Social media analytics: Definition, types, and importance

Danny Rodriguez

7 min read Last Updated Dec 6, 2022

Happy business person checking out their social media analytics on their laptop.

When it comes to social media, analytics is everything. Without understanding the numbers behind your social media efforts, you’ll have no way to determine whether or not your campaigns are successful. Thankfully, social media analytics is becoming easier and more accessible. In this blog, we’ll show you why social media analytics is important, talk about ways to get started, and how best to use social media data to gain valuable insights for your marketing efforts.

Understanding social media analytics

Social media analytics is the process of analyzing data from social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram in order to better understand your followers and how they interact with your brand. The data includes everything from the number of likes and comments on your posts to the demographics of your followers. By understanding your audience, you can create campaigns that resonate with them, leading to more engagement, more sales, and ultimately, a healthier bottom line.

3 types of social media analytics

There are three main types of social media analytics: social listening analytics, sentiment analysis, and influencer analysis.

  1. Social listening analytics is the process of tracking and monitoring what is being said about a brand or product on social media.
  2. Sentiment analysis goes a step further. It determines whether the sentiment around a brand or product is positive, negative, or neutral.
  3. Influencer analysis looks at which individuals have the most influence over others when it comes to a particular topic or brand.

Each of these types of social media analytics is important in its own way. By understanding what people are saying about your brand online, you can make necessary adjustments to improve your customer experience. And by identifying key influencers, you can start building relationships that could pay off down the line.

Why do you need social media analytics?

Without analytics supporting your marketing decisions, you are basically operating in the dark. This information can help you allocate your marketing resources for more effective results. Without this data, you are simply guessing and hoping – which isn’t a sound business strategy. Here are several more reasons why you need social media analytics.

  1. Help identify your audience – By analyzing data from social media platforms, you can get a better idea of who your audience is, what they are interested in, and how to best reach them.
  2. Improve your content – By understanding which types of content are most popular with your followers, you can create more of what they want to read, see, and share. This will help you attract more followers and it may also lead to more leads and conversions.
  3. Better understand the competition – It can also help you track your competitor’s activities and performance on social media. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and learn from your competition.
  4. Measure your ROI – Social media analytics can help measure the return on investment (ROI) of your social media campaigns. This will let you see how effective they are and whether it was worth the investment.
  5. Track progress – By tracking the progress of your social media campaigns over time, you can see which strategies are working and which ones need improvement. This information is vital for making strategic decisions about your social media efforts moving forward.

How to get started with social media analytics

Logos of popular social media companies incorporated into a social media analytics line graph example.

If you’re ready to start using social media analytics to improve your social media strategy, there are a few things you need to do.

  • Set your goals – Before you start tracking your social media data, you’ll need to decide what your goals are. For example, are you interested in increasing brand awareness, or are you using your social channels to generate leads and drive sales? Understanding what you’re trying to achieve will help you to identify the metrics that are most important for tracking your success.
  • Choose an analytics platform – Once you’ve identified your goals, you’ll need to choose the right platform and start collecting data. Most social media platforms provide analytics features that make it easy to understand how your content is performing. However, some third-party software can offer more in-depth insights and can better track performance. This is especially important if you are using more than one social media channel or if you’re a multi-location business. Do some research and pick the social media analytics platform that makes sense for you.
  • Track relevant metrics – After selecting a platform, it’s time to start collecting data. Social media analytics tools can track a variety of metrics including engagement, follower growth, website traffic, and conversions. To effectively track these metrics, make sure you properly tag them and have a clear understanding of how they work.
  • Create a data culture – Employees must be data-driven in their thinking, from big projects to small tasks. This mindset won’t just set the tone for success – it’ll also create an understanding of how vital analytics are to a company’s culture.

How to use social media analytics

If setting goals and collecting data is phase one and two, then analyzing and interpreting the data would be phase three. Reporting on your social media data can help you understand how followers are interacting with your brand on social networks. To start reaping the benefits of social media analytics, consider following these simple tips:

Collect the right data

There are a lot of different social media metrics you can track. It’s important to focus on the ones that’ll help you achieve your goals. If you’re trying to increase brand awareness, for example, you’ll want to track metrics like reach and impressions. If you’re trying to drive traffic to your website, you’ll want to focus on the click-through rates for your content or calls to action.

Monitor metrics regularly

In order to use social media analytics effectively, you need to check your progress on a regular basis. This means looking at your metrics at least once a week, if not more. Doing so will let you spot any changes or trends in your follower’s behavior so that you can adjust accordingly.

Visualize the data

A social media report is more likely to be read and understood if it contains data visualizations like charts and graphs. This’ll help illustrate patterns in your social media data, making it easier for others to understand what it all means.

Make recommendations

Once you’ve collected and analyzed your social media data, it’s time to make recommendations based on your findings. For example, if you notice that a certain type of content performs well on social media, you could recommend creating more of that content in the future. Or, if you see that a particular campaign didn’t perform as well as expected, you could suggest changes that could be made next time around.

To help you organize and present your data findings, download our free social media reporting template.

Frequently asked questions

What is social media analytics?

Social media analytics is the process of examining data from social media platforms to understand how people are engaging with that content. Social media analytics can be used to improve social media marketing campaigns, understand customer sentiment, and track brand mentions.

How do you track social media analytics?

There are a number of social media analytics tools available to help you track and measure your social media metrics. A commonly used tool is social media monitoring software. This allows users to track social conversations in real time and engage with their followers in a more efficient way.

Can Google Analytics track social media?

Yes, Google Analytics integrates with a variety of social networks including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. It has the capability to track acquisition, behavior, and conversion data. However, it does not offer the same level of detail or in-depth analysis that you can get from specialized social media analytics tools.

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Originally published Nov 21, 2022 6:34 AM, updated Dec 06, 2022