Once you've got your social media program up and running and you're posting content on a regular basis, you may think you've got all of the pieces of the social media puzzle in place. Close, but not quite. The last key piece of your social media program is analytics—data you can use to improve what content you post on which channel and when. Each social media platform provides a different set of analytics, and third party social media management programs often provide their own analytics as well. Here are a few basic metrics that you can use to gauge your effectiveness on every social channel.
If you’re making it easy for people to follow you on social and posting great content, you should see a continual increase in followers on each of your social accounts over time. If you see a decrease in followers, you may want to rethink your content strategy, as people don’t generally unfollow an account unless they’re annoyed or offended by its content.
While likes go by different names on different social networks, they all mean the same thing: A follower enjoyed the piece of content you posted. For posts that have an especially high number of likes, make sure to look at when the post went live (day of the week and time of day) and what the content was so you can try to post other content that will be similarly engaging.
Comments can be an indicator of both positive and negative engagement: Usually people only take the time to comment on something they’re really excited about or really upset about. Some followers may also pose questions to you in comments. This makes it important not only to monitor the number of comments you receive, but also what kind of comments they are and what type of posts generate the most comments.
Shares are an even better indicator of engagement than likes or comments because they require a user to take an additional action. Shares impact the number of overall impressions a post receives, so the more shares you get, the greater your reach will be.
If you’re posting links on your social channels, most platforms will provide a count of how many people clicked on them. If you use a URL shortener such as bit.ly to shorten your links, they’ll also provide analytics for you. Lastly, if you’re linking back to your blog or website, you’ll be able to see which visits came from your social media channels using Google Analytics or other website analytics programs you have in place.
Impressions are equivalent to the number of eyes that land on your posts. The more your followers share your content, the more impressions you’ll receive. You can also boost your impressions by experimenting with posting times to see when on average you get the most views.
The Bottom Line
There’s a lot of valuable data available about your social media channels, but you have to actually do something with that data to make it count. By looking at a few key metrics, you can continue to optimize your efforts on social media nd make sure that the effort you're investing in social pays off for your business.