Do you need that fancy third-party tool to understand your social media analytics? How do you know if what you’re doing is working? How can you report on what you are doing to yorur manager?

All of these are important questions that we can answer with just a bit of analytical knowledge. First, we should define some terms that you will likely use to report on your social media:

  1. Reactions/Likes: the amount of people that have reacted to your post
  2. Reach (Facebook): The amount of people who saw any of your posts
  3. Impressions (Twitter): The total number of views of a tweet/conversation
  4. Engagement: The amount of people who have liked, commented, shared, retweeted, or clicked on your post

Of course, there many other metrics you can use as you dive deeper into your social media strategy, but these are sufficient to get started. More often than not, the best way to understand the impact of your social media strategy is to take all of the metrics identified above and then evaluate them on three occasions: per post, a weekly basis, and then a monthly basis. Some criteria to consider: Is one type of post getting more engagement than another? Does posting at a certain time yield a higher reach? Do people seem to react more to a photo post vs. a video post?

All of these are important to know, and they form the beginning of a social media strategy that is based on analytics and not impulse. The good news is that you can do all of this with the tools that each social media platform gives you. The bad news is, you will have to work to understand the analytics and report them to others. I find it is helpful to deal in contextualized numbers: “we reached this many people today, and this many people clicked or engaged with our posts.” That means that _% of people on our page/in our town/in our community have interacted with us.

Have a preferred way of looking at your analytics? Let me know your thoughts!