Social media analysis does not need to be overly complicated, but there are best practices everyone should follow. Most online business owners and bloggers recognize the need for social activity around their products, services and content. Search is still a massive source of traffic, but social media can result in near instantaneous traffic. This can lead to faster profits and better brand recognition. Social media is the online form of word-of-mouth marketing. The problem many have is that they seek Facebook “Likes” and tweets on Twitter without looking deeper into what is driving that activity.
Identify Key Demographics
Before a social media campaign begins, the ideal customer avatar should be developed. By looking at the demographics in a market, social media managers can better craft content, products and services that are likely to be shared and recommended on social networks.
Using analytics sites to spy on competitors’ traffic, it is possible to identify the demographic makeup of a market. Are they men or women? How old are they? Do they work, and did they go to college? Where do they live?
From there, it is possible to go to each social media site to determine if that particular demographic is active there or on other sites. Watching Facebook pages and groups, Google Plus Circles, looking for boards on Pinterests and watching keywords on Twitter are all ways to develop the ideal customer avatar.
Instead of just looking for activity, it is important to monitor the sentiment behind that activity. If a share occurs on Facebook, is it because someone is ridiculing the post, or because they are happy and want people to know it?
The same goes for Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus. Social media is as much about reputation management and engagement as it is about traffic and lead generation. The sentiment behind social activity can guide important decisions and help business grow or recover from a negative event.
Take Advantage Of Facebook Insights
There could be an entire book on analyzing Facebook activity. Facebook’s Page Insights lets administrators see the demographic makeup of their fans, the posts that have gotten the most activity, outside referrals, and the total reach beyond that page’s audience-identified by likes – for a set time period.
Twitter and Pinterest followers are important, but Facebook’s analytics provide such deep insights into content performance that they should play the central role in social media analysis until something better comes along.
Watch The Time
The amount of exposure a post gets is a combination of timing and the established audience as measured in likes, followers or Circles on Google Plus. Some sites are more active at a certain time of day than others.
It is crucial to ensure that the most important content is sent out at the right time to ensure its maximum exposure.
Facebook Insights provide this information for Facebook, but the other sites do not provide this information. Services like PowerPost will analyze Twitter followers to determine peak activity levels and help to schedule important posts for the time when they are most likely to be seen.
Compare ROI For Social Media To Other Marketing Channels
Finally, it is important to look at the return on investment for the time spent managing and analyzing social activity. Tracking referrals and conversions can show whether social media is helping a business to grow or just taking up time.
If it is not resulting in a positive ROI, a change in strategy may be needed, but it is impossible to know unless the social media data is examined.
In closing, it is important to take an impartial look at social media activity. Too many business decisions are driven by what people think should work instead of what is actually working. A careful analysis of what is happening, and simple action steps to fix any problems can make all the difference in whether social media grows a business or holds it back.