How to Optimize Content Marketing with Social Analytics
Whether your goal as a marketer is to engage your community, drive leads to your online store, or increase brand notoriety, content marketing is paramount. For each goal, you’ll need to define specific content strategies and monitor specific social media Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Content marketing and social media are becoming increasingly intertwined as search engine algorithms now not only favor fresh content but are also indexing social media content more and more in their results (source). Not to mention, it is more cost-effective; content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. (source)
What does this mean for marketers?
The essence of content marketing is providing value to get value. In order to maintain an engaging content strategy, analyzing the social media behavior of your audience and that of your competitor’s audience is necessary. In order to engage this audience, you must craft quality and targeted content, coupled with a strong supporting online community. Social analytics is perhaps the most powerful tool to use when trying to accomplish this. It allows a brand to understand the attitudes, behaviors, and preferences of customers across a multitude of different online sources in order to make smarter business decisions and influence purchase decisions. In other words, to find the needle in the haystack of big data.
The results of content marketing with social media are often spread out over time, and therefore tracking and measuring ROI can be quite difficult. The reality is that most online marketing techniques cannot be measured on a case-by-case basis, and are better calculated as a whole, which includes metrics over longer periods of time (source). By measuring engagement metrics altogether, you will be able to spot which content marketing strategy is working – versus that which is not – for your brand and even that of your competitors.
So how can social analytics really help you optimize your content engagement strategy? There are several social analytics tools available that streamline the process of measuring activities, behaviors, and associations based on your actions on social. The greatest advantage of these tools is that an organization can translate large amounts of raw data (likes, tweets, mentions, posts, comments, etc.) into measurable trends and actionable information.
Which Social Analytics KPI’s are most important?
To benefit from social analytics, the first step is knowing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you need, how best to track them, and then actually using your data to keep improving. If you do that, you’ll generate a far more effective content marketing strategy, improve your SEO, and ultimately get more traffic to your site.
Site Visits: Obviously, your site analytics are important and should be analyzed as an extension of your social presence. Using metrics such as sessions, visits, time on site, frequency of visits, bounce rates and CTR, suggest whether your content is effectively driving visitors to your site and how they behave once on it. There is no better tool for this than Google Analytics.
Engagement: Measures the level of interaction with your content on social networks. Examples include comments, likes, shares, favorites, views, retweets, or a breakdown that normalizes for fan size such as retweets/1000 fans, likes/1000 fans, etc.
Impact: Here you look at the total number of people exposed to any piece of content that you’ve posted through organic and viral reach. Examples include: number of followers/fans, the number of followers you’re your followers have, shares, retweets, to name a few.
Responsiveness: Measures the rate of response and the qualitative results of those. Examples include response rate, speed, quality, and resolution.
Using Social Analytics to determine what type of content works
These KPIs can go a long way towards helping you determine what your brand should be doing with their social media campaigns and help build a strong online community to set the stage for success. Essentially, it’s by measuring the analytics of your online communities (your Facebook page, Twitter page, LinkedIn, YouTube) that you optimize your content and community management strategies to foster an environment that can act as a gateway to viral content.
What are my competitors doing, how successful are they?
Like in all areas of business, the goal is to be better than your competitors. It’s generally easier to understand the success of your social media property than it is to understand the success of others. This is due, in part, to the built-in analytics most platforms provide. For example, Facebook Insights does a sufficient job of explaining what is successful on your page but offers little detail about competitors. However, using new sophisticated social analytics tools, you can compare your effectiveness against your biggest competitors, or acquire an overview of an entire industry.
Case Study: Social Analytics Tools In Action
Below is an analysis of Facebook activity of some of the top ice cream brands during the final two weeks of National Ice Cream Month in the U.S. (July 14 – 28, 2014) using e-value analytics Pro.
Using the tool, we are able to benchmark an entire competitive set in one shot, based on their e-value scores or raw metrics. This particular score is an aggregated index with subscores of engagement, impact, and responsiveness, based on a unique algorithm giving a higher weighting to stronger engagements. After all, user engagement is the backbone of all social media strategies (source).
After a quick setup, we see a mixture of top-line metrics and the rate of engagement giving us a precise measure of each brand’s properties. By looking at the example in the study, Haagen-Dazs came out on top with a staggering 98.56 e-value score.
By highlighting the top posts, a user can understand the type, tone, and timing of content that is the most or least effective for a given brand.
Going to each individual page would allow a user to understand the content that a page is posting. By using an analytics tool you see a lot more, including trends and cumulative results that are invisible to the naked eye. You also save yourself from having to constantly check-in. All the information is gathered automatically and can even be set up to alert you when something out of the ordinary occurs. Social media analytics are essential tools to help you drill down from the massive amounts of unfiltered data to key marketing insights.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.
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