Most people in this day and age have realized the importance of social media and have given it the respect it deserves as the genuine extension of a website, rather than a stand-alone entity. It provides every company who uses it yet another way to disseminate their message. However, the use of analytics to assess and guide social media strategy is still not as rampant as it should be. At this point, you may be saying to yourself, “I spend enough of my time on social media; now I have to worry about spending more time to track all those activities?” If you’re a company trying to bring in business leads through these social media avenues, than the answer is a resounding “Yes.” Tracking your social media analytics is essential because it helps you figure out what is or isn’t working, enables you to track your progress throughout a given time, and ultimately saves time – a precious commodity in the marketing world.
Social Media Analytics Show What You’re Doing Right
When I first started in Social Media Marketing, I knew very little, if anything at all, about analytics. All my time and energy was invested in getting a steady stream of content out into the world via our various profiles. We generated the content on our website, pushed it out onto our social media sites, and once I was able to get into a comfortable routine, I just crossed my fingers and hoped followers would flock to our pages. That’s how it works, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy; the “If you build it, they will come” mentality doesn’t always pan out. This is especially so when you are a small B2B Company offering services that can be a little more difficult for the general public to understand.
Content is important, but so is engagement. You need to find a way to get people to your page before they can view your impressive content. You also need to be able to see what content is resonating with followers and the general public. So how do you know if you’re doing the right thing, attracting the right people, and making an impression? Analytics are the answer! Start by getting a few months of analytics as baseline of your social media interaction. Use tools like Google Analytics, HootSuite or HubSpot to find out things like, “How many visitors come to my website per month?” or, “How many visits come from each of my social media platforms per month?” After you create a data baseline, alter one habit at a time, and see if you receive more visits, likes, shares, comments, follows or other forms of engagement during that time. Even using the simple analytics offered on your Facebook Company page can tell you how many people your post has reached, how many engaged users it had, and the virality (the number of people who have created a story from your post as a percentage of the number of people who have seen it) of each post. Does time of day matter to your followers? Is certain content receiving more attention than others? Pay attention to these numbers and use them to adjust your strategy going forward.
Social Media Analytics Track Your Progress
A fault of traditional marketing has always been the inability to figure out the exact amount of ROI. Counting the number of impressions or assigning a value to media coverage is extremely subjective, difficult to calculate, and not always the most accurate measurement system. While the ROI of inbound content marketing such as social media is not that much easier to gauge, Social Media Analytical tools allow you to see a bigger part of the whole picture. Besides showing how your following has grown or how many fans you’ve accumulated over time, some analytics programs allow you to track just how many contacts (and hopefully leads) your social media efforts have brought in. Using a tool like HubSpot, you can actually see which platform (and link) a lead or contact came from. This means that you can measure exactly what the ROI is of some of your social media outputs. Having a hard time convincing someone in your company of the importance of social media to your business? Print out the analytical proof and make them a believer, too. The numbers don’t lie.
Social Media Analytics Help You Better Allocate Your Time
Social media efforts can become “throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks.” In other words, post as much stuff as you can, on as much stuff as you can, and hope that it goes viral bringing as many people to your website as possible. However, a marketing professional quickly realizes that this approach does not work and can actually waste a lot of valuable time. Just like analytics can help show you which tactics are working, it can also show you the social media source of your visits, contacts or leads. For instance, in February most of our social media visits came from Facebook, with significantly less coming from both LinkedIn and Twitter. In March, I decided to dedicate a little more time to LinkedIn and Twitter, increasing the amount of posts and engagement on both sites. Besides a general increase in social media visits, we also saw the number of overall visits even out between the three for that month. You need to use this data to discover the best ways to allocate your time. Spending tons of time on twitter and not getting many leads? Maybe if some of that time was spent promoting your company on another platform, you’d be having more success in bringing in leads. It never hurts to try, but to try without knowing and analyzing the results afterwards wastes time.
Whether you’re a big or small company, if you’re investing time, money, and effort into social media, than you should use social media analytics to see the whole picture and witness the fruits of your labor. Start using analytics to track your social media efforts today and figure out the best formula for success for you and your company tomorrow.