Analytics are one of those things that feel superfluous, but can make a huge difference in how you plan and evaluate your social media strategy. If you use social media for your business, you might not even know that you have analytics available. Or, if you know where to find your analytics, you might not know how to interpret them. We’re here to help demystify the process of finding, reading, and interpreting your social media analytics by answering some commonly asked questions:
What is the difference between reach and impressions?
When looking at your analytics on most social media platforms, you'll see a number for both reach and impressions. What's the difference? Reach is the number of unique people that have seen your content, while impressions are the number of times your content has been seen.⠀
Both reach and impressions work to increase awareness of your brand online, but what we should really be focusing on for long-term growth is engagement (likes, comments, shares, etc.) That being said, increased awareness (reach and impressions) needs to come before engagement, and we need all three of these metrics working together to produce results.
Can you use analytics to find the best time to post?
In reality, there is no single best time to post. Finding your best time to post requires knowing your audience, testing different times, and measuring the results. However, you can make use of your social media analytics to find out when your followers are most active. For example, on Instagram, click on the Insights tab on your profile page and then click on Your Audience. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see a graph with your followers’ most active times. From there, you can remember to post during those times of day or, even better to save you time, you can create and schedule your posts in advance by using a social media scheduling platform like Later.
As mentioned above, the most important thing to work on is engagement, which also means remembering to not just post and forget about it! Make sure that you are responding to comments and questions and interacting with your followers - make it a dialogue, not a monologue.
How should you monitor and evaluate your social media analytics?
There isn’t one best way to track your analytics, but I recommend using a spreadsheet and keeping weekly tallies of a few key metrics:
Your follower count
The number of times you posted
Your profile actions (ex. profile clicks, website clicks)
Your audience reach
Your number of impressions
Your total engagement (likes/reactions, comments, saves/shares)
Your average engagement per post
Your average reach per post
By keeping a weekly or monthly record over time, you can see how your social media engagement is improving, and also make note of posts that do particularly well.
How do you increase engagement on your posts?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple one-step way to increase engagement on your social media posts. It requires taking the time to listen to your audience and learn what kinds of posts connect with them. That being said, a great place to start is to use your analytics to examine your top-performing posts (based on engagement). Is there a common theme among them?
In your Facebook Insights, when looking at your post performance, take the time to scrutinize both your overall engagement and your engagement rate (engagement in relation to reach). This will allow you to determine the posts with which your audience is most interested in engaging.
In your Instagram Insights, go to your shared content and use the drop down menus at the top to sort your posts based on ‘Post Interactions'. You can break it down even further by sorting based on likes, comments, shares, or saves. This overview of your content will give you a nice snapshot of which posts garner the most interactions with your followers and help you tailor your future posts.
All in all, social media can be a very effective way to interact with your customers and get your business out there, and even though it might not cost any money up front, it requires a significant time investment. Make sure you are taking the time to look at your social media analytics for guidance on what is working and where you can improve. If you have any questions about social media analytics or improving your social media strategy, reach out to us! Whether you are brand new, or already have a base of followers and need some help getting to the next level, we are here to set you up for success.