Social media is a competitive space for businesses. The majority of today’s consumers use social media, and not just for social purposes. Many social media users also use various social apps to discover and interact with brands. Or in other words, they use social media to influence or inform their purchase decisions.
As such, it is crucial for brands to have a quality social media strategy. With such a large audience seemingly at one’s fingertips, the ability to engage customers and build a community around your brand on social is an incredibly beneficial and necessary marketing tool.
Of course, developing the right social media strategy for your brand is not always easy. You need to be both practical and creative, and it requires doing some research. Simply doing what everyone else on social media is doing or just coming up with the most creative marketing ideas likely won’t cut it.
Looking at what your competitors are doing and being creative is part of the game, but you also need to analyze data and do your research to specifically understand your target audience and what is and is not working for you. Your business is unique, as are your customers — thus, your marketing strategy should be unique as well if you want to boost engagement.
This article will look at how businesses can utilize data to improve their social media strategy, improve engagement, and grow their brand presence, as well as what to avoid when using data to inform your decisions.
How to Use Data to Improve Your Social Media Strategy and Boost Engagement
Though social media has been around for years now, it is not losing any traction and isn’t likely to any time soon.
Statistics show that consumers are still highly active on social media. Facebook, for example, one of the oldest social media platforms, still has nearly 3 billion active users. And Instagram, one of the most popular platforms today, has 2 billion users.
Now, of course, there is also Tik Tok, which is quickly gaining in popularity with 1 million users. Twitter also still going strong with around 200 million users. But why do these numbers matter?
Well, it’s not just proof that having a social media presence is necessary for brands, but it also shows you just how many users there are, which means simple, outdated marketing tactics just won’t cut it.
The social media consumer base is vast, and the only way to reach them is to continually develop fresh content that is driven by data. Using data helps you better understand your consumers, what content will resonate with them, and how your content is performing so you can make adjustments and improvements as needed.
So let’s take a look at the many ways you can use data to improve your social media marketing:
1. Understand Your Target Demographic
First, and most importantly, collecting and analyzing qualitative customer data can help you better understand your target audience.
Before you even start developing content, you need to know who your customers are, what they what or need, and what motivates or influences them. It is also helpful to gather data on current customers to see how they feel about your brand and the products or services you are already providing.
Overall, once you know your customers better, you can then figure out what social media content will resonate most with them and spur them to take action. Your business can also use this data to make changes to your products and services as well if needed.
2. Improve Your Social Media Content
Of course, once you’ve analyzed your customer data, the next step towards boosting engagement on platforms like Instagram or Twitter is to create valuable, quality content. This means using data to inform the content you create to make it more appealing, such as changing up graphics, text, colour schemes, messaging, and even types of posts.
The most engaging social media strategies use a wide variety of content, from static posts and ads to video content and live stories. You also want to make sure you are using the right hashtags and location tags to ensure your content is reaching the right audiences.
3. Determine What Is and Is Not Working
Your content and overall social media strategy should be executed with a specific goal in mind. Data can help you determine what content is working and helping you achieve your goal, and what isn’t.
If you simply post content without a goal or never check metrics to see how your content is performing, then you are essentially working blind and will have a harder time boosting sales and engagement.
So always use data not only to determine what content you create initially but to also check in regularly to see how your content is performing. This will allow you to identify your best-performing and your lowest-performing posts and ads so you can make adjustments as needed.
4. Analyze Engagement Metrics
Your engagement metrics are also important when developing a quality social media strategy. This kind of data won’t necessarily tell you if your content is or is not meeting a specific goal, but it can inform you of how well your customers like your content.
Generally, the more engaged and interested your customers are, the more positive an opinion they will have of your brand, which does mean that you should start meeting your goals and boosting sales over time.
Engagement metrics tell you how your customers feel about your brand and how they are reacting to your content, which is essential when trying to encourage or influence them to buy your products or services.
5. Identify Social Trends
While it’s never a good idea to just copy what everyone else is doing, it is important to know what is trending so you aren’t completely off-base with your content. So it is wise to use data to research what is and is not trending or relevant at the moment to inform your decisions about the content you create.
You want to be unique, and creative, yes, but you should also be on-trend if you want to appeal to current consumer sentiment. However, studying and analyzing current trends can also help you identify what might be trending in the future, which can help you get ahead of the market and develop more innovative content that hasn’t been done yet.
6. Compare Effectiveness of Platforms
There are various social platforms that consumers use today, but not all of those platforms might be right for your brand.
By analyzing metrics and performance data, you can determine which platforms are working for you and which aren’t. This will allow you to instead focus on the ones that are most effective, or it can help you make adjustments to your strategy on other platforms.
How to Use Data to Boost Social Media Engagement
Here are some simple strategies for using data to boost social media engagement:
- Understand your target demographic.
- Improve your social media content.
- Determine what is and is not working.
- Analyze engagement metrics.
- Identify social trends.
- Compare the effectiveness of platforms.
What to Avoid When Using Data
Of course, as useful as data is when it comes to developing better marketing strategies and boosting engagement, it can also overwhelm and muddle the process if you aren’t careful. Though the act of gathering and analyzing data might sound easy enough, it is a complex process.
It can take a lot of time and effort to find the right data, for example, and to learn how to interpret it to extract meaning and value. In the process of sorting through so much data, it can be easy for brands to develop something called analysis paralysis.
Analysis paralysis is essentially what happens when brands get lost or confused by all the data they are trying to collect and interpret. Instead of the data helping them create better content, it can result in content that is stale and meaningless.
So, when using data, it is important to use the right methods and execute a good analytics strategy that informs but doesn’t overwhelm. Essentially, you want to maintain focus but also remain fluid and flexible.
If you are basing everything you do on data alone, it can result in a loss of focus on what really matters. Instead, your data strategy should guide you, and you can use it to help better inform your decisions — but it should not be the basket you put all of your eggs into. Data itself is not the answer, it is just another tool that can be used to help you get the answers you need.
As long as you keep this in mind, data can be an incredibly valuable tool when it comes to creating quality social media content to help you boost engagement and grow your business.
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Ainsley Lawrence is a writer who loves to talk about good health, balanced life, and better living through technology. She is frequently lost in a good book.