Analyse your social media data – and make better business decisions

By Dominique Sandwith

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Analyse your social media data to drive sales, draw in new customers and grow your business.

In a previous issue of Your Business (April/May 2018) we wrote about how to effectively measure and track your digital marketing efforts and explained each of the key platforms and metrics you can use to do so. For a quick re-cap, this entailed:

• Using Google Analytics for your website to track the number of visitors, insights into your audience, find out how visitors find your website, their behaviour (time spent, which articles or pages visited, etc,) and of course, conversion rates, i.e. how many people filled out a contact form or bought products if you have an e-commerce platform.

• Keeping track of your impressions, reach of your content and engagements across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. The dashboard of metrics across these platforms are fairly easy to understand, but can vary slightly.

• And last but not least, newsletters. Using platforms such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact or Campaign Monitor you can track your subscription rate, number of opens on a certain email campaign, number of clicks and where the user clicked on the newsletter as well as the number of users who unsubscribe after each campaign.

You have also the information and stats, but what now?

The next important step, and one that business owners often forget, is to analyse this data and compare it across time periods and against your competitors. This data should become the information which guides the course of your marketing efforts, informs your content strategy and essentially changes your business decisions to get better results in future.

Here are three steps to follow:

  • Record the data

At Yellow Door collective we compile a monthly report detailing all of the metrics that are relevant to analyse a client’s marketing efforts. It’s important to have all of these statistics in one place and be able to compare between periods.

Our reports generally compare the month’s statistics to the previous month, or the same period last year, depending on what our objective is, and what is more valuable for the client.

If this isn’t part of your process, you could also just set up an audit spreadsheet which lists the platforms and collates key metrics you want to track, so that you have these stats in one place and can track them over a period of time.

  • Examine the analytics and identify irregularities

Now that you have the data in one place, it’s possible to analyse it and look at the trends. Hopefully the number of followers or reach on your Facebook or Instagram page will follow an upward trend, but there may also be a spike in the trend or outlier which can be looked into in more detail.

To find out why that spike happened, check what was posted that day or week and ask yourself why it received more engagement than other content. Maybe it was the day you created a social media advert, or it was content that was particularly topical and therefore gained attention. Either way, you want to take note of that and try and do that again in future!

It’s also important to look at any inconsistencies in traffic to the website from social media, i.e. does the traffic lead to actual sales or new customers? If it doesn’t, you should be examining why it is not converting into sales.

There are a number of reasons why clicks from social media do not lead to conversions. It could be that there is a disconnect between the content on social media and the content on your website. If so, create a simple landing page that will speak directly to the people that are coming from a specific type of content on social media.

It could also be that your call to action on social media or on the website is not clear. This can be improved by being more direct – what is it that you want the customer to do? Send an email? Buy a product? Call you? Whatever it is, make it as easy as possible for them.

  • Adjust business strategy and decisions

By following the steps above, you should be starting to understand when things work with your audience and why, so you can replicate this. Similarly, if something isn’t working, adjust your business decisions to change your trajectory or simply try something new.

Social media is a fast-paced world. It’s not like television or print media where ads take a long time to make and get approved, take even longer to get on air or published and then live on a long time on those platforms.

In fact, the lifespan of an average Tweet is only 15-20 minutes and a Facebook post on the newsfeed only lasts about 5-6 hours unless it goes viral! So, if your content doesn’t work, just keep trying until it does. Soon you will figure out why and then replicating it will get easier and more accurate.

It is difficult to find new ideas for your social media pages all the time, and especially if the ones you have are not working as well as you’d hoped. Take a look around at what competitors and benchmarks in your industry are doing well and what seems to be working for them. Then see how you can adapt those ideas or draw inspiration from them for your own audience and platforms. You may find that there is something you hadn’t thought to try that may help improve sales or bring in leads.

When you start to analyse your social media data on a regular basis and gain a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t, your content will become more valuable and therefore a better investment of your time and money.

Co-founder of Cape Town-based digital agency Yellow Door Collective, Dominique Sandwith, manages key clients, and has a passion for innovation and the eye of a perfectionist.

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