Free and Native Social Analytics Tools
For a method of marketing that is still relatively new to the industry, social media analytics can be phenomenally important to the success or failure of a company. A few social media sites offer free analytics programs, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (Instagram also recently announced their own dive into social analytics), while some companies offer in-depth and complex analyses of social media across the board. Obviously, the free programs should be used (because not much comes free nowadays), but the data has to be interpreted and implemented effectively to have a tangible effect on a company’s online presence.
Facebook Insights provides company pages with a wealth of information not available to the typical Facebook user, such as your organic reach or the demographic of your fans. These analytics will give you the data that you can use as advice on when to schedule posts, what kind of content interests your fans and more.
For example, if the majority of your fans are online between 1 and 2 pm, it is best to post in that time period to have the most people see your content. Demographics of your fans are also available—providing with what you need to make assumptions about the best content to post. Additionally, Insights allows you to schedule posts, so an editorial calendar can be put in place, not requiring someone to constantly remember when to add content.
Insights also keeps track of the amount of engagement, as well as the type. Likes, comments, click-throughs and shares all weigh differently to Facebook’s algorithm. Likes, because they take the shortest amount of time and least amount of thought, weigh the least, while shares, which publishes content to a completely new set of people, weigh the most. While a decent amount of likes on a piece of content will keep it up higher on the newsfeed, shares will make that content stay available for longer, to a larger group of people, thereby raising its chances of being engaged with again.
Last week saw an interesting change in engagement for us on Facebook. After being challenged by another agency for the Ice Bucket Challenge, we posted our own video. This blew all of our previous engagements out of the water, shown above. This goes to speak to the importance of real-time marketing that has been on the rise since the creation of Twitter. Everyone was talking and posting about the Ice Bucket Challenge, so our video shot to the top of the newsfeed and had a large amount of interaction. Plus, it was probably just fun to watch people dump ice water on their heads for a good cause.
Twitter Analytics, which was started back in 2011, provides a decent amount of insight for its free price. It analyzes how many impressions your tweets receive, which is how many people on Twitter actually see your post. This number can go easily up and down based on the time you post or how many people retweet your message. It also compares your activity to previous time periods, where you can see spikes of engagement or non-engagement. The table of analytics is clickable, pulling up the tweet or tweets that were enjoyed by your followers and how they engaged.
Impressions, mentioned in the above graph, is the number of people who see your tweets in their feed. But while impressions are important, engagement is even more so. On Twitter, engagement is measured by favorites, retweets, replies, detail expands or link clicks.
Because Twitter currently does not use weight to define what appears in your feed (though that is about to change), it is still important for your followers to see and participate in your content. While it is important to engage with your followers on Twitter through replies, favorites and retweets, link clicks are probably the most important type of engagement. This is how you get your followers to physically come to your website. But be wary of overusing your own personal links; don’t be afraid to link to relevant content your followers might enjoy off your site, to instill a sense of trust and value.
Analytics on Twitter also provides you with insight to your followers, which can be used as caterable data. As you can see on the left, Twitter has looked through all of your followers’ Twitters as well, informing your business of common and prominent interests. On the right, you can look to see who else your followers follow, and use those accounts as content inspiration.
LinkedIn Analytics, also available free for company or business pages, has a similar artillery to that of Twitter and Facebook. The first graph on the analytics page focuses on specific posts, detailing impressions, clicks or interactions, as well as an engagement percentage. On the graph below, the section stating “all followers” speaks to the potential for a business to run campaigns by participating in some of the paid assets of LinkedIn, such as running a campaign to specific groups of followers.
LinkedIn offers followers analysis, like the aforementioned two sites, but also focuses on level of employment. The differences in applicable content if the majority of your followers are senior executives versus entry level employees are vast.
Additionally, since LinkedIn is a career networking site, there is a stress on the importance of unique page views. How many people came to your LinkedIn page because they were looking for an ad agency as a potential client or employee, rather than a previous client? It is important and vital to constantly strive for new and unique viewers—without them, businesses would not prosper.
There really aren’t cons to using free analytics services like this. Sure, it would be easier to have all of it compiled into one website, but dissecting the information on three different ones won’t take away an exorbitant amount of your time—keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming blog post evaluating some of the different paid platforms. The free analytics programs are definitely worth it, because they are free, plus they can provide your company with valuable data; you just have to know the right way to perceive the data and learn from the facts.