How To Take Action On Social Media Metrics

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.

Should We Use Our Own Hashtags Or Trending Ones?

This post previously appeared on Locowise.com.

I don’t have to mention that hashtags are important. They’re a huge part of social media marketing and have a great role to play in making content searchable and shareable. But they aren’t just about following the latest trending tags. Or are they? 

WHY CREATE OUR OWN?

We can create our own unique hashtags whenever we want. As long as they make sense to our audiences, we have absolute freedom on what we put out there. Yet some brands don’t create their own hashtags.

This could be a mistake. Creating unique hashtags can help a brand develop engagement, pure and simple.

WHAT IS A UNIQUE HASHTAG?

They are hashtags created with a specific purpose in mind. #Business, for example, can be used for pretty much anything business-related, but #ShareaCoke refers to a specific brand and is part of a specific campaign. Coke uses hashtags like that one because the campaign is built around the phrase. Also, no other brand is able to use it, it’s Coke’s invention.

A unique hashtag like that one speaks directly to audiences and it speaks to their loyalty. In a sense, it forms a unique message to customers. This uniqueness is needed to differentiate and add value to social media campaigns.

That is not to say that all hashtags should be unique to a brand, obviously. There is a ratio that needs to be understood and followed if a brand is to get the most out of the hashtag usage.

THE ‘REGULAR’ HASHTAGS

There are many generic hashtags, too many to get hung up about. There are ways to make sure you are using hashtags that will be seen by audiences, but that will also make sense for your brand.

To take this idea down to its basic level, consider the hashtag #followme. This particular hashtag is the most popular on Instagram, and it is used in millions of posts. But you wouldn’t use that on a branded account. If you did, you’d appear desperate and ‘spammy’. 

The aim is to find hashtags that are popular but still relevant to your brand and what you do. It would be even better if you were able to find hashtags that were hyper-focused, to the extent that they literally refer to what you do. While this may sound a little obvious, it is important to build your campaigns around tags that are genuinely sensible.

The best way to get started with this process is to look at your competitors. They will be using hashtags in their posts. You could look at what they are doing and emulate that. The reason why this is a good idea is because it is obviously working with the audience you are trying to engage with.

Don’t focus on just the types of hashtags either. Look at the number of hashtags they use in a post. That shows how much your audience can tolerate and still engage with the content.

When looking to create campaigns around hashtags that are being used by everyone else, it pays to get involved in some social listening. There are plenty of platforms out there that allow you to check streams and see which hashtags are proving to be most popular. It is very easy to do, and will give you a steady supply of hashtags that are worth using in your own posts for exposure and engagement.

Finally, always look into the related hashtags that platforms offer you when you start to enter your own in posts. These related tags are definitely worth including, simply because the platform (whether it’s Twitter or LinkedIn, or any other platform) uses machine learning to find the best hashtags that fit your content.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

Hashtags should be used sparingly, but you do have to focus on what is working out there right now. The easy way to approach it is to find popular hashtags so that you have a good chance of being engaged with. Then, as campaigns progress, use unique hashtags that help to establish your brand.

As always, test what you do and make sure you change course if you need to.