Important Social Media Insights Your Business Should Be Looking At
By Paul Herrera
Nowadays, any business not wanting to be left in the stone age is attempting to reach and engage with their audiences through channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram. Consumers are more connected than ever, with the global population of social media users nearing 3.2 billion, and 77% of U.S. small businesses using social media to facilitate key business functions.
However, your business should avoid merely putting out content on these channels and remaining oblivious to the data that comes from analyzing audience reach and engagement. These metrics can be invaluable to a company’s social media strategy, and leveraging them can result in greater optimization and effectiveness of campaigns. So, which are the most important metrics to look at, and how can you utilize this data in the most impactful way?
Know What’s Being Said About Your Brand, And Who’s Saying It
Tracking your social media mentions, whether they’re direct or indirect, can help your company develop communication and marketing strategies that strengthen the brand’s image and mitigate any negative perceptions. A business with a strong social media presence and large following will almost inevitably receive a mix of positive and negative reactions to what they put out in terms of products and content. However, keeping up-to-date with what people are saying about your brand online can help in building a positive perception of the brand, both by optimizing the influence of positive mentions and dealing quickly with negative comments.
Positive social media commentary can be utilized to bolster a trustworthy and authentic brand image. Highlighting these comments and mentions in your own channel, and sharing and quoting them, will further legitimize your brand in the eyes of your audience. And those that are engaging in the conversations will be encouraged to continue after receiving responses from the company itself. Tracking these types of mentions is especially useful after a product launch, where companies can see if promotional efforts are paying off.
For many businesses, even more important to track are negative social media mentions that arise in response to a campaign, product or the publication of specific content. This commentary can negatively impact your brand image and can have definite consequences if not addressed in an appropriate and timely manner, particularly for issues that gain traction and visibility. For that reason, many companies develop plans or strategies for managing their brand reputation in times of crises or scandals. The authors of the comments should be addressed quickly, and, in more volatile cases, businesses should consider enacting its protocols for crises to ensure a swift, unified and effective response that protects the brand.
To learn from negative feedback, it’s also helpful to conduct research into the issues that have arisen so your company can use that information to inform its product development, campaign or content strategy and improve upon its efforts in the future. Just look at the United Airlines and Pepsi scandals of 2017 and the damage the social media reaction did to their perception – mitigating negative backlash using these methods is vital for maintaining brand image. A strong presence on Twitter, a hotbed for consumer feedback and brutally honest customer opinions, is absolutely crucial for maintaining a positive brand image. This means utilizing the platform to respond to customer grievances, or even using humor to make light of situations when appropriate.
There is also a lot to gain by looking at what people are saying about your competitors. How do conversations about your competition compare to yours? How does your share of the industry conversation compare to the share of your main competitors? Keeping an eye on this metric can help you learn from other companies’ successes and mistakes and can help you understand how much conversation is being galvanized by your own output and content compared to that of others.
In addition to looking at what is being said, your company should take a detailed look at those who are saying it, as well. Keeping an eye on who is engaging in conversations about your brand and how the conversations contribute to the perception of your brand is crucial to building and maintaining a strong social media strategy. Insights about your audience should inform the content you publish and your campaigns – it should also help you to identify influencers who have greater reach and potential impact on your audience than other users.
Understand The Engagement And Impact Of Your Owned Content
It’s all well and good to make sure your brand is pushing out a variety of content through various channels, but if much of this content isn’t delivering the impact you want it to, a change of strategy could be necessary. Your business needs to know what’s falling on deaf ears and what’s generating audience engagement, raising awareness, and creating brand loyalty.
Making sure your business understands what’s driving engagement is essential to creating content that resonates the most with your audience. Many companies spend a lot of resources on official announcements, which don’t tend to perform as well as posts that include media, such as videos, photos, or GIFs. Analyzing shares, retweets, likes, mentions, favorites and comments allows you to identify the topics and types of posts that are most appealing to your audience, and this information can be used to inform your social media content strategy, moving forward.
The success of a creative social media campaign knows no bounds, as seen in Deadpool’s viral 2016 campaign. It shattered records and outperformed its superhero movie predecessors by targeting its audience with funny Tweets, YouTube videos and even a fake Tinder profile. A carefully crafted strategy of delivering relevant content not only engages audiences, but ultimately delivers on ROI.
Track Your Brand’s Followers: Who Are They, And How Do Their Numbers Fluctuate After An Initiative?
This one may seem like the most obvious, but it’s important to understand that there are many benefits to understanding your Follower audience. Insights on the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your audience can be used to target the right users with the most relevant content and advertising. And investment in online marketing is on the rise. In a recent survey, 61% of global advertising professionals expected an increase in social ad spending for Facebook. This demographic and psychographic data can help you determine where to focus your efforts and grow different branches of your customer base.
Understanding the psychographic and demographic qualities of your audience can also help you manage your own organic content by tailoring it so that it is relevant to those that are consuming it. This will drive engagement and strengthen the connection that users feel to your brand.
Tracking the Follower growth rate can also be of strategic use and is very straightforward to measure. Calculating the growth in Followers from the first to the final day of a branding campaign or event will provide you insight into how each type of event or campaign strategy impacts Follower numbers.
All in all, there’s certainly a lot to be gained from keeping track of particular social media metrics. These data points should inform strategy that enhances public perception of the brand, drives engagement and, ultimately, contributes to sales and conversions. Focusing on numerous different metrics provides nuanced insight into how your business can best utilize one of the most important marketing tools of today – social media. Whether it be discovering missed opportunities, doubling down on certain channels, or shutting down efforts that were going nowhere: this data is invaluable and should be put to use.