4 Tips To Turn Social Media Metrics Into Insights

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About our guest blogger: Jordan Steinert is the Digital & Social Media Manager at Milwaukee-based Cousins Subs where he focuses on growing the brand's digital footprint and perfecting the online customer experience. Connect with Jordan on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter. Learn more about guest blogging on MediaLeaders.


Blond woman drawing an analytical graphToday, we have so much data, and so few insights. While data and measurement play a key role in nearly every industry, in Social Media, metrics provide cold, hard facts to help you understand if your social efforts are successful, or not. Most social media sites provide native analytics tools, in addition to a handful of third-party providers, who battle to give marketers a broader, more robust look at social data.

But what are these platforms not telling you? Tools are only as good as the people using them. That’s why you need to have a social media metrics evaluation process in place:


  1. Take a Top-Down Approach to Find Insight — Not Just Metrics
  2. The best way to improve your social media campaigns is to turn data into stories.

    Start with the business goal your brand is trying to achieve. Next, outline how your social strategy will help you attain your business goals. Ask yourself: What social metrics reflect your progress to your business goals? By using this top-down approach, you can focus on the metrics that accurately reflect what you’re trying to achieve for your business with social media. This is where you begin to find insight—not just metrics.


  3. Data Storytelling: Provide Context Around Key Metrics
  4. By using this top-down approach, you can focus on the metrics that accurately reflect what you’re trying to achieve.

    The best way to improve your social media campaigns is to turn data into stories. For example, "We have 200,000 followers" is a stat. A big stat, but just a stat. Here is a story: "We presently have 200,000 followers, up from 100,000 last year, with 55 percent of the new users accessing our content via mobile.” The story gives specific details, which are insight into how your audience is growing, shifting, and changing its behavior.

    Giving your social data enough context will help your company understand why they should care about the data you're sharing. And good storytelling is all about the details.


  5. Apply the Insights That You've Gained
  6. Apply the insight that you have gained and add to your story.

    Insight doesn’t drive revenue. Companies need to be internally prepared to leverage real-time analytics. Now it seems straightforward, but far too often we report on the successes and leave it at that. Apply the insight that you have gained and add to your story. The small wins over time will add value to your company’s bottom line.


  7. Make Sure Your Data is Representative and Honest
  8. Strong data and insights should be sourced, easily found, and replicable.

    Strong data and insights should be sourced, easily found, and replicable. It will not have an asterisk explaining that the stat was a one-day high, an all-time record, or only true on Tuesdays. If you look for big, brag-worthy numbers, make sure they're representative and honest.

    Do the insights resonate? Once you are comfortable with the conclusions and insights you’ve captured, ask others who were part of the campaign for feedback to get their reactions. Be sure to give them the context. Tell them the story. Do they understand and see the points you’re making? The insights and story you provide will decide if they are compelling enough to make or affect key decisions. The success of this approach is contingent on the quality (not necessarily the quantity) of the data set. Let’s hear your best data success story. Share with us below in the comments!