“Is there going to be math involved? Because I went into PR so I wouldn’t have to do math.”
Does this sound like you? Don’t worry. We won’t judge. Many communicators shy away from delving into analytics because it can seem overwhelming to look at metrics from the outside in. But remember—most new skills seem scarier than they are, and the best way to get through something new is simply to start.
When it comes to making sense of the beast that is Google Analytics, we've got you covered at our Digital Boot Camp: Using Google Tools for Communicators, going down July 17 at The Yale Club in New York City. For those looking to get their feet wet earlier, looking at the analytics native to big social platforms is a fantastic place to start.
Native metrics offered by each social platform can give you a better idea of how well each piece of content you put out into the world is performing. And it’s all free. Here’s how to make the most of those native analytics offerings:
Set your goalposts. Smart communicators recognize that in order to develop a measurement strategy that truly works, you first need to decide what your goals are. You can then set up ways to measure and track against key performance indicators (KPIs) to show how well your content is working.
Find out where your followers work, live and even eat. Knowing where your followers are located can help you geo-target your campaigns. For example, if you have a client in the restaurant industry, you might offer a special or a coupon in a targeted Facebook ad. Knowing where your followers are will help you maximize your ad spend for that offer to people within a reasonable driving distance of that restaurant’s location. You can drill down further and target people based on what sort of food they eat at restaurants, versus what they tend to order for delivery.
Leverage Audience Insights. Facebook offers Audience Insights to illustrate trends on the users that follow your business page. You can even see how your trends compare with those of similar pages. This is useful in discerning where your competitors are succeeding and where they fall short. Your brand can then pick up the slack and bring followers over to your page.
Research and refocus your Twitter following. Similarly, Twitter offers native analytics around your followers’ occupations, gender, marital status and buying style. Use this information to see if your content is hitting your target audience. If you find that your existing Twitter followers are not in your target audience, you can use insights from your native analytics to run a paid campaign and gain more followers in that demographic. For example, if you are a wedding planner, and most of your followers are single, you can refocus the information you are offering on Twitter to better reach couples that are engaged.
Pinpoint when you’re killing it—and where you’re missing the mark. All platforms will show you which days you have gained or lost followers. Use that information to look back at what you posted or tweeted on those days to see what did or did not resonate with your community. Paying close attention to this will help you know what to do more of, and where you might need to pivot.
Repurpose the wins. You may see a tweet that did particularly well. Use that insight to tweet out similar information, presented in a new way. You might also want to pull the subject matter from that high-performing tweet and write a blog post on the topic, since you already know that it is something your followers are interested in.
Timing is everything. Knowing exactly when to post is an integral part of social messaging. If you post when your fans are online and at their highest level of alertness, your posts will drive more engagement, traffic and sales.
Optimize for format. On networks like Facebook and Twitter you will be able to see whether images, links or videos do better. On Instagram you can check what type of images perform best. The more you can tailor your content, the better.
Specialization works best. When you try to speak broadly to everyone, you tend to reach no one. Each piece of content you put out should make the targeted user feel like that blog, photo or post has been written specifically for them. Your customers want to spend their money on a company that is authentic and trustworthy, and personalized content gives them that impression. The more data you can collect, the better your brand will be able to customize content.
Build, test and iterate. Social measurement strategies should never be set in stone. They are constantly evolving—and you will learn as you go what tactics are working and what isn’t. If you regularly study your native social analytics, you can optimize your strategy and spend less time on posts that do not resonate.
Follow Lucy: @LUCYrk78
This story first appeared on our sister site, The Social Shake-Up.