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A 2022 Primer for Social Media Analytics

Starting with the new Meta Business Suite

Social media plays a pivotal role in small business marketing success. However, making the most of social platforms goes beyond engaging content and loyal followers. Social media analytics and campaign measurement tools let you know what’s working, what’s not, who your customers are and much more. The best part? Every dollar you spend on ads can be tracked for effectiveness.

There is a continuous stream of consumer information available for the taking. When audience and marketing data is analyzed, it can influence other business decisions, such as product or service development. While you can purchase ads and incorporate some paid tools, social platforms come with their own robust set of analytic tools you can tap into for free.

If you haven’t looked at the analytics dashboard behind your social media page much, or didn’t understand what you were looking at, this primer is for you.

What are social media analytics?
User interactions on social media create data points. Applications working in the background of social media platforms gather and organize this data, and present it to account administrators in a logical format on an analytic dashboard- tabbed pages with charts and numbers. Analytics are used to help shape your social media strategy and optimize user engagement with your brand for both organic (unpaid) and paid (ads) social media content.

Analytics on a laptop

Getting set up
For this example, we are going to examine Insights for a Facebook business page using the Meta Business Manager, but the general concepts of interpreting analytics can be applied to other platforms as well. Note: Meta is the new name for Facebook.

Some people have used their personal profile for their business instead of the business page, which is actually a violation of Facebook’s terms of service. Here’s how to tell the difference and what you should do about it.

A Facebook Profile. Everyone that signs up for Facebook gets a Profile, which is a personal account on the platform. You cannot have a business page without first creating a profile. You can connect people to your profile by adding them as “friends,” communicate on a personal level, and share photos, videos, and life updates. You can hide most of your profile for people other than friends if you choose. You can only have one profile under your name, but under that profile you can have many pages for different purposes, including your business. There is a link to your pages from your profile.

A Facebook Page. This is a business account that represents a company, club or other type of organization. A Facebook page allows you to set up a paid ads account. It has followers who have engaged with the page by “liking” it. There is no limit to the number of Pages you can manage. Your personal user name and profile is not revealed on a business page.

If you are setting up a Facebook business page for the first time, follow these instructions. If you have not yet set up or connected an Instagram business page to Meta, it is recommended you do so. Not only is Instagram the third most popular social media app behind Facebook and YouTube, the audience skews a bit younger than Facebook, expanding your reach. It takes very little time to cross post to Instagram from Meta Business Suite. View this article to learn how to connect Instagram to Meta.

Using Meta Business Suite
You can access Meta Business Suite from desktop or mobile. It’s recommended to set up and first get acquainted with the tools on a desktop. Once you log into Facebook and go to your business page, click on Meta Business Suite right under your page name.

The business suite landing page gives you a snapshot of insights from Facebook and Instagram, including user comments, recent post snippets and information like page reach and audience, plus news from Meta.

How to interpret basic analytics using Insights
Insights is an analytics dashboard inside Meta Business Suite where you can track user behavior and post performance across Facebook and Instagram in one place. Here you can view key metrics like page views and post reach for paid and organic posts, trends, and reports to see which strategies work well and where to make improvements. You can then optimize the way you spend your time and resources.

In the left menu, click Insights. The first thing you want to do on the Insights dashboard is adjust the time frame in the far upper right corner by clicking the down triangle.  There are some quick pre-set options, but you can also select a custom date range. Practice changing the date range to select the entire last month by clicking on the first, then last day of the month. Click “update” to close the calendar.

In the “Results” section in the middle of the page, you should see a snapshot of your page performance. The first graph are results from ads, or “Paid Reach”. The middle and right graphs represent your Facebook page reach and Instagram reach. Click on See results report at the bottom of the segment to see more detail.  You can then export the data to a variety of file types. A CSV can be opened in Excel if you need to further work with the data.

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It is good to look at the Results section at various times, such as the day after launching a new ad campaign, when a campaign ends, or at the close of the month to see a 30-day snapshot.

The Content section is similarly formatted information on posts. Note what type of post has the most penetration with audiences (reach), and which post garnered a lot of reactions, such as likes. If there are posts that got no reach or interaction, it’s time to try a new approach.

The last section is Audience. There is some basic information on the Insights landing page showing you male/female and age demographics of your audience. Click the See results report link for more detailed information, including the cities and countries your audience is logging in from.

Final notes
We’ve covered the basics to track, measure and analyze engagement and performance to optimize social media for your small business.

Unfortunately, Meta seems to have removed a key feature that allowed one to track competitor’s reach on recent campaigns. Third party paid apps, like SEMrush, can expand the analytic data set tremendously, and provide competitor insight. Alternatively, an option like Hootsuite provides an all-in-one solution to do advanced post scheduling, ad campaigns and guided analytics to up your game on optimizing social media for your brand.

However, if you are just starting out in analytics or ad campaigns, start within the platform itself. Do some experimenting and get a full grasp of interpreting data before moving on to paid apps.

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