Lots of things are shifting in the social space for brands this year - one of the most important being a heightened (and long overdue) focus on analytics. While data nerds like me have been pulling stats about their social communities for a few years now, the whole idea may be frightening and a little overwhelming for others. One easy way to start? Post tags, and you can start using them by taking three easy steps.
First, identify & tag your content's functions
Content functions do exactly what you'd think - they classify your content's functionality. Don't confuse these functions with your content themes, however; content functions classify posts based on a desired outcome, not a specific post area. Sound confusing? Let's use a hair care brand as an example. They make the following post on Twitter:
"Summer can be fun for a day at the beach... but not so much for frizzy hair. What's your number one tip to keep your style intact?"
The post area would be hair care, because it's talking about tips and tricks. The post function, however, could be classified as something like "conversational" because the content is phrased to solicit a reply from the audience. Content functions group posts with like social actions together for measurement, regardless of the media they contain.
Then, determine their desired outcomes
Once you've tagged your posts with their appropriate functions, it's time to pair those functions with the actions you're aiming to see your community take. These outcomes are both function-specific, and platform-specific.
Let's continue with our example from above. The outcome of a conversational post on Twitter could be two-fold: replies with answers for the brand to then RT, and follower RTs or MTs with their answers prefacing the brand's original/modified post. If the same post were made on Facebook, the RTs/MTs and replies would convert into comments and possibly shares.
Finally, audit their performance against engagement metrics
This is where you can enjoy the fruits of your labor - with the data. Once you've tagged all of your posts based on their desired outcomes, you can see if they actually did what you hoped they'd do. Sometimes, you'll see the engagement types you were after. Other times, the community might take an entirely different action. No matter your outcomes, auditing your tags is crucial to identifying community behavior, and identifying sentiment and trends with your content. It will also help you identify which functions in which content areas receive greater engagement than others.
Tagging posts is only a small step towards building a more robust analytics approach. But, even the smallest steps make for better community management, and a more well-rounded social media approach in general. Are you beefing up your analtyics in 2013? Tell us how in the comments below.