Bringing Your Brand to Life through Social Media Analytics
Since the launch of Facebook in an unassuming Harvard University college dorm in January 2004 (it wasn’t all that long ago!) social media has since exploded onto the scene and gained a foothold in our everyday lives and collective consciousness in a way very few people ever predicted. Nowadays everyone it seems has a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profile, or a combination of all 3 (at least in developed countries like Australia where the cost of an internet subscription is a fraction of most people’s income). The beauty and danger of social media lies in its openness – virtually anyone with an internet connection can sign up and share their opinion on almost anything – from the great customer service they received at the local café, to their disappointment at the price of a coveted garment they saw at the local department store. And they sure do!
The Power of SMA (Social Media Analytics):
The key benefit social media holds for business, especially bigger businesses with well-known brands and an existing social media presence is the ability to monitor chatter about their brand direct from customers or potential customers – which in many ways is a very powerful and cost-effective form of market research. You hear exactly what your customers are thinking about you and your business in a real-time manner, giving you an opportunity to fix lingering problems and possibly get ahead of the competition by offering superior solutions to business rivals. Another powerful application is the ability to monitor sentiment around particular events or issues that affect your specific industry. For example, a property developer may use popular social media analytics tools such as Followerwonk, Google Analytics, Klout or Moz Pro etc. to monitor discussions surrounding the property market and in doing so may discover a high volume of tweets/Facebook posts lamenting a lack of affordable 2 bedroom units in a popular inner city neighbourhood. Or conversely a growing preference (expressed as tweets, Facebook posts, comments left on social media profiles of real estate websites and other property developers etc) amongst their young professionals target audience for communal rooftop gardens and other shared spaces within apartment complexes. Armed with these insights, the developer can then tweak their apartment designs to incorporate these desired features in new developments, whilst deciding to build low-cost, affordable 2 bedroom apartments in a high demand location for young professionals to meet this growing market need. As a result, sales increase and so does their profit margins.
Tools of the Trade: the Most Popular Social Media Analytics Solutions
With over 500 million opinions, comments and suggestions posted on Twitter every single day, over 58 million images uploaded to Instagram everyday and 55 million status updates made on Facebook; being able to effectively sort through this treasure chest of information and content and turn it into real-time business intelligence is obviously crucial to the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns both online and offline. Thankfully, to that end a generous selection of sophisticated yet user-friendly Social Media Analytics (SMA) tools exist, the most popular being amongst those listed below:
- Buffer (All major platforms)
- Collecto (Instagram only)
- Followerwonk (Twitter only)
- Google Analytics (Offers social media analytics too)
- Iconsquare (Instagram only)
- Klout (All major platforms)
- TweetReach (Twitter only)
- Crowdbooster (Facebook & Twitter)
- Moz Pro (Facebook, Google+, Twitter)
- Social Bakers (All major platforms)
POPULAR SOCIAL MEDIA METRICS
- Reach: By tracking your reach (the total number of followers who see your posts, on average across all your social media channels), you can reliably gauge the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaigns and make adjustments to your marketing efforts if need be to reach more people. It’s a good way to evaluate where you’re seeing the most growth. Common ways to increase your reach include paid search advertising, sponsored social media posts (I.e. paid Tweets, Facebook Ads etc), influencer engagement and cross-channel promotion with other brands on social media that share similar values and target audience(s). Ultimately the greater your reach, the greater number of potential customers you can connect with.
- Engagement: By tracking your average engagement rate (generally summed by number of followers/subscribers divided by the number of comments likes, shares/re-tweets received by each post) you’re able to identify segments of your audience who are most engaged with your brand and potentially your most valuable customers and “evangelists”. Tracking engagement also allows you to identify the type of content you publish that generates the highest levels of interactions and plan your future social media campaigns accordingly. A 2014 study by Social Bakers based on 300,000 Facebook posts, established the connection between publishing engaging content and growing your average reach (or social media influence), with these two metrics forming a symbiotic relationship.
- Acquisition: Monitoring your visitor frequency rate allows you to measure the percentage of new visitors and “engagers” with your social media profile vs. returning visitors, and therefore is another powerful metric to ascertain your level of reach and audience growth. Armed with this information it is possible to identify which posts “acquired” your new followers/visitors and turned them into active followers.
- Conversions: The assisted social conversions metric (as opposed to the last click direct conversions metric) allows you to identify which of your social media channels are most effective at courting your customers and directing them towards your website for a general browse, and those which are best for actually sealing the deal. Using the metric allows you to make decisions on which channels to allocate more resources to in order to enhance the number of your social media followers who become paying customers (or whatever other action you define as a successful conversion).
- Cost Savings: Tracking your customer service savings (Avg. time x Costs per hour x Customer service inquiries completed) is a powerful tool for measuring the cost savings to your business realised by resolving traditional customer service inquiries via social media channels instead of more traditional over-the-phone or face-to-face methods. This metric allows you to gauge whether social media is in fact saving you overhead costs and improving your business efficiency, thus justifying increased spend on this platform or whether you’re better off keeping your investment in social media marketing minimal.
With a wealth of social media metrics by which to measure your online marketing efforts and improve your business’s visibility amongst its target market, it’s important to keep in mind the most basic rule of all – the power of good content. No matter how good your product or service may be, if your content is dull and irrelevant to your customers, they’re less likely to share it, comment on your posts or ultimately to “buy into” your offer.