What to do if there is no social media budget? Looking at Social Media Analytics

Paige Mahoney-Nagle    March 2, 2015

Industry: Not for Profit (Summer Camp & Outdoor and Environmental Education)

Name of contact if availablePaige Mahoney-Nagle

Web References: UberVu via HootSuite, Facebook, Twitter, Digital Information World

Social Media Networks are now widely used among all kinds of and sizes of business around the world. Businesses use these networks to promote their products, share events, build the community, expand the reach of their brand among other things. This means that there is the need to see how your work in social media is performing so that you can produce and share the most relevant content and truly appeal to those who are following you and entice other to start. This information can be found through a variety of measurable items called Social Media Metrics.
“Social media can be an incredibly important business tool. But if you’re not analyzing the data behind social, you’re missing out on important insights that can inform important decisions and help you achieve real results. To find those insights, you need to be tracking the right social metrics around your industry, company, products, competition and more.”

What are Social Media Metrics?

“Social metrics is the relatively young science of measuring social media to determine what kind of impact it is having.”
Metrics can be anything from the number of visitors to your page, the number of likes, comments, shares of your posts to the demographics of those engaging with your content and what websites or links have led them to your social media.

Why are they important for businesses using social media?

Metrics and the analysis we do of them varies from business to business based on what you are trying to achieve with your social networks. Some are trying to sell their product and use metrics to measure if their social mediums are the right location do be marketing and to whom they should be marketing based on what their following is. For the purposes of this case study we are actually going to look at metrics that are of use when you are trying to create an online community and engage with your following but also to extend the reach of your brand name, not necessarily actively try to market products to them. To do this metrics become important so that we can analyze our posts to see what is valuable to our community, what are they looking to see. And by looking into the engagement and the metrics we receive off of our social media posts we can work on tailoring our information to better engage and grow our community.

Social MediaWhat kinds of tools are available for business looking to analyze Social Media Metrics?

There is a multitude of tools out there to help businesses collect social media data and break it down into reportable data that can be used to analyze how their social networks are preforming.
Hootsuite, Simply Measured, Klout, Buffer, SproutSocial and many more are great tools where they can combine the data from your different networks and present them to you in charts & graphs, manageable data that you can gain insights from. The downside of these tools though is that a lack of funds by small businesses or not for profits means a lack of access to these tools. Organizations become stuck trying to use different analytics with free trial offers or if the businesses do offer a free option it’s likely lacking components that are helpful: being able to have access to more than just a few of your networks in one space, having to create individual reports that don’t cross the networks or just general limitations that then entice you to upgrade to the premium version of these tools to get the kind of help you’re looking for.
Facebook Analytics

Facebook Analytics brings you all sorts of data like; new likes, post reach, where your visitors are coming from, how engaged different posts are, where people are from, how old they are. All of which can be used to modify how you share and create content to share through social media.

So what to do if you have no Social Media Budget? Where are the tools for Not for Profits that can’t necessarily afford analytic tools?

This bring me to my search for the FREE Social Media Analytic Tools!

I am currently working on the social networks for a not-for-profit Summer Camp, Outdoor and Environmental Education Centres. We are engaging with our community on Facebook (2 pages), Twitter (2 accounts), Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. As a not-for-profit it means that we have several people who plug along on the content and ideas in addition to their normal tasks as we have not yet hit a point where we are able to have a dedicated Social Media Manager. As we try to build up these accounts and interact with the public it’s necessary to be able to see what our demographics are like for the different networks and what kind of content they are interested in. In an ideal world there would be a way for us to have access for all of the analytics for all of the social media platforms in one location to make it easier to compare and contrast. After thoroughly searching around and only finding either paid tools or tools that had a free option but all the features I was looking for were a part of the premium upgrade (paid). I decided that likely the best available option for those of us with no budget looking for clear easy to use and interpret data was right under my nose. The analytics that have now been built into the different social networks that we use for our business seem to be the best option to gain insight into how social media is working for us.
They show us who our new followers are, what content is being liked, shared and commented on most often, when it is better based on our following on different networks to share content, where our following is from and what kind of information they are looking for. They have allowed us insight so that we know that our Main Facebook Page is primarily made up of Summer Camp Families and Alumni which is why our #ThrowbackThursdays and Summer Camp Content usually result in the most engagement (comments, likes, shares, click throughs). Whereas for our Environmental Centre Facebook Page we see that the content shared about local events, nature activities or teaching tools and tips tend to earn the greater response, showing that we have more engagement through people in our local community, teachers and educators on that page.
Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics Offers Data in regards to impressions and engagement with your tweets as well as offering insight into what your follower demographic looks like (where they are from, what their interests are and who else they are following)

Lessons Learned:

– There are great tools out there to help analyze social media metrics for your business and are selected based on the compatibility to the businesses’ social media goals. The tools are there to make social media engagement and communications for effective.
– For those with no budget there are free tools or sample reports to try out there and perhaps they would work for your organization but they can be limiting. Sometime it’s easier just to gather the information from the source.
– Most Social Networks have analytics built right into their systems, why not use the programs built by the people who know the social network the best? Especially when these tools are free to use.
– Using Social Media Metrics is key to bettering your Social Media presence and your communications with your Followers. If you’re posting things that they do not engage with, why then should they continue to engage? You have to find content that is meaningful to them.
I leave you with an example of one of the most engaged content we have shared, something that we look forward to doing some more of with different activities around our Centres. To see the original through the Facebook Page CLICK HERE.

Submitted By: Paige Mahoney-Nagle, SMBP student, University of Waterloo

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.