Every year, social media plays a greater role in your digital marketing strategy. At the same time, it becomes more complex. To stay competitive with social media in 2018, you need to look back on your performance in 2017 and perhaps change your approach to analyzing your marketing.
All platforms come with some kind of built-in analytics, but some are better than others. Facebook Insights, for instance, provides you with valuable metrics, including detailed demographics about your followers. Others, on the other hand, only offer the most basic information.
To receive in-depth data from all platforms, you may need to turn to external tools. A few possibilities include:
- TrackMaven. This tool allows you to see your social media impact across different platforms as well as web and email analytics. It offer customizable reports to manage data in a way that has meaning to you.
- Cyfe. The social media dashboard tool has a huge number of options for displaying data. Again, it combines analytics from multiple platforms to prevent silos.
- SimilarWeb. It is equally useful to track your competitors’ activity. With this tool, you can find out who your top competitors are, what pieces of their content are going viral, and what platforms are the most popular for audiences similar to your own.
- BrandsEye. With this tool, you can receive notifications of mentions of your brand across social media and in other types of media.
Data is close to useless without context. You need to know what signifies as success. By determining average engagement, you can decide what counts as good results. This will help guide your strategy in the future when you are deciding what to post. As measuring engagement is different for every social media platform, you will need to learn the basics for every platform where you have a presence.
You should also compare yourself to the rest of your industry. The first step toward this aim is to determine who your competitors are and where they are active.
You likely already know who some of your competitors are. You can find the others by seeing what turns up on a Google search when you look for the keywords your business ranks for. Consider only those who specialize in the same types of products and services as your business, especially those that operate in the same locations as you.
To create a shortlist of your five most important competitors, narrow your list down to just businesses that are active on social media. An account that is active will have recent, regular posts and responses to comments.
Gather data about these competitors to calculate how you compare. If you have fewer than average shares and likes, examine their social media activity closely to find out what you could be doing differently. For instance, see how many of their posts are promotional compared to how many are informational. You should also check what kinds of topics are performing best. Finally, check how your competitors align their social media marketing with their blog content.
An anomaly in your data is the clearest sign that you made an impact (positive or negative). Bear in mind that the reason for an anomaly is not always obvious. For instance, a spike in your number of followers, impressions, or reach could be due to something you posted, but it may be that someone influential shared your content, tagged you, or mentioned you.
If the spike is due to something you posted, create more content like the post. If it is due to a share, tag, or mention, start a conversation with the influencer. Commenting on social media can further increase engagement. You should also consider sending a private message to ask for a backlink on the influencer’s blog or to offer a guest post.
Track Engagement Throughout the Day
Engagement can vary depending on when you post. Each social media platform has a certain time of the day or day of the week when more users are active. However, it is more important for you to find out when your target audience is active. Turn to social media analytics to see if posting at any particular time helps you receive more attention than normal.
Take this one step further — you need to remember that other brands are also monitoring their followers’ activity. If you post when more users are active, you may face more competition for impressions. For this reason, you need to post at various different times and keep track of engagement.
Compare Clicks to Web Traffic
A major aim of most social media strategies to encourage clicks on links in posts that lead to the brand’s website. Clicks alone do tell you about engagement, but when you combine clicks with traffic, you gain even greater insight.
For example, if you are seeing a larger number of clicks than traffic, you can draw the assumption that something is wrong with your website. The most likely culprit is load speed.
Website analytics are also useful, as they provide details about traffic sources. You can use this to understand the role social media plays in your overall marketing strategy.
Google Analytics is the most popular tool for web analytics — and for good reason. Among its many features, it has a “Traffic Sources” section, where you can see which websites are sending traffic to your site. To take this further, create Advanced Segments to compare how traffic differs from various social platforms. Use these insights to decide where to focus your efforts in the future and which platforms may not be worthwhile.
Experiment with Republishing
Republishing posts can be a helpful practice for some brands, such as when you lack inspiration for a new post. If you have a particularly popular post, you may like to republish it to help it reach followers who missed it the first time around. It is worthwhile trying this tactic, but it is essential that you monitor its impact on your social media strategy.
For one thing, to optimize the results, you will need to experiment with different timeframes. If you republish too early, you may annoy followers who keep seeing the same post. If you republish too late, the content may have lost its relevance. By comparing engagement to the first time you posted, you can see if the technique is working for your brand and how best to implement it.
Examine Paid Conversions
Organic activity is just one aspect of social media; you also need to track conversions from ads.
First, see if your ads are attracting users in the first place. This involves monitoring click-through rates compared to impressions. Next, you need to examine how users react to the page the ad sends them to by monitoring metrics like bounce rate and average time on page. Finally, to measure the ROI of your campaign, use UTM parameters. These will enable you to track actions and goal completions.
Measuring the ROI for each social media platform is complex, but it is critical if you are to know if your marketing efforts are paying off. Provided you know your main goal for each platform, it is possible to accurately measure ROI for your entire social media strategy.
You need to get smart with analytics to ensure a successful social media marketing strategy in 2017. Stop relying on spreadsheets to compare data and wasting time focusing on metrics that don’t matter. It is more important than ever before to make decisions that will keep you competitive. It is also easier than ever to gather, organize, and compare metrics from all major platforms.