How much importance do you put on your social media analytics?
The more you measure your results, the easier it is to grow your social media presence, and improve your social media and content strategies. That’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t for you and your audience and how you learn about your audience and their behaviors so that you can ultimately improve your strategies.
In this post, I’m going to share some useful tips and tools for measuring and learning from your social media analytics.
What metrics should you track?
In order to get as much as possible out of your social media analytics, you need to focus on a certain element - actionable metrics. This is what will ultimately help you improve your social media presence.
Forget about follower numbers or likes and instead focus on:
- Your social media traffic
- The quality of your social media traffic
- The conversions made
- The sales generated
These will best inform your strategy, and what you need to do in order to improve your social media strategy in regards to:
- Which social networks you need to focus on as they get the best results on a regular basis
- What days and times you should post to reach the most people and generate more clicks and engagement
- What types of posts and other types of content perform best/worst
Add UTM parameters to your social media links to track behavior
How many people are clicking on your links? What do they do once they click on these links? Where are they coming from?
You can find out all of this information in relation to your social media traffic simply by adding UTM parameters to your links – iwhich can be amazingly useful for calculating your social media ROI.
UTM parameters are snippets of code which you can add to your shared links, so that you can then track them and gain useful knowledge about your audience.
To set up UTM tracking for the links you share on social media, you can use a tool like Agorapulse. Agorapulse is a social media management tool, so you can use it to create your social media calendar and publish or schedule to all of your social media accounts.
And whenever you publish or schedule a link via Agorapulse, you have the option to turn on UTM tracking:
This then enables you to add custom UTM parameters to these links, so that you can then track your visitors’ paths and learn from them.
Set up conversion goals in Google Analytics to track conversions and ROI
One of my favorite Google Analytics features is that you can create conversion goals.
To give you an example, one such goal could be a website visitor making an appointment with you. Once you’ve created this goal, you’ll be able to see how many people achieved it via your social media traffic sources (and other sources as well, for that matter), helping you understand what your social traffic’s conversion rate is.
To set up these conversion goals (you’re allowed 20), go to your Google Analytics admin and click on Goals:
As you can see, you have multiple template options to choose from, or you can always create a goal from scratch (although their templates cover most common conversions and are quite flexible).
For example, a conversion can be something like:
- Making a reservation for a service of yours
- Checking your businesses’ location (and hopefully visiting it)
- Making an online payment
- Signing up for your email newsletter list
Then, in order to track these goals, go to your Google Analytics account, to Acquisition -> Social -> Conversions. There you’ll be able to see exactly how many conversions you’ve had from each social network, and better determine the success of your social media strategy.
Learn from your analytics
As noted, checking your social media analytics is not just about the numbers, it’s about understanding the numbers and interpreting them to use them in your strategy:
- Why do certain updates perform better?
- Why was there a big spike (or the opposite!) in engagement or followers during a certain period?
- Why do certain posts perform better?
- Which updates should you reuse?
- Which influencers have interacted with you?
- Which of your followers engage with you most?
This is why your analytics are so valuable, and can help significantly improve your social media marketing efforts.
For example, you might notice that videos perform much better than any other form of media you share – and if your goal is to boost brand awareness and engagement then you might consider investing more in creating social media videos.
Or maybe you’ve noticed a big spike in engagement/new followers during a certain 3-day period. What is one of your updates that did this? Did you get a share from a top social media influencer? Was it a holiday and people were spending more time online?
As you can see, there’s a lot to learn from your results, however you’ll need to consider all kinds of factors when interpreting them in order to truly understand why they happened.
Conduct your own experiments
Another way to learn from your social media analytics is to experiment with different tactics and strategies to see how they perform.
You can find a lot of useful tips online, but it’s worth stressing that every audience is different, so what works for one account won't necessarily work for you.
In order to learn more about your audiences’ interests, preferences, and behavior, experiment with your social media strategy:
- Try sharing different types of content and media to see how they perform (GIFs, images, videos, text-only updates, etc.)
- Post content on different topics to learn more about your audiences’ interests
- Post your updates at different times during the day and night to see when they perform best
- Change your posting frequency to see how it affects your social media traffic and engagement
- Share the same links multiple times (spreading them out) with different calls to action to see how they affect your clicks/traffic
As you can see, your analytics can be incredibly valuable, helping you to not only establish your ROI, but actually understand more about your audience, and what you need to do to continue boosting your results.