used to understand the kind of reach a business can achieve on social media.
- Follower Metrics: These metrics measure a brand’s social media audience size and growth. Social media analytic examples of this metric can include the number of followers and follower growth rate. For businesses that are focusing on expanding their follower base, it is important to keep tabs on these follower metrics.
- Conversion Metrics: These metrics measure the number of people who take a desired action after seeing a brand’s social media content. Examples include clicks, downloads, sign-ups, and purchases. These types of metrics are useful for businesses that are using social media to increase sales or leads.
- Sentiment Analysis: This type of social media analysis measures the overall sentiment of a brand’s social media content. It involves analyzing text to determine whether it is positive, negative, or neutral. It is primarily important for businesses that want to understand what is being said about their brand, industry, or competition on social media. Sentiment analysis can be used to generate useful business insights.
- Competitive Analysis: This type of social media analytics measures a brand’s performance against its competitors. Examples include follower growth, engagement rate, and share of voice. By keeping a check on the competition, a business can create a strategy that is equipped to stay ahead of its counterparts.
- Influencer Analytics: These analytics measure the impact of social media influencers on a brand’s social media performance. Examples include influencer reach, engagement rate, and sentiment.
- Customer Service Metrics: These metrics measure a brand’s responsiveness and effectiveness in handling customer inquiries and complaints on social media. Examples include response time and resolution rate.
Use of Social AnalyticsSocial analytics can be used in a wide range of ways to achieve various business objectives. Here are some of the most common uses of social analytics:
- Audience Analysis: Social analytics can be used to gain insights into the behavior and preferences of a brand’s audience. By analyzing engagement metrics, reach metrics and sentiment analysis, businesses can gain a better understanding of their audience and create targeted marketing campaigns. With the correct understanding of the audience, a business has a fair chance to create winning campaigns that appeal to the needs and desires of the target group.
- Campaign Optimization: Social analytics can be used to optimize social media campaigns by identifying which content types, topics, and channels are most effective in engaging the audience. By measuring conversion metrics, businesses can determine which social media channels and campaigns are driving the most website traffic, leads, and sales. With the correct optimization strategy, we have an opportunity to generate better value for the money spent on social media platforms. At the same time, analytics opens up the window to check what is working well in a campaign and what needs some fixing.
- Competitive Analysis: Social analytics can be used to monitor competitors and identify opportunities for differentiation. By analyzing the social media presence of competitors, businesses can identify gaps in the market and develop strategies to differentiate their brands. In today’s era, where competition is heating up in almost all major sectors across economies, it has become important to take help from all corners to develop a competitive edge. As a result, social analytics can be effectively used to understand the actions of the competition and derive a roadmap to develop a unique competitive edge in the market.
- Crisis Management: Social analytics can be used to monitor social media channels for potential crises and quickly respond to negative feedback. By monitoring sentiment analysis and social listening metrics, businesses can identify potential issues before they escalate and take proactive steps to address them. This is another critical use of social analytics in the modern era of marketing. A single crisis has the potential to erase all the gains made by a business without wasting any time. However, social analytics can be used effectively to quickly collect, process, and respond to negative feedback.
- Influencer Marketing: Social analytics can be used to identify influencers who are most likely to engage a brand’s target audience. By analyzing engagement metrics and reach metrics, businesses can identify influencers who have a strong following and a high engagement rate. Social analytics can help us identify the most promising influencers that can be selected for a particular campaign., Based on the details used as input, the social analytics tool can come up with suggested influencers that can be a good fit for the brand.
- Product Development: Social analytics can be used to identify customer pain points and preferences and inform product development. By monitoring social media conversations and social listening metrics, businesses can gain insights into what customers are saying about their products and services and use this information to develop new products that meet customer needs. With the right understanding of the market and what the customers are saying, we will have a better opportunity to create products and services that are better aligned with their expectations.
How to use Social Analytics?Social analytics should be used with a structured approach. Using social analytics effectively involves the following steps:
- Set Business Objectives: The first step in using social analytics is to define the business objectives we want to achieve. These objectives may include increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, generating leads, improving customer satisfaction, or monitoring brand reputation. With the right objective in place, it becomes easier for a business to start working on a roadmap to achieve the set objective.
- Select the Right Tools: There are many social analytics tools available that can help us measure and analyze social media metrics. When selecting a tool, consider our business objectives and the specific metrics we want to measure. It is important to consider the capabilities of the various tools and then match them with our expectations to get a winner on our hands. With the right social analytics tool, it becomes easier for a business to achieve the set objectives and constructively use the available solutions.
- Define Metrics: Once we have selected a tool, define the metrics we want to measure. These metrics may include engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and shares, reach metrics such as impressions and followers; conversion metrics such as click-through rates and conversion rates; and sentiment analysis. As explained in the beginning, a business can only improve what it can measure. Therefore, it is important to be clear about the metrics that are expected to be measured and what will be termed as success and failure for a marketing campaign.
