In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the value of social media for small businesses. Social media continues to be popular, and it’s likely that your customers are active on one or many social channels. While it’s important to have a presence on all the channels that matter to your specific business, it’s also necessary to know how well your social content performs and if your overall social strategy is working.
It’s important to measure your performance across social channels to know that you’re using the right tactics for your specific audience. With social media analytics, you can equip yourself with the right tools and reports to see what works for your business and measure the results of your social media activity.
Whether you’re completely new to social media or you analyze LinkedIn and Facebook reports, this blog post will give you a better understanding of how to measure your social media efforts to increase your return of investment (ROI) and ultimately grow your business.
Define Your Social Media Goals
Before digging in to your social media analytics, it’s critical to define your social media goals. These goals should connect to your underlying business objectives. The most important question to ask is: How are my social media efforts supporting my business goals?
To start, you should make a list of your business objectives and identify ways that social media can help you reach them. Your social media goals should follow the S.M.A.R.T. framework, meaning they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Here are some specific S.M.A.R.T goals:
- Expand brand presence by increasing Facebook post volume by 25% in the next 6 months
- Increase audience engagement by increasing Twitter shares by 15% in the next year
- Increase online sales volume by 50% over the next year through social media campaigns
Determine What Metrics are Important for Your Business
Once you’ve defined your social media goals, take some time to consider which metrics will help you measure them. There is a long list of data points that you can consider— ranging from impressions, conversions, likes, or clicks to your website. Even though each of these metrics can be insightful, they may not all be relevant to you. It’s important to understand the role of each metric and how it relates to your goals.
For instance, if your social media goal is to expand your brand presence through Facebook, your post-volume impressions and follower growth should be a few of the main metrics that you track. These will help you measure how much your brand presence has expanded through your social media activity. To learn more about what metrics are important for your business, look at Sprout Social’s guide, The Social Media Metrics that Matter.
Validate your Social Media Return on Investment (ROI) with Tools
Now that you’ve defined both the goals and the metrics that you will need to measure and track your progress, you should identify and implement the tools necessary to track your social media ROI. Understanding your ROI helps to justify the time and resources behind your social strategy.
Luckily, there are a variety of tools that make this easy. Each of the top social media platforms now have built-in analytics dashboards for you to track your social media activity.
1. Facebook Insights: This powerful tool allows all admins to track interaction and activity on their Facebook page. It provides users with stats that can help them determine when and what to post.
2. Twitter Analytics: This gives you a 28-day overview of your Twitter activity and performance. It gives you a wide range of data, including clicks, mentions, favorites, and impressions. It also shows you your improvement from the previous period.
3. LinkedIn Dashboard: LinkedIn collects a large amount of data regarding your business profile, and through its dashboard, you can see a breakdown of posts, engagement and network growth. You can also use their demographics feature to get a much closer consider your audience.
There are a variety of other tools that will allow you to take your analytics even further. With tools like Google Analytics, Hootsuite, or Hubspot, you can get a holistic view on all social media activity across social platforms. These third-party tools also allow you to take a close considerations of conversions.
With these tools, you will be able to understand which of your social media efforts are working and how to improve the ones that are not.
Optimize Your Social Media Efforts
By using these tools to track your metrics and social media goals, you can make data-driven decisions about your brand’s online presence. It’s critical to take the time to evaluate your results and what they mean for your overall social strategy.
For instance, if you find that posting during a certain time of day creates much more positive activity, consider tweaking your strategy to only post during that time. Because social media is always evolving, you should make sure to always keep ongoing improvement in mind.
We hope that you now have a better understanding of the importance of analytics to measure and optimize your social media campaigns. Ultimately with these insights, you will save ample time and resourcing while improving your overall ROI.
Make sure to keep these tips in mind when analyzing your social media strategy:
1. You don't have to measure everything: As we mentioned above, you should only focus on the metrics that measure to you and your business goals. By only measuring the metrics that matter, you’ll avoid the trap of over analyzing.
2. Understand your metrics: Before looking at metrics, make sure you understand the meaning behind them and why they are important to your specific business goal.
3. Choose the tools that work best for you: There are tons of tools available, but you shouldn’t use all of them. Look at the options strategically and select the ones that make the most sense for you.
4. Keep ongoing improvement in mind: Evaluate your results and make data driven decisions so that your social strategy continues to improve and evolve.