This term can mean different things to different people. Are we talking about overall performance on social media? Or, perhaps we could be referencing social media content analysis? Could we even mean social media audience analysis?

This topic gets complex fast, and any of the above answers could be correct. To make things simple, this post will focus on how to understand three things:

  • How your social media profiles are growing.
  • How your social media content is performing.
  • How to turn data into action to create better content.

Build Your Social Media Analytics Toolbox

Every good craftsperson has a quality set of tools. Here are the options we recommend for doing social media analytics work:

  • Google Analytics: It’s free and powerful.
  • In-App Analytics: Most major social media networks provide fairly robust internal analytics.
  • Cyfe: This freemium web app is essential for building custom data dashboards.
  • Simply Measured: These folks offer some excellent free tools to help perform a variety of social media tasks.

There are certainly more tools available. However, these are the options we’ll use for the purposes of this post.

How To Set Social Media Goals

You need a purpose for gathering and analyzing your data.

This means you need to set goals. After all, how are you supposed to hit your target when you’re unsure what you’re aiming for?

Let’s outline five basic social media marketing goals you could potentially establish:

  • Traffic: Social media is a vital traffic driver to blogs and websites for many publishers.
  • Follower Growth: The more people following your accounts, the more people you can reach, more easily.
  • Engagement: This is the “social” part of social media. Likes, shares, mentions, and comments are equal opportunities to build connections with your audience and prospects. This can include industry influencers, current or potential customers, or the audience for your content.
  • Reach / Impressions: Social media content exists to be seen. Getting in front of more viewers means more awareness for your brand and content. These may seem like soft metrics, but there is value in gaining exposure (as long as you’re not being discussed in a negative light).
  • Conversions: Marketing is ultimately about driving sales. Converting organic social media traffic can be tough. Paid advertising, while inherently more conversion-centric, presents challenges of its own too. However, it is possible to drive conversions from your organic content.

It’s also important to tie social media goals to overall business objectives.