Social media feels like it happened overnight—it’s fast-paced, ever-changing and, in the beginning, didn’t provide a way to really quantify performance. Sadly, ROI was not an option. But over time, and with the introduction of other social networking sites, we’ve learned how to gather information and provide data that help us meet goals.
There are several different ways to approach social media analysis, but it boils to down to the “what” and “how” that’s measured. It’s first important to establish your goals and from there you can identify indicators of your efforts to reach:
- Specific data like audience size, CTR and ROI,
- User oriented data like range of exposure, engagement and interaction,
- Or less defined data like buzz, virality and influence.
To make analyzing social media even more confusing, most social media platforms report differently. Since marketers have recently just begun to question the results of their social media efforts, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. But there are important components that can be applied across all social avenues for monitoring and analyzing social media trends including:
- Impressions or reach; how many users viewed a particular post or saw an advertisement on a social site.
- Mentions prompt for interaction and provide overall better brand awareness.
- Sentiments like positive, neutral and negative feelings not only open the door for better customer service, but reveal how to improve brand identity.
- Influences can be difficult to identify, but an elementary way to monitor is tracking metrics like followers, likes and page views.
The secret to good social media analysis doesn’t always rely in outstanding resources (although they make it easier)—managing monitored data pays off far greater. Being consistent with recording data allows for trends to be identified and yield invaluable insights to social media performance. Having tools and resources are nice, but what does data tell us without a historical view?
Armed with the understanding that social media can impact your brand brings your business into the twenty first century. Improving data analysis and management to build an authentic timeline of your social media results puts you ahead of your competitors. So go forth and analyze.
Contributed by Brooke Murphy, Marketing Analyst
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