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Published March 4th 2022

Your In-depth Guide to Social Media Analytics

Strategize better with a data-backed analysis of all things social media.

Success on social media starts with crunching the numbers and figuring out what works best for your brand. With social media analytics, you get to understand what’s working and what’s not so that you can create a better social media strategy that brings you the results you desire.


  • What is social media analytics?
  • Why do you need social media analytics?
  • How to conduct a social media analysis.
  • How to use social media analytics right.
  • Social media analytics and ROI.
  • Ready to talk numbers?

What is social media analytics?

Social media analysis is the process of studying a brand’s performance across its different social networks. Analyzing multiple social media metrics allows you to derive actionable insights that help you improve your social media strategy overall.

Whether you’re a social media analyst or moonlight as the data geek on your social team, social analytics requires you to:

  • Mine relevant data.
  • Derive insights into your performance.
  • Strategize on how you can improve your brand’s social media strategy.

A pinch of competitive benchmarking along with a dash of social listening can get your analytics game to a whole new level.

Why do you need social media analytics?

With social media data analytics, you can provide in-depth insights into content performance for the rest of the marketing team and strategize to improve your standing on social media.

Data-driven marketing is critical, and social media analytics gives you a leg up when it comes to ideating campaigns and publishing posts.

For instance, if your social media manager wanted to know the best time to post on Instagram for your brand, an analyst would have the correct data to back up that information. The chart below — from our Benchmark solution — shows that while the maximum posts in the time analyzed were published at 11 am, posts engaged best between 5 and 6 am.

Your team should ideally be scheduling posts between 5 and 6 am to see if it leads to a spike in engagement.

How to conduct a social media analysis?

1. Define your metrics

Social media suites may already give you truckloads of raw data, but you need metrics to make sense of all the data you’ve collected.

Ask yourself what you’re hoping to achieve with your social media efforts and what the intended outcome is. This will clarify the metrics you need to start your analysis.

General metrics to keep an eye on include:

  • Follower count
  • Likes and favorites
  • Replies and comments
  • Shares and retweets
  • Reach
  • Impressions
  • Mention volume
  • Direct messages
  • Story link and website clicks on Instagram

However, every brand and its desired results on social media are different. Define your key performance indicators (KPIs) and determine how you can achieve your desired result(s).

2. Identify the tools you need

Now that you’ve defined the metrics, it’s time to start collecting data.

What tools do you plan on using? Every social media channel has its own analytics tool you can put to good use. However, if you are a data geek looking to do a deep dive into your brand’s social standing, you might find native analytics lacking.

Find the right solution that matches your requirements and budget, and get started!

3. Combine metrics from each network

Your social media efforts are spread across platforms. So, too, should your reporting and analytics.

Start measuring your metrics across channels to see where your strategy is paying off and where you still stand to improve.

As much as we love spreadsheets, pulling all the metrics from different platforms and then manipulating the data on Excel takes quite some time.

There’s nothing like an app that would do your work for you and show you aggregated, cross-channel metrics in one place.

4. Analyze and derive insights

Now that you’ve aggregated all the metrics you need, you can get to number crunching.

  • How does your performance measure across your defined metrics?
  • Are there any trends you should be passing on to your content team?
  • Were some of your posts more successful than others?

Asking yourself a bunch of questions will help you unlock additional insights and value.

5. Apply the insights, rinse, repeat

Successful social media strategies rely on a solid feedback loop for improvements.

Ensure the insights you’ve gleaned are applied to all your future campaigns so you can set your brand up for success on social.

How to use social media analytics the right way

Here are a few use cases where a deep dive into numbers and metrics can help you come out on top on social media.

With social media analytics, you can:

1. Improve your social media strategy

Dig deeper into the data to see how your brand is performing, your recent campaigns’ impact, and where you can improve. Identify your strengths so you can play them better and your weaknesses so you can work on improving them.

With social networking analytics, you can make data-driven decisions to increase your return on investment (ROI) and make an impact on social media.

Circling back to the best time to post example from above, you’d also consider the time your fans are online to make an informed decision.

Is there a better time to post on social media? What about Stories with Swipe Up links to bump website visits?

Data mining can help you identify what works best with your audience so you can understand how to improve social media campaigns.

2. Study patterns and trends

Is there a sudden dip in followers? Is it in response to one of your recent posts?

With social media analytics, you can monitor what is being said about you online and notice recurring patterns and trends that give you insight into where you need to improve.

Side note: Slip-sliding down the Follower Growth chart on Benchmark is probably the blinking neon light that shows you need to step up your social game.

3. Find out when your content is underperforming

As an immediate result of spotting patterns and trends, analytics also helps you identify dips in social media engagement so you can carry that information back to your marketing team.

Using our Measure, you can see how your content is performing on social and how it stacks up against other posts.

Study underperforming posts and see if any pattern emerges that reveals your audience’s content preferences. If the pattern is to do with the type of content, repurposing it to a different format always helps.

4. Improve customer service

Providing stellar customer service is also data-driven.

Customers often rely on social media for support and to get their questions answered. Social media analytics can help you monitor your average response time and audit service targets.

If your organization has a service-level agreement (SLA) in place for social media, see how fast your team is responding to customer questions and how your brand measures up against its competitors.

5. Understand your audience

Get insight into your follower demographic and understand their likes, when they are online, and what kind of content they prefer. The more you know about what content your audience prefers, the more you can target your messaging accordingly.

6. See how you stack up against your competition

Social media analytics doesn’t end with measuring your own metrics. You don’t compete in a vacuum, after all.

Enter social media benchmarking.

Analyzing your competitors adds an extra layer of context a standalone analysis would never have given you. By combining analytics with benchmarking, you can see where you stand in the industry and how much you’re contributing to the conversation in your market.

7. Measure social sentiment

Find out how your audience feels about your brand by monitoring the emotions and sentiment in your mentions. Sentiment analysis gives you insight into audience perception so your brand can pivot its messaging depending on your audience.

Monitoring social sentiment can also help you detect a crisis early and course-correct as needed.

Social media analytics and ROI

We cannot talk about data and analytics without mentioning ROI. Measuring the impact of your social team on the bottom line is one of the most significant benefits of conducting a social media data analysis.

We’ve also made things a little bit easier for you by writing all about ROI, its formula, warts and all, right here.

So, get those checklists ready, grab your calculator, and figure out how you can prove the value of social media marketing.

Ready to talk numbers?

Marketing always boils back down to data.

By showing you what’s working and what’s not, social media analytics can help you make real-time decisions to improve your social media strategy and measure how your social efforts contribute to the bottom line.

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