“Is there going to be math involved? Because I went into marketing so I wouldn’t have to do math.”
Does this sound like you? Don’t worry. We won’t judge. Many marketers shy away from delving into analytics because it can seem overwhelming to look at metrics from the outside in. But remember - most new skills seem scarier than they are, and the best way to get through something new is simply to start.
The analytics tools offered by each social platform can give you a better idea of how well your content is performing - and the data is all free.
Here are some tips on how to make the most of those native analytics offerings:
1. Set your goalposts
Smart marketers recognize that in order to develop a marketing strategy that truly works, you first need to decide what your goals are. You can then set up ways to measure and track against key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to assess how well your content is working.
2. Find out where your followers work, live and even eat
Knowing where your followers are located can help you geo-target your campaigns. For example, if you have a client in the restaurant industry, you might offer a special or a coupon via a targeted Facebook ad. Knowing where your followers are will help you maximize your ad spend for that offer to people within a reasonable driving distance of that restaurant’s location. You can drill down further and target people based on what sort of food they eat at restaurants versus what they tend to order for delivery.
3. Leverage Audience Insights
Facebook's Audience Insights tools enable social media managers to pinpoint key trends among the users their followers to better target their content and campaigns. You can even see how your trends compare with those of similar Pages, which can be useful in discerning where your competitors are succeeding, and where they fall short. Your brand can then pick up the slack and bring followers over to your Page.
4. Research and refocus your Twitter following
Similarly, Twitter offers native analytics around your followers’ occupations, gender, marital status and buying style. You can use this information to see if your content is hitting your target audience - if you find, for example, that your existing Twitter followers are not in your target market, you can use your insights from to run an ad campaign and gain more followers in your focus demographic.
5. Pinpoint when you’re killing it - and where you’re missing the mark
All social platforms will show you which days you have gained or lost followers, and you can use that information to look back at what you posted or tweeted on those days, to see what did or did not resonate with your community. Paying close attention to this will help you know what to do more of, and where you might need to pivot.
6. Repurpose the wins
You might find a tweet that did particularly well - use that insight to tweet out similar information, presented in a new way. You might also want to pull the subject matter from that high-performing tweet and write a blog post on the topic, since you already know that this is something your followers are interested in.
7. Timing is everything
Knowing when to post is an integral part of social media marketing. If you post when your fans are online, and at their highest level of alertness, your posts will drive more engagement, traffic and sales.
8. Optimize for format
On networks like Facebook and Twitter, you can also look into whether images, links or videos do better. On Instagram, you can check what type of images perform best. The more you can tailor your content, the better.
9. Specialization works best
When you try to speak broadly to everyone, you tend to reach no one - each piece of content you publish should make the targeted user feel like that blog, photo or post has been written specifically for them. Your customers want to spend their money on a company that's authentic and trustworthy, and personalized content gives them that impression. The more data you can collect, the better your brand will be able to customize content.
10. Build, test and iterate
Marketing strategies should never be set in stone. They're constantly evolving, and you'll learn as you go which tactics are working, and which are falling flat. If you regularly study your social media analytics, you can optimize your strategy and spend less time on posts that don't resonate.
A version of this post was first published on TheSocial Shake-Up blog.