Social media is a fantastic way to build organic connections with your audience, and one of the best ways you can support that goal is to keep an eye on your analytics. Analytics are a powerful tool, but if you’re new to them, they can be daunting.
I know some people mostly just pay attention to likes and follows, but analytics are so much more than those numbers.
Today, I want to talk about the reasons why your analytics matter, and why you should make taking a look under the hood a priority.
Good Engagement Is Social Proof of Excellence
Engagement speaks to the quality and value of your service, because if other people can see your audience interacting with you, they’ll be more likely to trust you with their business as well.
It’s just like walking by a store that’s full of people. It makes you wonder what’s so good in there. You’re more likely to stop if it seems like other people are also stopping. But the flip side, of course, is that posts with no engagement are like stores that should have people in them, but don’t.
Having good engagement (lots of likes, shares, and replies) means that your audience is engaging with and interested in your product or service, so keep an eye on your engagement rate.
Good Numbers Are like Word-of-Mouth Marketing
The more people are talking about you, the more people know about you. Think about the social media “share” button: it’s literally just word of mouth marketing. Think about when you need recommendations. A recommendation from your friend or co-worker means more to you than a good Google review, because someone you trust is lending their name to a brand’s reputation.
So if someone on social media shares some of your content, it’s the same thing. It puts your brand into your audience’s network, with the added benefit of some built-in trust.
Take a look at your analytics and drill deep into the content that people are liking and sharing, because (assuming it’s positive engagement) that directly correlates to word of mouth marketing, which is a powerful tool.
Stay Top of Mind and Build Loyalty
If you’re in someone’s network, you are now part of their day. From a brand perspective, that’s incredibly valuable real-estate, which means that follower counts, reach, engagement, and profile views aren’t just vanity metrics. It really puts your brand in your target demographic’s everyday life.
Even if your product is a consumable item that isn’t commonly re-purchased, just having your brand in their social network means that your customer trusts you enough to allow you into their world.
Quickly Get Feedback and Assess Interest
Let’s say you’re trying to decide on a new product or feature, but you want to test it out first before you sink a lot of money into developing it. Your social media followers are a great testing ground, because you can get an instant feedback response.
If you have a sale, for example, you can post about it on your feed and people will immediately interact. There’s no need to hire an agency to get a focus group together, because you can quickly throw it out into the world and get feedback from your network. Then check your analytics to get some hard data, and adjust your plans accordingly.
My Favorite Metrics to Track
So hopefully you’re convinced as to the value of your metrics to your bottom line, but I’m not saying you need to obsessively look at every metric your social tools keep track of. Here are a few of the most important metrics to watch:
Someone visiting your profile is actually kind of a big deal. It typically means these users are interested in following you, or at least in learning more about what you do. They were willing to go through an additional click to get that information, so it’s a really awesome metric to keep an eye on.
Caveat: if people are clicking through to your profile but not taking the next step, check that your profile is clear and to the point, and that you’re attracting the right audience for your product or service.
I always tell people that engagement counts for way more than follower count. A good engagement rate means that your content is resonating with people, and they want to talk about it! And authentic engagement cannot be bought, which makes it sort of priceless. As your audience grows, your engagement may drop as your total audience members increases. That’s normal, but if you see a drastic reduction, you may want to re-assess.
Your goal is always to get your content in front of new people, and your reach metric tells you how successful you are at that. Reach gives you the total number of people who have seen your social media posts, which is why I think reach counts much more than actual follower count. If you have a decent reach on your posts, then your total audience is way bigger than your follower count.
A Tutorial on How to Set Up a Custom Report
If you're looking for an easy way to track all of these metrics, consider Traject Social. Especially if you're a social media manager or need to run reports for clients, this tool is amazing at keeping it all together.
Over to you! Which social media metrics do you track?
Andréa Jones is a social media strategist who works with lifestyle brands to build their online presence through targeted social media and content marketing solutions. She's also the founder of SavvySocialSchool.com – a membership community with everything you need to achieve visibility, growth, and engagement on social media.