Several marketers are hesitant to use social media data, and with good reason. At the same time data are large scale, timely, and inexpensive, they also present a host of challenges, including differences across social media platforms and selection bias.
Actually, any businesses know social media isn’t just a broadcast platform. Any successful strategy is built around reaching the right people at the best time with the most insightful contents. In order to achieve this, you need to sharpen your social listening abilities in addition to your verbal communication skills.
As many, you might think that you’ve already mastered this, but social media listening is more than watching your mentions and replying when prompted. It requires to go beyond notifications and find people who aren’t tagging you in their updates and conversations.
Why do you need to measure social media ?
Simply because you commit time and business resource into social media means that you must be clear on what impact it is having on your business.
“Social media is not just an activity; it is an investment of valuable time and resources. Surround yourself with people who not just support you and stay with you, but inform your thinking about ways to WOW your online presence” – Sean Gardner (@2morrowknight)
For example, if you have a Facebook page you can get access to analytics and see how your page is performing, but there are many, many other tools available to help measure social media.
The Socia Media analysis tools
You can find numerous social media engagement, listening, measurement and analysis tools on the market which can help you to understand and analyse your social media engagement . Each of these tools provide different views of social media analytics. For example, you can use:
- Buffer for posting/scheduling content
- Brandwatch for analysing social media conversations
- Iconosquare for analysing Instagram engagement
- Simply Measured for measuring brand content performance
- Stashmetrics for understanding target group behaviour and influence.
All of these tools provide some kind of dashboard with analytics and pretty visuals. Those analysis can be either brand content performance or brand word of mouth created through user generated contents, with some providing a combination of both.
Before using any tool, you need to know what type of data you want to analyse or be specific on whichs questions do you want to answer. You must also differentiate Social Media analytics and Social Media Intelligence.
Social Media Analytics
Simply put, Social media analytics is the action of gathering data from blogs and social media websites and analyzing data and make business decisions. One of the the most common use of social media analytics is to determine customer sentiment in order to support marketing and customer service activities.
Social Media Intelligence
Social media intelligence looks to explore the qualitative and behavioural implications arising from social media engagement.
In a way, social media intelligence is more marketing oriented. It helps to understand why people engage with specific contents, sorts out the context of the conversation about the brand and behaviours driving engagement.
Going beyond the numbers
Going beyond the numbers requires brands to think about what those numbers mean. For example:
- Instead of looking at number of likes and followers. Wait and explore who they are. Are they your target audience, a competitor, a bot?
- If content posted at 3pm on a Tuesday receives high engagement consider if there are any other variables to provide insight into why.
- Look at analytics on hashtags with most engagement- think about how many times you posted using that hashtag compared to others.
Going beyond brand content:
- What is the context of the conversation? Think about your brands attributes and how to relate the conversation back to you. What does the conversation tell you?
- What language do your customers use when they talk about your brand?
- In what context to customers use your brand ?
The long journey into social media intelligence
Going beyond the numbers can be difficult, as it requires insight frameworks and methodologies to be employed. Not everyone has the skills or experience to conduct analysis and some brands may not be ready to implement the findings.
Being able to strategically develop campaigns and content from customer behavior will help brands answer the awkward ‘what does this mean?’ question that you can’t by only measuring likes and shares.
Social media intelligence will not happen overnight but the journey is worth it.Remember this:
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu
Wondering what Social Media intelligence can do for your brand ? Contact me here. Interested in getting blog posts, tips, and some silly social media geekery on any industry related marketing information, you can follow me on Twitter !