Analytics are not exactly helpful on their own – you need to have defined goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure against to see if your efforts are successful. Once you figure out your goals, where do you find the data to back up your growth?
There are a number of ways to mine for data. You can count likes, shares, comments, etc manually. You can check and see if your social media scheduler tool provides analytics. Or, you can go straight to each platform and download the raw data.
Sprout Social, Buffer, CoSchedule, Lately… – there are dozens of different online scheduling tools for social media managers. They have various strengths and weaknesses, and we don’t necessarily advocate for any of the tools specifically at Spry because which you choose depends on your team and how you work. Many scheduling tools do tout their ability to create analytics reports – which is great! All we recommend with using analytics within third-party apps is:
- Check their numbers against the data that is native to each platform. For instance, if your tool says you have 100 followers on Facebook, go to Facebook and double-check. You don’t need to do this ALL the time, but every few months or so, just check your numbers against the native tool.
- Understand that third party apps often will have varying ways of describing certain data points. Take a moment to fully understand what ‘engagement’ means in your third party tool, and what ‘engagement’ is in the social platform. Sometimes, they can be different.
Data Analytics Tools
There are also social media analytics tools that focus solely on analytics. These are great! However, they do require an upfront investment of time to understand and implement. And, just because you have a cool data analysis tool, doesn’t mean you’re clear on your overall goals.
Native Platform-Specific Data
My personal favorite way to get data, however not always the FASTEST, is to go to the social platform itself and download data there. There is something satisfying about going directly to the source for the raw numbers. You can watch the video below where I give an overview of exactly where you can locate the numbers for Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest.
So, which is the best process for getting data and matching it to your goals? Any of these choices work, but it is very important to pick one method and STICK to it. And if you do decide to use a third party method to produce data reports, it is always a good idea to check the data on the platform every quarter or so, because your reports are only as good as the accuracy of the data. It would be a terrible thing to report on numbers that aren’t actually accurate!