Are Your Social Media Assumptions Preventing Success?

Are Your Social Media Assumptions Preventing Success? Kevin Shively Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

As a social marketer, you have a lot on your plate. Because of that, you may be making assumptions that mean you miss out on some great opportunities.

Social Planning Fundamentals

One of the hats I wear here is as  the editor of the Simply Measured blog. In this role, I analyze our content and social promotion on a weekly basis.

I decided to mix it up a bit to make sure I wasn’t making those same assumptions. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be publishing a series of posts about challenging assumptions as a part of the social planning process, and finding different ways of looking for insight.

Looking for the Unexpected

Like most marketers, I have a personal Twitter account. I  mainly use it to get news and educational content, connect with interesting people, troll celebrities, and tell awful jokes that don’t land. But, like most marketers, my personal Twitter account also becomes a channel for the content my team produces at Simply Measured.  In our case, it’s content about social analytics, but regardless of the topic, as a marketer it’s almost impossible to keep work and personal Twittering separate.

I share a lot of content on Twitter: Our podcast, blog posts, studies, white papers,  company news, you name it.

And while I continually analyze the success of our branded content distribution channels, I never look into my own profiles. What, I wondered this morning as I was stirring the fruit into my delicious cup of greek yogurt, can I learn about my own audience and our Simply Measured content by looking at  the social analytics surrounding my own handle?

If you are new to social or aren’t in the habit of conducting regular analysis of your brand on social media, this process can (and should) be applied to any account. If you’re just looking for a fresh lens, try this on a non-brand account or a competitor’s Twitter handle. You might learn something you didn’t anticipate.

Validate Your Audience

The first step is to make sure you don’t have false assumptions about your current audience. By analyzing the profiles of your followers, you can determine if their interests align with your business.

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The Simply Measured Audience Analysis report breaks down profiles by frequently used keywords.

While outliers like Taye Diggs and Melissa Joan Hart follow me (which I promise isn’t a #humblebrag…they follow everyone), the vast majority of my audience works in the social marketing or digital marketing space. This is a good indicator that many of them would be interested in Simply Measured content and fall into our target demographic.

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This chart from the Simply Measured Audience Analysis report showcases the topics that your followers are considered experts in on Klout.

Try to pair your assumptions with a second source. Many of the users that follow me are Klout experts in social media, marketing, and other relevant topics. If I were to find that the majority worked in the pharmaceutical industry, for example, I might want to rethink my approach.

This audience analysis is important to do regularly so you’re on top of shifts as they happen, and not months down the road when it could adversely impact work you’ve already done.

Identify Engagement Trends

Since I’ve already validated the assumption that my audience is in line with our company’s audience, I can learn a lot about these users by the way they interact with me on Twitter.

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This chart from the Simply Measured Twitter Customer Service report shows when my audience is actively engaging with my account.

The post-lunch boredom seems to be strong amongst my followers, and since they align with our company audience, I’ll pass this info on to our community manager. She conducts these types of analyses on our company account all the time, but this could give us some valuable insight about our employee engagement programs, since their followers will likely share characteristics with mine.

Look for Outliers

Looking at engagement spikes is a great way to identify when tactics were successful. One of the ways I like to make this more relevant is by breaking engagement down by type.

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This chart from the Twitter Customer Service report breaks down engagement by type for easy analysis.

Looking at this specific chart, I see that I had three distinct spikes. The third seems to be driven by an influx of sent Tweets (sometimes I rant about things), but the first two are a different story. The first spike is driven almost exclusively by mentions, and the second spike is driven mainly by favorites. This gives me a great starting point for content analysis.

Looking for Content Trends

My highest-engaging content is Seahawks-related. I wrote a weekly post on the Seahawks website and our designer Matt and I put together a weekly infographic about the Seahawks on social media. The pain is still too real for me to focus on that.

When analyzing a personal account, not everything you Tweet about will be relevant. Filtering through the noise is necessary, just as it is with any type of analysis.

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The Twitter Engagement Megaphone from the Simply Measured Twitter Account report shows the cause and effect of activity related to your brand on Twitter.

In this case, I chose to look less at the traditional engagement metrics like Retweets, @mentions, and favorites, and instead focus on bitly clicks.

I’m not a Twitter influencer by any means. I have a modest following and only post an average of 11 times per day, but I noticed that while I don’t have a lot to look at in terms of engagement metrics, the links I share drive a significant amount of traffic.

Of the Tweets that drove the highest number of non-Seahawks related clicks, the top three were related to our podcast.


Since this is a new media type for us, the fact that there’s interest from a highly relevant audience is valuable for my team. This is frankly something that concerned us. New media types can be difficult to gauge since you don’t have a predictable baseline to help you determine value.

The fact that the tongue-in-cheek, “human” aspect is what drew people in with this Tweet will be something we consider during our promotion in the future as well.

While you shouldn’t expect lightning to strike through your analysis, the directional insight can pop up where you might not expect it, and give you new tactics to experiment with.  Be sure to subscribe to the Simply Measured blog and follow us on Twitter so you can stay in the loop as I continue this series next week.

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Kevin Shively

As the head of content marketing at Simply Measured, cohost of the #SimplySocial podcast, and generally delightful person, my job is to tell stories to the internet...You're welcome internet.