I guess the first question might be WHY create a social media analytics dashboard? I’m glad you asked.
Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for marketing your brand. Social media marketing creates one-on-one relationships with consumers that increases sales of your brand. But, social media marketing is MORE than just a tool to increase your ROI (Return on Investment).
- Social media marketing increases brand loyalty (which not only translates into increasing ROI, but makes consumers less likely to switch to alternative brands in the future).
- Social media marketing amplifies your message across the social internet to increase awareness of your brand, promote a positive image of your brand, and ultimately influence purchase of your brand when consumers identify with the group recommending your brand.
- Social media marketing is a platform for dealing with complains or confusion about how to get the most out of your products, thus increasing customer satisfaction.
- Social media marketing helps you understand consumers better, which improves your product offerings and helps you position your brand more effectively.
- Plus, social media marketing can generate brand evangelists who act as your online social ambassadors to promote your brand in social networks.
Thus, social media marketing is doing A LOT of heavy lifting in the marketing department.
But, social media marketing ONLY works when used effectively. That’s where analytics comes in. Social media analytics show you what’s working, what isn’t, tests different social media marketing strategies, and helps you optimize your social media marketing strategy — and helps you achieve the 5 things listed above.
Social media analytics
Obviously, the elements of your social media analytics dashboard depend on your social media strategic objectives — you need to capture those metrics that indicate whether you’re reaching your goals. Creating a social media analytics dashboard also means understanding a little about HOW SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING WORKS on different platforms.
As mentioned in an earlier post, social media analytics come in a variety of forms — including Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, email analytics from services such as AWeber or Constant Contact, and other metrics. Hootsuite and other social media dashboard do a good job of bringing many of these metrics to the same place, but that still doesn’t help you understand your social media marketing results holistically.
Why understand your social media analytics holistically? Because, unless you’re only using a single social networking platform, your social media strategy in integrated — with your blog posts shared on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, you’re Twitter feed shown on your website, your email marketing sharing your blog posts, which subscribers might share on their own social networks. Thus, actions in one social network spill over to affect metrics in other social networks and require a holistic understanding to effectively manage your social media marketing outcomes.
How to create a social media analytics dashboard
Software solutions might exist for creating such a holistic social media analytics dashboard, but I haven’t found ANY that are reasonably priced for the small and mid-sized business. Enterprise class analytics are just TOO expensive, although some do a very nice job.
So, I create a dashboard for my clients using an Excel spreadsheet and graphing trends (it’s really these trends that are the most important social media analytics in most cases).
Here’s an example of the type of social media analytics dashboard I would create for a client — sorry, it’s blank since I take my confidentiality agreements VERY seriously.
Using the Social Media Analytics Dashboard
I wouldn’t recommend sending this to a client. They’ll just look at it and scratch their head wondering if they made the right decision in hiring you.
No, what you do is:
- create charts from this data showing the trends across various metrics over time
- use the data to see if correlations exist in the data — I use SPSS, but SAS works and Excel has some rudimentary statistical tools
- run the data through a cross-tabulation process which goes beyond simple correlations.
Now, you have a lot of pretty charts to show your client and they’re beginning to believe they made the right decision in hiring you. But, more than pretty charts, your client now understands their social media analytics holistically — understanding how elements relate to each other and how they create success for their social media marketing strategy.
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