The data you can gather and analyse from social media can be vast, knowing what to analyse and when is just as important as the insight you are generating.
The following article is aimed at startups and small businesses, by reading the following article you should gain a basic understanding in how to use social media data and where to find it, it will hopefully also inspire you to use your social media even more in your businesses analysis of data.
How to find your social media data
So I guess the first place to start is where to find all of your social media data. Firstly there are just to many data points to comprehensively list them all here, so we will just start off with the basics.
Every social network has some form of built in analytics system, and this is the best place for you to get started, here you will find the common data points such as:
- Favourites & likes
- Re-shares & re-tweets
- Replies & comments
Here is what the six most common social networks offer:
Facebook will offer you a wealth of informationproviding you have the correct permissions in place. Facebook offers the following as basic data:
Tip: You can get a quick overview of any Facebook posts data by clicking on the "people reacted" text at the bottom of any post.
- Reach - The number of people who have seen your post.
- Likes - Facebook gives you the name of three people who have liked your post. So to get the exact figure add 3 to the number displayed for "+ others".
Twitter also offers a whole host of analytics for its platform, there are two places where you are able to grab data on your tweets, the first one is right in the platform where you tweet from and the second is to sign up for Twitter ads but not actually running any, when you sign up to Twitter ads you also get access to their full analytics platform that contains more data not found so easily through the main platform. Twitter offers the following through their main platform:
- Replies - you cn get this informstion whern you click to expand any tweet. The replies to any tweet appears right below.
Tip: All tweets have an icon that resembles a bar chart, when you click this a more detailed view is presented to you, containing retweets, likes, media engagements and detail expands.
This platform offers you the ability to create LinkedIn updates, here you can measure a range of social interactions, within each LinkedIn update you are able to measure:
- Impressions - The amount of people who have seen your post.
- Clicks - The total number of clicks on your content, your company name or your logo.
- Interactions - Likes, comments and shares.
- Engagement rate - Interactions, clicks and followers acquired, divided by impressions.
Unfortunately Google+ does not take after the analytics suite when it comes to social measurement, there are 3 types of data you can grab from Google+ posts they are:
- +1's - Googles version of likes.
The analytics you can get from Instagram posts is limited, at present you get data on the following:
In addition to the data you can get from individual posts, most of the platforms offer a free dashboard. Most of the platforms dashboards offer the following:
- Engagement rate.
- Overall engegament.
- Follower growth.
- Page likes.
- The general performance of different post types.
Methods for collecting and analysing your social media data:
1. The hunter gatherer method
This method is very much like the names suggests, long winded, cumbersome and manual, to do it this way you will need to start off by opening a new spreadsheet, scroll through your posts and take the data for each post and organise it in your spreadsheet. Use your spreadsheet to identify your highest performing updates, add up all your totals and calculate the averages.
2. Analysing all your charts and graphs
Using the social media dashboards you discovered in each of the platforms, you can generally use these charts and graphs to discover the following:
- Trends over time (how are you performing over time).
- Week on week, month on month comparisons.
- Engagement at a glance (how does todays likes compare to yesterdays likes).
- Demographic data (geography, age & gender).
3. Data dumps
If you feel confident with data, then raw data dumps are going to be perfect for you. If you're not sure where and how to use this data I would recommend you buy yourself a really good set of Excel books.
The social networs and the most popular social media tools will most likely come with the ability to take a data dump of your account, the most common ways these platforms provide you with your raw data are:
You can use these file types with all major spreadsheet programs as well as other analysis platforms like Tableau or Apache Logs viewer.
4. Creating a benchmark
Creating a benchmark is a great way to measure how well you are performing generally and how your performing against your business objectives.
You are going to need to use a spread sheet to collect and measure your data in, you may want to consider saving it to your desktop as you will be using it often.
First decicde on the frequency that you want to report on, are you a young business and want to measure week on week or are you a more established business and want to measure month on month or year on year, whatever you decide, stick to it.
Make a list of the data points you want to measure, any business objectives that you may need to measure, this is easily done through tools such as Google Analytics. Arrange it in the spreadsheet with columns for the months or weeks and ensure you reguarly update the spreadsheet with your data and use it to measure your growth and trends.
Share your data internally
The way in which you present your data is really important, there is no point in sending tables and tables of data to anyone other than your data specialist, however if you visualise your data well people will find it engaging and are more likely to interact with it, so think about the following when sharing your data:
1. Try a screenshot
PersonallyI try and use these as little as possible, but every once in a while you stuble across a great piece of visualised data that you can't replicate using your spreadsheet, this is when a screenshot really comes in handy.
2. Creat a nice email summary
Creating an email digest is a great way to share stats with your team and others within your business. Tools like SumAll already do this, I recommend creating your own though and tailoring it to your own businesses needs.
3. Utilise the spreadsheet
Don't be afraid of using spreadsheets embrace them, they can be the best tool you have in your business if you use them well.
4. Send a .pdf up the chain
PDFs can be a great way to share data with your organisation, we have definately seen an increase in their use across a range of different businesses.
There are a variety of ways to make these, but these are pretty good:
- Export spreadsheet as a PDF file.
- Use the SumAll PDF report feature.
- Use print screen and save as a PDF.