Measuring the success of your posts is a critical component of social media marketing. It's important to check your analytics regularly to spot trends and see what's working.
"Without this, you may be catching red flags too little too late or missing massive opportunities to better your audience's experience on your social," said Marissa Heckman, organic social project manager at Power Digital Marketing. "Every data point is an opportunity to better your social strategy."
When you're looking at different metrics, it can be tough to understand which measurement is most important. To determine what analytic is most important to your business, you need to define your social media objectives, according to Ryan Sweeney, director of analytics at Ignite Social Media. For example, if you're trying to raise brand awareness, impression is the most important. If you want to build a community, engagement is the measurement to look at. If your goal is to drive users to your website, you should pay attention to traffic and conversions.
Regardless of your social media strategy, the vast amount of data available can be overwhelming. Here is a breakdown of terms for social media analytics. [Interested in social media marketing solutions? Check out our best picks.]
Types of social media measurements
Actions on page: The number of clicks on your business's contact information and call-to-action button.
Engagement: Total number of times someone has interacted or engaged with a post. Engagement is one of the most important metrics across social media platforms because it shows if people are interacting with your posts.
Engagement rate: The number of engagements divided by the number of impressions.
Followers: The number of people who see your posts on their timelines.
Impressions: The number of users who saw the post.
Page likes: The number of people who like your page. People who have liked your Facebook page see your posts on their timelines.
Page previews: The number of times people hovered over your page's name or profile picture to preview your content on Facebook.
Page views: The number of times your profile page has been viewed.
Post clicks: Any clicks on the entire post.
Post reach: The number of people who had any posts from your page on their screens, broken down by total, organic and promotions. This is one of the most important analytics.
Facebook Insights is free to all business pages. It's designed to help you understand your audience and how they interact with your posts. The overview tab offers a page summary of the last day, seven days or 28 days. It offers metrics for both organic and paid content.
Insights shows a snapshot of your profile analytics, including page views, page likes, reach, post engagements and information on your recent posts.
Heckman believes engagement is one of the most important metrics on Facebook because of its newsfeed algorithm. "If you are not receiving engagement, your content will barely ever appear to your audience," she said. "If that does happen, consider a creative refresh, messaging refresh and boosted budget."
You can find engagement both on your overview tab and posts tab. The posts tab shows analytics on each of your posts, including the date it was published, its reach and engagement.
The other tabs provide more information for promotions, followers, likes, reach, page views, page previews, actions on page, events, videos, people and messages. For more information about Facebook for business, check out our guide for small businesses.
Twitter Analytics is a free program available to every Twitter account that analyzes your tweets and followers. According to Twitter, it's designed to help you understand how the content you share can grow your business.
The analytics homepage shows high-level statistics such as number of tweets, tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions and followers. This page also highlights your top-performing tweets and potential influencers.
This overview is helpful because you can quickly identify strong tweets and tweet impressions, which Heckman says is the most important measurement on Twitter.
"Tweet impressions allow you to see your reach on Twitter," said Heckman. "If your reach is low, consider your own Twitter outreach strategies to increase your presence and impressions."
The next page is your tweet activity dashboard, which showcases metrics for each individual tweet, including retweets, likes and replies.
The audience dashboard isn't something you need to check regularly, but it's a useful tool if you want more insight on your followers. It can tell you their genders, income categories, marital status, home ownership interests, occupations, consumer buying styles, languages and wireless carriers. For more information on using Twitter for business, check out our guide.
Other social networks
Facebook and Twitter are hardly the be-all and end-all of social media opportunities for marketing your business. Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube all have their own benefits and quirks.
Snapchat recently started supplying data to content creators under Insights. You can now see total story views by week, month and year; time spent viewing stories in minutes; daily unique story viewers; and some audience demographics and interests.
Business profiles on Instagram have access to Instagram Insights. There you can view impressions, reach and profile visits. You can also see what times of the day your followers engage with your profile, which can help you determine times you should post new content.
You also need a business-specific account for Pinterest Analytics. This tells you what pins people like and what they save from your website, and from there you can learn what your customers really want.
A company's LinkedIn page administrator can see engagement with individual posts, follower demographics, comments, shares and number of new followers. But it only shows you that data for the last seven days.
You can monitor the performance of your YouTube videos, measuring where the traffic is coming from, how long people watch, how many people watch and some demographics. The filters possible for this data include content, device type, geography, date or timeframe, all video, subscriber status, live vs. on-demand playback, translation use, and traffic by video.
When you start accounts on so many different platforms, it can be even trickier to measure success. That's when a social media management platform such as Buffer can come in very handy. In a program like that, you can link up several separate platforms in one place rather than trying to stay on top of all of them by yourself.
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