Social Media Analytics is the method of collecting information (data) from the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs etc. and then analysing that information to make better business decisions. Traditionally market surveys were used to be carried out intensively to draw out information from the market, but in the age of internet and virtual scenario, analytics plays an extremely critical role in taking important business decisions. For an e.g., your company launched a product a year back, but suddenly its sales have started dipping from a month. Now you want to know why…The information from the social media sites will give you the answer. Further, you come to know the main reason about sales dipping that your competitor launched a similar kind of product…so further you would like to know its features and popularity of that product among your customers. At this point of time, data gathered from the social media analytics will come in picture to draw out the above inferences because nowadays, every like, every post, every tweet contains useful information. For businesses, presence on FB, Twitter, and LinkedIn etc. is not limited to show existence of their business but to gather various kinds of data which can help in various functions.
Businesses can use the information for various purposes and to achieve various goals. But for that, firstly, you need to define your business goals. Goals can be like for an example to find out whether your new product will increase your overall sales? In achieving that goal, data from the social media can help. They can be like feedback on a particular existing product or services or improving opinions among prospects for a particular product or service, customer engagement, judging the competitions for self-evaluation, increase in sales, getting more and more demo requirements etc.
- Customer engagement can be evaluated from the number of Twitter followers or the tweets in which your company/product/services are mentioned.
- Another example is a marketing executive will track their existing customers or the prospects about which keywords they are using and then use those keywords in all the posts or tweets on social media to gain reach and attention from the targeted audience. She will get to know through which campaign/ad/link customer has reached to the website, based on that she can leverage her efforts in that direction to increase the traffic to website or she can even predict the next move of particular prospect will be to ask for the quote/demo or not.
- Further, if the company is planning to launch an additional feature in its existing product, it can use the data of the customer preferences and based on that they can decide addition of which feature will bring more sales and popularity.
- We can even take simple example such as we can know the location of majority of our prospects and accordingly channelize the marketing efforts.
Numerous examples can be cited to project how analytics can be used to make finest of the business decisions. But we cannot measure each and every information, it may not be relevant for our business or it may even be out of reach for us to utilise them. So, initially let us see the primary areas we need to focus on various channels:
If you are not using any paid advertisements and tools, your audience will grow gradually. It requires systematically planned assessment of how your business is growing, time to time comparison with competitor’s audience size and also critically evaluate why a particular audience is following you or why he/she has unfollowed you.
Well, you would not like to have the audience just for the sake of having them on the list. Your ultimate goal is get them converted into our customers. For that, it is important that you have the right audience of all your social media posting. Even, among your audience, you would like to categorise their profiles, for an e.g. whether your particular follower is an entrepreneur or a researcher. Based on the categories, you can evaluate the data and then form a marketing strategies targeting different audience segments.
There are various types of audiences:
- One type is who keeps track of all your posts but do not get engaged or interact. Most of the followers fall in this type.
- Second type is who themselves are very popular. So if this type of audience likes or comment on any of your post, they will influence their circle and eventually you will gain reach into their circle.
- Third type is who are highly interactive with you on most of your posts and are free to share their thoughts too.
Whatever we post on our social media sites is basically to get more traffic to our business websites. From time to time we have to analyse the traffic source of website and to get knowhow which source is generating more traffic and how we can get more from other sources.
Content placed can be of various types, text based, audio, video, infographics, pictures etc. you need to analyse which content is liked by the visitor or the follower. Accordingly, we need to create our content.
Being in the business, we need to be abreast with the information of what our competitors are doing. So periodic analysis of competitor’s account is also necessary. What are they posting? Who are there in their audience? Who they are trying to target and why? Are they planning to introduce anything new? Get the maximum cues from the posts or the followers.
It is very important to understand your customer sentiments as they are the best feedback for your products or services. You need to know about judge about positive and negative sentiments and why they are there.
After understanding these areas of analysis, let us see the different free analytics tools:
- Google Analytics
- Collecto and many more
Most used social media analytics dashboards from the site itself:
- Facebook Insights
- Twitter Analytics
- Pinterest Analytics
- LinkedIn Analytics for individuals and for business
- Google+ Insights and many others…
In addition to above tools there are various paid tools also available. But before using these tools, it is very important to understand why you want to use this tools, how will u use the inferences obtained from these tools. You need to be clear with your business goals, identify the problems in achieving these goals and then you can derive the solutions from the analytics to those problems. It is not that only huge enterprise only has the problems even the small and medium sized business can achieve a lot from analytics. In fact, social media is used most by the start-ups so they are ones who leveraging the recent technological as well as analytical tools.