The global COVID-19 pandemic has increased the time spent on social media, according to the Digital 2020 July Global Statshot report. 70% of internet users aged 16-64 reported spending more time on their phones while 46% reported spending longer using social media.
It is clear that numbers tell an important story, but even more crucial is how we interpret those numbers. Analysing your insights data allows you to evaluate the success of your social media profiles.
In this blog, we break down the use of insights to optimise and refine your ongoing social media strategy, making improvements based on real-time data.
What are social media insights?
Social media insights consist of data and statistics used to understand the success of social media performance. You don’t just have access to the number of likes and shares you have received on a particular post; insights allow you to create an in-depth profile of the different types of people who are engaging with, and responding to, the material you post.
How to use data and insights in your social strategy
1. Maximise engagement with posting times:
There are various theories on the best times to post. However, it’s important to use your insights so you can make posting times specific for YOUR followers. You should also recognise that these patterns of behavior are subject to change, so what has worked for the past few years may not work anymore.
Looking at when your posts are received, and on what day of the week they are generally the most successful, is a simple way to achieve great results. Once you’ve worked out the best time of day to post, you can then create a consistent schedule.
It’s also important to keep in mind that societal changes (such as lockdown measures during a pandemic) are likely to affect these optimal posting times. For example, far fewer people are commuting, so they may not be using that 7am-9am window for checking social media on the train, instead using it for exercise or extra sleep.
2. Refine the types of content you post:
One of the most important components in revolutionising your social media is to always keep your audience in mind. If you know who your followers are, then you will know how best to reach their needs. You need to target what they want, and you can do this by looking at the gender, age, location etc. and then provide relevant content to match that criteria.
Use engagement data to identify themes and aesthetic styles that capture your audience, and then try to replicate these as part of your strategy. It can help your brand consistency and you can capitalize on what you know works. At the same time, remember that new themes emerge all the time, so keep your approach fresh and responsive to current events – don’t repeat yourself!
You also need to carefully consider formats and channels. Although Instagram Reels is a new and exciting feature, it might not necessarily be the most relevant to your audience. Similarly, if your audience doesn’t respond to you on Twitter, ask whether it’s worth spending the time to put content on there. There’s no harm in trying different channels and formats, but use the data to understand which work best – and stick to them.
3. Understand the journey of your consumers:
According to GlobalWebIndex, 50% of female internet users report using social media when looking for more information about a brand. Social channels are fast becoming an important research avenue and your insights can help you to understand this process.
Data can help highlight the path users are taking towards purchasing your services or buying into your brand. Do they interact with your brand and what you post? How many people are going from your social media profiles straight through to your website? What percentage of those people are converting?
All of these questions can be answered through the use of insights. By setting up Google Analytics, you can see the direct impact your social media profiles have on encouraging traffic to your website. Then you can look at the possible ways your social media accounts could streamline that purchase journey – for example, through Instagram Shopping.
It’s also important to use real-time data to understand any changes in consumer behaviour on social media, particularly in the current climate. This could be the type of content that resonates with your existing audience (for example, people might have more time for video content or may find personal content more comforting). Or, it could be the evolution of your audience to include new types of people (for example, a fitness brand may have found themselves reaching new audiences during lockdown). Then, use your understanding of the changes to evolve your approach!
Your social media data will ultimately tell you the best way to create engaging and compelling content. Using insights on a continuous basis to evolve your strategy should lead to positive growth in your social media accounts and allow you to do so in an organic fashion.
Kate O’Sullivan is the Managing Director of ADPR, a PR and communications agency with over 29 years of experience in creating and delivering strategic communications campaigns for its clients across a wide range of sectors.