- Monitor Social Media Channels: Monitor the social media channels to gather data and track the metrics we have defined. This involves monitoring social media conversations, mentions, and engagement on different social media platforms. This is expected to be an ongoing activity for any business. The more time given to data monitoring, the better the insights are expected to be. At the same time, it becomes easier for a business to understand how its audience is behaving on social media platforms. At times, this monitoring exercise makes it possible to come up with campaigns, content, and communication that set the brand apart from the competition.
- Analyze Data: Use the data collected from social media monitoring to analyze the metrics we have defined. Look for patterns and trends in the data to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and attitudes. With proper analysis of the available data, a business has the potential to create a robust social media and business strategy. With this exercise, a business can get a bird’s eye view of the operations and how customers are reacting to the efforts being made by the company.
- Make Data-Driven Decisions: Use the insights gained from social analytics to make data-driven decisions. For example, if the data shows that a particular type of content is driving the most engagement, we can focus our efforts on creating more of that content. Similarly, if the analysis concludes that the products recently launched by the company have not clicked with the users and they are expecting some changes in these products, the business would be willing to undertake the changes as it understands the psyche of the consumer.
- Track Progress: Finally, track the progress over time by monitoring social media metrics regularly. This will help us identify areas where we can improve and make changes to the social media strategy accordingly. Again, this is an ongoing process that is expected to be an integral part of the social analytics strategy of any business. As a result, it is important to look at this step as the one that completes one cycle of the social analytics journey.
How to select the right tool for social analytics?Selecting the right tool for social analytics can be a challenge, as there are many different tools available on the market. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a tool:
- Business Objectives: The first step in selecting a tool for social analytics is to consider our business objectives. Different tools may be better suited for different objectives, so it is important to choose a tool that aligns with our goals. For instance, we may have an objective to measure engagement and reach but the tool selected is a better fit for sales and conversion mapping. To avoid such a scenario, a business needs to select the right tool.
- Metrics: Some tools may be better at measuring certain metrics than others. For example, if we want to measure sentiment analysis, we may need a tool that has natural language processing capabilities. Similarly, for any of the other metrics, it is important to select the right tool by matching the expectations and capabilities.
- Platform: Some tools are designed for specific platforms, while others may cover multiple platforms. Therefore, it is critical to be clear about the platforms that we plan to use and integrate the social analytics tool. For instance, if we are planning to cover niche social platforms for the business, the tool that has been selected must be capable enough to provide insights from the shortlisted platforms.
- Ease of Use: Some tools may be more complex than others, so it is important to choose a tool that is easy to use and navigate. Always remember that the tool will be used by digital marketing or the social media marketing team. While these professionals may have a knack for and understanding of how marketing works on digital or social platforms, it is not fair to expect that they will become familiar with the tool right away. Therefore, it is better to select a tool that is easy to understand and does not have too many layers that may intimidate the marketing team.
- Cost: Some tools may be more expensive than others, so it is important to choose a tool that fits within our budget. It is one of the most important considerations, but we should not make the only consideration. There needs to be a balance between the cost, capabilities, and expectations of a tool. By making cost the only consideration for selection, the business will likely end up with a solution that may be cheaper but not fit its requirements.
- Features: Some tools may offer advanced features, such as predictive analytics, while others may offer more basic features. When looking at the price, it is also equally important to understand the level of features that are being offered by various tools. A business would be better off processing all the information before making the final decision.
- Support: Consider the level of support offered by the tool. Some tools may offer more comprehensive support, while others may offer limited support. Therefore, our primary concern is that there should be a support team available as and when needed by the business.
Social Analytics vs other similar offeringsSocial media analytics is the process of collecting and analyzing data from social media platforms to gain insights into user behavior, trends, and opinions. It is a powerful tool for businesses and individuals who want to understand their audience and optimize their social media strategy. However, other seemingly similar offerings are worth discussing to differentiate between them. These are as follows:
- Social Media Monitoring- One of the most similar offerings to social media analytics is social media monitoring. Social media monitoring involves tracking social media platforms for mentions of a particular brand, product, or keyword. It is a useful tool for companies that want to monitor their brand reputation, detect and respond to customer service issues, or identify influencers in their industry.
- Social Media Listening- Another related offering is social media listening, which involves monitoring social media platforms for conversations related to a particular topic, industry, or keyword. The goal of social media listening is to gain insights into customer needs, preferences, and opinions to inform marketing and product development strategies.
- Social Media Management- Finally, there are social media management tools, which are designed to help businesses manage their social media accounts by scheduling posts, monitoring engagement, and analyzing performance metrics. While social media management tools may offer some basic analytics functionality, they are primarily focused on the day-to-day management of social media accounts rather than in-depth analytics.