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Social Media Analytics: Where to Start

The hype surrounding social media has certainly cooled off within the past couple of years.

That is, what was once seen as marketing’s uncharted territory has now become incredibly commonplace. Considering the fact that Facebook achieved one billion daily active users in 2016, “social media” has gone from the next big buzzword to part of our daily lives.

For some businesses, however, the reputation of social media is less than stellar.

With its association with the sphere of celebrity gossip to having a questionable ROI for some companies, there’s a somewhat understandable belief that social media may not be the best investment of a business’ time when it comes to making money.

While it’s true that obsessing over followers and trying to retweet as many influencers as possible may not be the ideal use of your time, consider some shocking social media statistics such as…

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  • Social media sites earned over $8 billion from advertising in 2015
  • Nearly 40% of businesses are planning to continue ramping up their social spending
  • 83% of Fortune 500 companies have a Twitter presence

Instead of approaching social media as a popularity contest, the benefits of social media can be best unlocked by looking at the social network through the lens of an analyst. By knowing exactly what to look for in terms of data and behavior, you can use social media to grow your bottom line.

Whether your social presence has grown stagnant or you’re considering social media training as a means of building a more competitive company, keep the following social strategies in mind.

Dig Into the Data

You’ve probably heard time and time against the importance of split testing in regard to your marketing efforts.

Likewise, data from platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can help you figure out what’s performing best amongst your user base and what sort of content they want to see in the future. How is this possible?

By exporting data from Facebook and Twitter, you’re able to organize the elements of your social sharing and ask questions such as…

  • What types of content gets the most engagement and shares (infographics, case studies, images, guides, how-to’s and so on)?
  • What sort of headlines do people respond best to (in terms of tone, urgency or scarcity, for example)?
  • What is the ideal length or character count for a headline?
  • What times of day is content getting the most engagement?
  • Am I posting too much content? Too little?

The answers to such questions can help use your social profiles in more meaningful way in terms of content and sharing, giving followers exactly what they want.

Compare the Competition

Many marketers use social media as a means of keeping an eye on the competition; however, how can you take spying on the neighbors and turn it in something meaningful for your business?

Start by segmenting your competitors into different categories and follow their content accordingly. When we talk about “competitors,” we’re referring to companies delivering similar products and content to our own users. Whether looking at growth or engagement via Facebook insights or comparing mentions and shares on Twitter, keep the numbers in mind.

Social media represents a competition for attention, so it’s crucial to know whose content and reputation reigns supreme in the social sphere. Whether you rely on free or paid tools, crunching the numbers can help you hone your content strategy and ultimately understand the strategy of your competitors.

In short, social media isn’t just about followers: it’s a deep sea of data, metrics and potential hypotheses. By using the social network as a research tool, you can better understand what users want and how to make yourself stand out versus the competition.

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