At a time when social activities were temporarily put on pause last year, social media continued to provide an opportunity for individuals to connect with loved ones, brands and the world around them. As a result, businesses began to shift their mindset about social media and view it as a necessity. Ninety percent of businesses report that over the next three years, their company’s social media marketing budget will grow and over half plan to increase it by more than 50%, a Sprout Social survey finds. So, what goes into these planned investments? Marketing leaders know that establishing and maintaining a social media presence is more than just posting photos on social media. It’s about creating and continuously enhancing a content strategy using social data! In today’s blog, we’re discussing some of the top resources and data points to consider to evolve your social media strategy.
The Tools: Sprout Social and Google Analytics
Direct messages, comments, trending topics, tags and mentions… these are just a few of the metrics that social media managers keep track of in order to run a successful business account. With all of these factors in play at once, it’s nearly impossible to manage and track manually. Enter: social media management platforms. Here are a few of the tools we’ve found at Orange Label to maximize our healthcare and retail clients’ social media impact.
Offering a suite of social media solutions, Sprout Social provides the tools needed to nurture new brand advocates, nourish follower growth and help real connections bloom. “Sprout provides deeper insights into our client’s audience and streamlines our internal workflow,” Orange Label Social Media Manager Chelsea Ragland shares.
Some standout features include a “smart inbox” that combines all of a brand’s social media messages into one neat package to enhance response time—something that 79% of individuals expect within 24 hours. Just as brands don’t want to miss a direct message or comment, posts that mention the brand or organization must be addressed as well. Because managers don’t have time to sift through hashtags and tags one by one, Sprout social offers feed monitoring and even social listening. That way, brands can quickly address all types of feedback and catch all user-generated content (UGC) when followers recommend them.
As 44% of consumers rely on strong customer service to differentiate a brand’s social media, Sprout also offers the opportunity to create Chatbots, which sprout defines as “programs built to automatically respond to inbound messages and assist customers through texts chats, voice commands or both.” Utilizing chatbots on social media platforms can enhance the consumer experience by ensuring someone is available to respond to inquiries at all times.
A staple in our daily lives that’s so popular it’s become a verb, Google is the most-visited multi-platform web property in the U.S. as of October 2020. Offering insights that only Google can give, Google Analytics works with its advertising and publisher products to provide detailed insights on how users are engaging with their site and apps to deliver business results. Highlighting the exact type of content that drives website traffic, Google Analytics allows you to: see which social media networks your audience is using, see which pages on your website those users are accessing, view sales conversions from social media and much more.
Since there are numerous tools in Google Analytics, we asked our Marketing Analytics Manager Michael Gonzales which one is often underutilized. His response? The Goals application! A Goal represents a completed activity, or conversion, that contributes to a business’s success. “Our jobs require us to spend a lot of time and resources fighting over attention and then measuring the success of those attention-grabbing efforts. But this ignores the other half the equation, what happens after those attention-grabbing efforts are successful,” Michael says.
Goals are a fundamental part of any digital analytics measurement plan, because they allow you to narrow down and evaluate the effectiveness of your online business and marketing campaigns. These goals will, of course, look different for every business. Examples of this may include a sale for an eCommerce company, a visit to a certain page for a healthcare organization or a form fill for a medical device company. “For more complex customer journeys or for breaking down existing journeys into smaller subsets, narrowly defining, creating, implementing and measuring these goals in Google Analytics is an absolute must,” Michael explains.
The Data Points: Descriptive, Diagnostic and Predictive
Who, what, where, when, why and sometimes how. Social data answers these six points, also known as the “five Ws and one H” to create a story using raw numbers and qualitative data. Here are three data segments to keep in mind when optimizing your content strategy.
Descriptive analytics answer one question: what happened? Or, even, what is happening? This interpretation of historical data helps brands understand changes that have occurred. In the circumstance of social media, descriptive analytics summarize things like the number of likes, mentions, followers and posts. These metrics may also include the average number of replies on a post or number of page views.
Once the “what” is uncovered, diagnostic analytics seek to answer the “why.” When viewing data through this detective lens, the first things to look for are any anomalies, emerging trends or spikes in data. For example, a spike in engagements on a specific day or a specific post. Answering why this happened may be figured out by looking at any changes that were made. Was there a major campaign launch or giveaway? More ad dollars spent? Something different in the posting method – such as a poll being used when posts typically consist of pictures? For less obvious answers, Sprout Social recommends looking at the charts in Sprout for days that are out of the ordinary and cross-referencing it with a Post Performance Report.
Part of content planning is looking ahead. That’s where Predictive Analytics comes in. Predictions are formed by viewing one or more data set and applying it to future strategies. For example, if data from the previous two years illustrates a spike in shopping or sign-ups around a certain day, it’s safe to expect the same to happen the next year. This insight can help you prepare in advance and create campaigns that drive even more traffic or help your brand reach its desired goal. Keeping an ear and an eye out for what grabbed consumers’ attention, or tapping into social listening, will also help you predict trends!
The Strategy: Let Your Audience Lead You Where They Want to Go
Like telling a story, the goal of social media is to create content that resonates with your target audience. Examining social data through a descriptive, diagnostic and predictive analytics lens can help you create content that resonates with your audience, supports your business growth and creates loyal followers. Utilizing social data is a strategy that 56% of marketers rely on, because it helps brands better understand their audience. When the world changed last year, many companies looked out into the changing landscape for direction and others looked within at retention/churn rates, user behavior flow, customer feedback and drop offs in the pipeline. “Providing valuable content to your audience should be a win-win, so knowing what they want and how those wants shift is key to understanding how, when and where to pivot your content strategy,” Michael shares. When searching for the answer on how to increase engagement or solve one of your brands’ social media woes, the answer always lies in your audience data.
Remember—building a connection with your audience is a two-way street. The best way to get your audience’s attention is by showing them that they have yours. Utilizing social data tools will help you demonstrate this and provide content that your audience wants to see. To learn more on shaping your content strategy through social data, tune in to our upcoming podcast episode of The 19: Entrepreneur Edition with Sprout Social and reach out to Orange Label!