Using Social Media Analytics to Grow Your Brand

Who runs the world? If you’ve listened to Beyonce’s album 4, you might say “girls.” But if you ask any social media marketing professional, they might say data.

The ability to track and report data points allows social media to be an extraordinarily effective marketing medium. Without data driven goals, brands could find themselves focusing on the wrong priorities and can find it hard, if not impossible, to achieve their goals. While tracking your customers’ likes, shares, retweets, favorites, etc. can provide some interesting and quick insights, you’ll also want to track metrics that provide a more detailed understanding of the impact of your social media efforts.

An example of a brand’s primary goal for social media campaigns range from boosting brand awareness, increasing customer engagement, to lead generation and sales. Tracking social shares and follower counts can tell part of that story, but by monitoring the following metrics, your brand will gain more valuable insights.

Referral Traffic From Social 

Inbound traffic to your website is both essential to ranking factors for Google and a good measure of your content’s overall popularity. But rather than merely measuring any changes to your search engine page rankings, it’s also a good idea to actively track changes in your link velocity in relation to your social media campaigns.

This data can provide businesses with a sense of which social networks and social posts are driving people to your website. From this analysis, businesses can evaluate which social networks to focus on and which posts drove the sale.

Just as you notice the volume of inbound links to your website increase after running a contest, producing a specific piece of content that resonates well with your audience or implementing some other social media marketing strategy may drive spikes in traffic. If you can identify these surges and tie them to your social activities, you’ll gain insight into what social media campaigns have made the biggest (or smallest) difference. With this type of data, you can tailor your strategy or campaign to be effective and achieve your desired results.

Brand Search Volume

2009 study from GroupM found that customers that are exposed to a brand on social media are 180% more likely to search for that brand on search engines. This statistic demonstrates the importance of monitoring your brand’s search volume.

By using tools like Google Insights or Google Trends to measure brand search volume, your brand can compare changes in search volume for your brand against changes to your competitors’ volume. This comparison can provide insights into your ability to engage customers on social media relative to your competition.

Brand Sentiment 

Contrary to popular belief, not all publicity is good publicity. This is even more important when it comes to social media as negative consumer sentiment can destroy your brand in a short amount of time. Identifying these conversations surrounding your brand online can be just as important as having a plan for how you’ll respond if you find your brand’s image in jeopardy.

Tools such as Social Mention, BrandWatch and Meltwater can help you measure the sentiment of conversation surrounding your brand online. These tools use algorithms to recognize certain words as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’, letting you know if your brand is being adored or floored. If someone using the word ‘awful’, ‘disappointing’ etc. then the sentiment analysis will assign the post as ‘negative’.

With a strategy that focuses on improving sentiment, you should invest time in testing, analyzing and refining your message to understand what really drives lasting change.

Conversions from Social Media

Conversion tracking can help your business measure the return on investment of social media by reporting on the action people take after they view your content.

Traffic from social media can be reflected through tools like Google Analytics. These social media metrics allow you to track social media ROI and how social media affects your business goals of increasing customer acquisition on your website. It also allows businesses to know what kind of content drives sales.

A social tracking pixel can be put in place to measure conversions from social media. This HTML code snippet places an invisible 1×1 pixel image on your website which sends a message back to the original social source (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) when someone visits or takes an action. You can place these pixels on any page you want to track. For example, if you want to track purchases, you would put the conversion tracking pixel on the checkout confirmation page that people see after completing a checkout. Whenever a person loads that page, the code tells original social source that the conversion has occurred.

What are your thoughts on using social media analytics to grow your brand? If you’d like to share your thoughts, tweet me at @SarahLizRose or join the conversation at @SocialDistiller.

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