This post previously appeared on Locowise.com.

With your social media analytics, there is huge potential to make things happen. Some brands just don’t do it, and find that they are swamped in data that they never really use. 

There are some key areas in which you can get real value from your social media analytics however. Developing habits in these areas means that you should be able to act on the numbers and information on a consistent basis. This can only bring you some real ROI, so it is well worth focusing on the following:

SET SOME REAL BENCHMARKS

The best thing about data is being able to set yourself targets and benchmarks. With benchmarks, all you have to do is take a look at the numbers and information that is coming in from your data, and then use this information to create simple areas of focus that will help your social media presence grow.

There is one very easy way to do this with social media posts. All you have to do is use your metrics to gather some data on key variables, like:

  • Number of likes
  • Number of follows
  • Engagement rates
  • Impressions

Once you have gathered this data, you can then work out the averages. Having an idea of the averages means that you know where ‘you are at’. This means that you can then think about how to improve on those averages.

Let’s say that your posts gain, on average, 1000 likes per week. That is your benchmark figure. Create a target that says your average needs to be 10% higher. This does not include spikes or posts that go viral, just your average. 

By focusing on this as a goal you will improve overall performance. By having a higher average, you develop a presence that is simply growing year on year.

Use your metrics to set some real benchmarks that allow for consistent growth. 

TAKE ACTION WITH QUESTIONS

When looking at all of your social media metrics you will find that trends start to appear. All of that information turns into patterns, and you should be able to see how things are for certain posts, times of year and so on. Digging deep into these patterns is important. You can take action in this area by asking yourself the following questions when you are looking at your metrics.

  • Are there any spikes in what I am seeing? Where and when?
  • What am I missing? Is there a reason for the outcome? Or that one?
  • How close are we to the next target (re benchmarks)?
  • Which post format is most consistently engagement-worthy? 

By asking these questions and giving honest, clear answers, you are developing the ability to take action on your metrics. You are reading the signs and acting before problems occur. You’re also setting yourself up for success.

GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT

Metrics provide you with granular data too. When you’re looking at the posts that are genuinely bringing engagement to your presence online, this is the gold dust that should be at the top of your priorities.

There are too many brands out there that focus on the content that happens to be ‘buzz-worthy’. This means that they jump on the bandwagon of content around a celebrity or even a fleeting news event. This kind of content may even cause a spike or two in traffic and engagement. 

However, ignoring the content that your audience really gets involved with can be costly. By using your metrics to work out exactly what works with your audience, you waste less time and also give yourself a chance of holding on to an audience. This is really intelligent work, and not enough brands do ths.

Take action here by focusing at a granular level on the content that makes a difference, and really speaks to your audience. This approach pays off in the long run, when you have an audience that is showing up on a consistent basis because you are giving them what they want.

HANDLE COMPLAINTS AND ISSUES

Nobody likes complaints. However, social media is a great way to listen to complaints and action them quickly. A company that does not handle complaints quickly will lose audiences and customers in the blink of an eye. 

At the same time, you can keep your finger on the pulse by using metrics to monitor direct messages and support requests. You can even set it up so that you can work out the ‘temperature’ of sentiment from your followers. Doing this allows you to think long-term. You should be able to have an action strategy that preempts complaints more, and therefore makes your social media useful in managing your audiences and retaining customers.

FIND THE RIGHT ‘OTHER CONTENT’

Use your metrics to see which content is resonating with your audience, but on competitor accounts. By seeing which kinds of content appeal to your audience you can capitalise on this by creating similar content for your own feeds.

This is all about actioning what works for other brands in your space. It means you really do have your finger on the pulse of what works in your industry on social media.

SO LET’S RECAP

Perhaps the real beauty of metrics is the ability to benchmark. If you are able to do this on a consistent basis, you can use other metrics to get a handle on what works for your audiences and hit those benchmarks.

Your metrics are useful, but only if you take action in the way outlined above. Benchmark, focus, and use those metrics intelligently for best results.