Misconceptions about Social Media Data

The modern marketing strategy just isn’t complete if it doesn’t include a social media element. As we’ve discussed in a previous blog post, tools like Google Analytics are great for tracking your social media activity and its impacts on your business. While we encourage social media marketers to read that blog and the background information linked within, it’s also important to discuss some of the misconceptions many businesses have about all the social media data they are collecting. Some might focus on information that isn’t particularly helpful, while others might be disregarding or missing entirely key metrics.

The greatest pitfall is to fall into the trap of chasing volume (e.g. number of followers, likes, retweets, etc.) versus outcome-based results. It doesn’t really matter if you have 100 or 100,000 followers, if you’re meeting your conversion/sales goals. Generally, a tighter focus on a specifically identified audience is a better strategy. The same is true in terms of the number of social media channels you choose to engage with. You can use a variety of options in a multitude of combinations, but sometimes a singular focus on just one channel that most appeals to your target audience can be the best strategy.

Another pitfall that applies to business strategies generally, but is particularly salient when it comes to social media, is tracking process vs. outcome measures. Both are important—your process results (e.g. how many followers, retweets, etc.) can provide early indications or future outcomes, but it is really the outcomes that matter to businesses of any kind, including nonprofits.

Context is important too when analyzing your social media data. As noted in a whitepaper by Cognizant called “Best Practices and Common Pitfalls in Social Media Measurement.” The authors write, “While many brands already track various engagement metrics, too often these activities are measured in isolation. When a brand analyzes tweets about a movie, show or talent, it can gain more actionable insights by analyzing social engagement in the context of various parameters, such as time, demographics, competitors, similar properties and level of marketing effort.”

Just as social media is crucial to any overall marketing strategy, effectively tracking the right metrics is crucial to the social media element of that strategy. By being aware of some of the common traps social media marketers fall into, you can help your organization get the most accurate picture of the success of your social media tactics.

What are you tracking?

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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