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3 Ways to Use Social Media Data to Create Compelling Content

Who likes you? Who doesn't? Who used to like you, but now they don't anymore? Why? Who thought you were funny yesterday? Who thought you were funny last week? Who'd you make tear up with your heartfelt plea? Who'd you make mad completely by accident?

No, we're not talking about high school. We're talking about measuring the efficacy of your social media marketing.

Is your social media marketing team so focused on creating content that they're forgetting to measure the effects of that content? If they are, they're making a huge mistake. The future of successful social media marketing lies in successful social media marketing measurement. It's a mouthful, but it's an important group of words. Here are three ways to use social media data to improve social media marketing.

1. Look at more than dollar-based conversion rates.

Not all of the content you create is designed to get the sale. In fact, when it comes to social media marketing, most of the content you create shouldn't be designed to get the sale. Most of your social media content should be designed to ease customers down your sales funnel, moving them gently from brand awareness to brand engagement before you ever mention the sale.

Measuring how good a job you're doing at brand awareness and brand engagement means you need to think about three "conversion rates" that have nothing to do (initially) with dollar signs: attention, appreciation, and interaction.

"Attention" here means how many eyeballs you get to see your post. It relates principally to brand awareness. This is how many people your Facebook post reaches, how many shares or retweets a post gets, how many unique visitors you get to a blog article, how many people share a blog article.

"Appreciation" means likes, +1s, and favorites. It can also mean Diggs, Stumbles, and Reddits. Basically, what you're looking at when you look at appreciation is how many people liked the content enough to give you "kudos" for it. Appreciation is a measurement of brand engagement.

"Interaction" looks at comments and shares. Interaction relates mostly to brand engagement, but if you have a piece of content that really goes viral due to the interaction its receiving, high interaction will also amplify brand awareness.

By tracking the attention, appreciation, and interaction your content is getting, you'll quickly get a better idea for what kinds of content your followers like and what they don't like. You'll then know what kind of content to create next. And if you run your site on a WordPress blog, Levisto makes measuring many of these metrics much easier.

2. Use free tools to learn as much as you can about your audience.

The problem with the three measurements above is that they don't tell you how much more attention, appreciation, and interaction you would get if you were doing a better job of customizing your content to fit your audience's "personality."

Use free tools like Google Analytics, Google Alerts, Google Trends,, Facebook Insights, Facebook Graph Search to learn as much as you can about your audience. For example, looking at Google Trends for your city might reveal that the topic trending the most in online searches is the local hockey team. Cross-reference that information with a Facebook Graph Search to see how many of your Facebook fans also like hockey. If no one who likes your page likes hockey, you could write a clever post with a headline like, "Getting tired of hearing everyone talk about hockey?" If a high proportion of your Facebook fans do like hockey, you can write a post that plays on that, too.

The point is that effective social media marketing and social media advertising both depend upon knowing to whom you are speaking. Take what you learn and use it to make highly relevant content.

3. Never stop testing new ideas.

The danger of using social media data to create data-driven content is that it gets too easy to fall into a content creation rut. In an effort to give your audience posts that are relevant to them and posts that have earned high attention, appreciation, and interaction in the past, you run the risk of becoming formulaic. While you should use the data sets mentioned above to create content that already has a proven track record, too much of the same will bore fans.

Therefore, every once in a while, you should break your own data-driven rules and create content that's unlike anything else you've done in your recent past. Without testing new ideas, you won't be able to discover areas of growth.


Yes, it's important to measure sales conversion rates that come from your social media marketing efforts. However, you also need to create lots of content that's building brand awareness and brand engagement. To do that, measure and track over time the attention, appreciation, and interaction that your content gets. Combine that data with data you've gathered about your audience to create highly relevant, targeted content marketing. Occasionally, break the mold and try something new to see what kind of response you get from taking a different tact.

How are you using social data to improve your content marketing and social media marketing? Tell us in the comments section below.

Join The Conversation

  • Amanda Oneal's picture
    Jun 15 Posted 3 years ago Amanda Oneal

    I agree with the contents of this post - great article! 

    The fact that social advertising is mostly about branding directly points to the fact that social campaign success is difficult to measure. I think that is primarily what marketers who are confused as to how to measure social campaign success, and wondering why it is not equating to so many sales dollars, need to understand. Instead of allocating tons of budget to social campaigns because everyone is saying it is the thing to do these days, marketers should be smart about utilizing the most cost-effective methods possible for increasing brand awareness through social, which they cannot do if they are not measuring the types of KPIs mentioned here - not the typical KPIs that are used to measure traditional marketing. 

    Thanks for letting me share my two cents! Cheers!

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