Data is the currency of the 21st century. Brands and companies around the globe invest huge amounts in the personnel, tools, and equipment necessary to collect, analyze, and derive insights from the near-infinite pool of available consumer data.
Since social media has exploded in popularity over the past decade, many marketers have questioned its usefulness as a marketing medium and source of actionable user data. With questions like “How much revenue did my Facebook post from last week actually generate?” and “How many customers did my tweet earn the business?”, it has become difficult to quantify the real bottomline benefits of social media.
While some of that skepticism is justified, social media is still invaluable to your brand – and we’re going to discuss why. In this piece, we’ll cover how to leverage insights from social media data to boost your business’s return on investment (ROI) and measure those gains.
Systematically, we’ll dive into what social media data is and understand how it can be a useful treasure trove of insights to guide business decision-making. Finally, we’ll look at some tips you can implement to gather, process, and enact insights from social media data.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Social media data encompasses the various indicators of user behavior, preferences, and engagement across social media platforms. In simpler terms, it is the aggregated information from your various social media accounts that shows you how your audience shares, views, and engages with your content.
The most objective form of social media data is usually in the form of metrics. These metrics vary slightly across the different social media platforms and include things like:
While there might be some other metrics to consider, the above are the main data points that are core to your marketing strategy.
While it is always beneficial to be armed with as many social media metrics as possible, not all of them are useful all the time. This is the dichotomy between meaningful social media data and vanity metrics.
Vanity metrics are data points that look impressive on the surface but do not provide real performance insights. For example, your follower count on Twitter might be growing, but this won’t be very useful if there isn’t an equivalent increase in engagement metrics like comments and post impressions. Vanity metrics shouldn’t be used, in a vacuum, as a key performance indicator.
Now that you understand the basics, we can get into the nitty-gritty. Many new marketers understand that social media is indeed useful for direct and effective marketing but still struggle to tie these gains directly to ROI.
By providing your business with a multitude of insights, social media data can be leveraged to boost ROI on many fronts. Here are some of the ways in which data gleaned from your social media accounts can increase your ROI:
In this section, let’s take a look at some tips to help you glean the most insightful information from your social media data and, subsequently, increase your revenue.
For seasoned digital marketers, this goes without saying. Remember when we said that key metrics are similar across major social media platforms? This is when it comes in handy.
You must figure out what the shared core performance metrics are across all your active social media accounts. This will allow you to compare your marketing campaigns’ performance on an even footing between these platforms.
In stark contrast to the previous point, platform-specific metrics are those that only exist on a particular social media platform. This might be due to differences in features, layouts, and available user actions.
For example, Actions on Page is an example of the metrics specific to Facebook Analytics as it shows where users are clicking on your page, including website, phone number, and CTA clicks. Common metrics should be used alongside platform-specific metrics for a more holistic view of your content marketing performance.
TIP: To make your social media campaigns successful, your business will require data enrichment that makes communication process with your customers more personalized and helps segment data to meet their needs and preferences, which will result in improvement of the sales funnel and marketing ROI.
Now we get to the slightly more technical side of things. Aside from social media analytics themselves, Google Analytics is a useful tool when it comes to high-level data collation. As an advanced tool, you can leverage its power to find out about leads generated, product sales, site visit durations, resource downloads, and more.
You can connect your social pages to gain insights that will help you figure out how much your social media-generated leads are adding to your revenue. And once you are armed with that data, you can act accordingly to boost your performance.
Adobe Analytics is also a useful tool for social media managers who want more in-depth reporting. It tracks many of the metrics that Google Analytics allows you to monitor, and so much more.
There are also some departures from the way Google Analytics tracks visitor behavior. For example, Google tracks sessions, while Adobe tracks visits. Instead of ranking the top 10 landing pages on your site, Adobe Analytics lists the top ten entry pages.
Adobe Analytics also counts conversions differently. Let’s say your conversion rate depends on whether a user or visitor plays a video on your site, and you have a single visitor who plays three videos in a single page visit. Google will count it as just one conversion, but Adobe Analytics will count it as three. For Adobe, what matters is not just the action, but the number of times the user performs an action on your page.
Is Adobe Analytics better than Google? It depends on how you define your metrics. But while the two analytics platforms are competitors, each platform brings their own unique set of useful insights to the table.
By this point, you should have an idea of how to collect the vital data from your numerous social media accounts and even check your competitors’ advertising strategy. Now we’re going to look at a big way to use that data: audience segmentation.
Linking closely to the aforementioned benefits of gathering social media data, the insights you gain by using this data will allow you to gain a better understanding of your audience’s demographics, interests, and identities. You can isolate information like gender, age, location, career, political affiliation, and socioeconomic status, and use these data points to craft content or ads tailored to each of these segments.
After segmenting your audience, you can take your marketing a step further. Using this audience data, you can collect valuable SEO data to inform things like content image selection, keyword research, and meta titles.
Audience analysis achieves what generic content marketing cannot; it enables you to zero in on exactly what appeals to each segment of your audience and create content that appeals directly to them.
The beauty of social media data is that it gives you valuable information on how your users behave. Do your female users like to comment on visual content like infographics or illustrations? Do younger people typically take the time to finish your branded videos? Are your captions driving engagement? These are some of the questions that are answered by data-derived behavioral insights.
Metrics like page visits, average video watch duration, impressions, organic likes, profile visits, and total reach are crucial to fine-tuning your content quality on a post-by-post basis. By understanding how users engage with your content, you can pinpoint any shortcomings for improvement.
If, for example, your Instagram image post with a lengthy, detailed caption saw lower engagement than one with a to-the-point caption, it might signal that your audience prefers short and snappy over long and detailed.
Further, you can also use these insights to guide your search engine optimization (SEO) content strategy. There are a plethora of online SEO tools with which you can source keywords that perfectly compliment the determined content preferences of your audience.
Social media is increasingly ubiquitous and that means you cannot afford to ignore it as a marketing medium and source of audience insights. It can revolutionize your business’s approach to content marketing, customer support, product branding, and other key business areas when used properly. Fortunately, there are an array of social media analytics data tools to help you.
By serving as something of an online referendum of your brand in the eyes of netizens, social media data can help show you the pitfalls in your marketing strategy, plug holes in your content and SEO strategies, and drive increased ROI.