graphic-1142957_1280As a businessperson, it is vital to properly note the return on investment of your all your business activities. You want to know that the efforts you put in are providing a beneficial return. A good strategy is to set the proper objectives for measuring the business’s performance and tracking the progress. One of these objectives is analyzing social media efforts. Typically a business has a website and a number of social media accounts because they contribute to Search Engine Optimization for the business. To measure those Internet properties, many businesses typically use Google Analytics.

Google Analytics (GA) is great for understanding how your website is performing and attracting customers. Although it does report some social media interactions, there are limitations as it does not provide information about the nitty-gritty actions of fans/followers for each social network. For example, if you post a blog and then share it on Facebook, engagement for that post will show up in GA, but if you post directly to Facebook from another website, or just ask a question of your followers, GA does not record the number of impressions, reach, or engagement. That is because those interactions do not lead back to your website where the Google script can record the hit. Therefore, analytics for social media need to be analyzed separately.

Before you get started analyzing your social media metrics, it pays to plan your strategy. Determine which business goals will benefit from the data gathered. Common goals include increasing revenue, reducing customer service costs, gaining feedback on products and services, and improving public opinion of a particular product. The next step is to determine which Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) should be used to objectively evaluate the data. For social media, the big 3 are Impressions, Reach, and Engagement. You can also measure Page Views, Page Likes on Facebook, or, for Twitter, Profile Visits, Impressions, and Followers. Twitter also provides a month to date summary.

mobile-phone-1704781_1920Most Social Media platforms have their own analytics tools but they are limited to their own platform. If you’re utilizing multiple platforms, there are many paid tools that can consolidate social media analytics and report on all of your accounts. The free option is to utilize each platform’s tool, but it makes reporting cumbersome because you have to login to each account. If you have accounts with the top 5 social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, gathering information from each of these sites takes time especially when each platform has its own strategies for engaging audiences. Even so, there are a few social media analytics tools available to try such as Simply Measured but they are limited in scope as compared to the paid options.

As we said earlier, the way social media analytics differs from GA is that it reports how traffic got to your website from direct, referral, organic, or paid searches. The hit goes back to your website when a user engages with the social media post because of the URL shared to the platform from your website. So its important to share content from your website whenever possible. What GA does not record are the Likes and Comments, which are very telling regarding your audience’s interests. This is why it is important to track these metrics separately. On Facebook for example, you can find the page analytics through the Insights page. The overview tab will report Actions on Page, Page Views, Page Likes, Reach, Post Engagement, and Videos.

A few metrics that are not obvious to non-marketers are Reach, Frequency, and Engagement Rate. Reach is the number of people who are exposed to your marketing message. Frequency of ads is also a very important metric because it documents the number of times you touch each person with your message. The more times they see it, the more likely they are to engage with the message. The more frequent the contact points, the easier it is to build a relationship with those customers. Engagement Rate is the amount of interactions that a piece of content has received from a given audience. These three metrics are mainly used when analyzing social media.

This is why it is important to measure website and social media analytics separately. Although both are equally necessary, neither one tells the whole story and when gauging a proper return on investment, the whole story reveals the true difference between success and failure. For more information, we recommend checking out these additional resources to learn more about social media analytics:

Social Media Examiner

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