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5 Ways to Put Context Around Your Social Media Metrics

Reporting on social media is all about telling a story, and compelling stories require context. Context is the key to turning data into insights. It may seem impressive to say your Facebook following increased by 500% or that you are outperforming the competition on Twitter, but without out any context these data points can be meaningless. Here are five ways to place context around your social media data so that you can tell a more compelling story and deliver insights in your reports.

For the analysis in this post, we are using Cheerios’ social media presence as an example. Disclaimer: all goals and non-social media numbers are sample data.

1. Benchmark KPIs Against Goals

Maybe your marketing team has been charged with reaching 10,000 Twitter followers in the next 6 months. Or perhaps in an effort to improve engagement with your Fans, targets have been set to improve responsiveness.  By benchmarking your social media KPIs against your goals, you can monitor progress and refine your tactics. Both of which will help you more quickly reach those goals.

2. Give Your Data Market Context

Proactively contextualizing how your brand performs against the competition can also provide valuable insights. For example, maybe you are crushing all of your internal social media metrics, month after month. But, when compared to the competition you find that your brand is leagues behind. In this scenario, you may need to rethink your goals and your approach.

We can clearly see (above) that Cheerios out performs the competition in terms of Facebook audience size. However, when we dig deeper and put competitive context around engagement, we see areas for improvement as their engagement rate is below the industry averages.

3. Score Your Channels

It is also important to take a step back and look at how your different social media channels compare against each other. By regularly “scoring” them, you can identify opportunities for improvement and prioritize where you should focus your efforts.

Here, we see that a big opportunity may exist for Cheerios on Twitter. Their following is significantly less than Facebook as is engagement. A great next step for Cheerios would be to evaluate what is effective on Facebook and apply those learnings to their Twitter strategy.

4. Stack Yourself Against the Superstars – Aspirational Context

Each social media channel has its superstars: the brands and personalities who are always consistently leading the way in terms of engagement, network size, and influence. It might seem like a scary endeavor, but comparing yourself against them can help you set your stretch goals. You might even find that you aren’t as different from them as you thought.

5. Measure Against the Whole

Finally, everything needs to be put in perspective of your greater marketing goals and priorities. This can help you evaluate how social media fits into your organizational strategies. And this type of context is also a great high-level view to provide regularly to management!

Disclaimer: All non-social media data listed in this image is sample data. THESE ARE NOT ACTUALS.

Want to place your social media efforts in context? Then sign up for a free Simply Measured account, today.

Adam Schoenfeld

Adam is the Co-Founder and VP of Strategy at Simply Measured. In 2010 (aka the dark ages of social marketing), Adam joined Damon Cortesi and Aviel Ginzburg to found "Untitled Startup, Inc" with the goal of helping marketers and analysts use social data to do their best work. The company quickly evolved to become Simply Measured and the trusted leader in social analytics. Outside of Simply Measured, Adam is a golfer, breakfast enthusiast, and long-time data geek.

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