Analytics is the study of various sources of data. Social Media Analytics specifically refers to the practice of studying customer sentiment and feedback from a number of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and more.
While it might sound easy at first, there’s more to it than you may expect. Social media analytics consists of two different aspects: impressions, which is the measurement of how many users see a social post your company has created, and text mining, which is essentially the study of what people are saying about your company, and how often they say it (also referred to as ‘customer sentiment’).
Impressions are much easier to study than text, so many companies’ social media strategies revolve around measuring impressions. As different social media platforms handle analytics differently, let’s take a look at how a few major platforms calculate their analytics:
The speed with which things can be shared on Facebook and the number of things that may pop up in your average user’s Facebook feed has led them to come up with their own criteria for measuring how many people see your company’s Facebook posts, called reach. Reach is defined as the number of people who have seen your post in their News Feed, as determined by Facebook’s algorithm for tracking a user’s interests and ‘liked’ posts. Reach is measured separately from impressions, and impressions tend to be higher than reach because impressions counts the number of times someone sees your post being shared by their friends or appearing in their feed, whereas the News Feed will only show a post once.
Twitter provides two different measurements for impressions: potential impressions and actual impressions. Potential impressions is closer to Facebook’s impressions measurement, as it checks how many times users have posted a tweet with your company’s Twitter account name in it including retweets and posts that include your account name. Actual impressions are defined by Twitter themselves as “anytime a user sees your Tweet”, measuring the number of people that see any post your company makes. While actual impressions are a great way to build a marketing strategy, potential impressions are good for measuring customer sentiment by allowing you to see what people are saying about you on Twitter.
While LinkedIn discourages using specific accounts to market your company, it still gives you plenty of tools to track your company’s reach. LinkedIn allows you to measure which of your page’s followers were gained organically (by simply finding your LinkedIn page) vs. being acquired through paid ads throughout the site, as well as how your followers have changed over time. You can also track how many visitors you specially get to your main page and your Career Listings page (if you have one, as not every LinkedIn page will have a job listings section). LinkedIn also tracks your main page’s Reach and Impressions much like Facebook, and will even show you the analytics for each of your pages’ updates.
So now that you have the data, what are you supposed to do with it? As always, it depends on what you’re trying to do. Most social media analytics will also display engagement, which is the number of people that actually click on your ad to see more about your product or business.
Many people will worry at first about their low engagement rate, but fret not! If you’re a newer business, you should focus on a high reach/impressions to start growing a fan base. It’s generally a good strategy to try and capture users’ attention first before trying to increase their engagement with your actual posts, particularly on Facebook but it’s a sound strategy across many, if not all of the available platforms. Once your reach has started to, well…reach the level you want (pun intended), it’s best to start focusing on engagement. That way you know the customers both know you’re out there and are willing to interact with your posts, further cementing you in their minds and hopefully turning into conversions!