Fortunately, most social media platforms have free analytic tools that allow you to easily measure the performance of your unit pages. Factors of performance include tracking reactions, page views, reach and more. No matter what your goals are – building awareness, communicating with key stakeholders, getting followers to take an action or changing audience behavior – analytics will help you understand who your most engaged audience is and how they’re interacting with your content.
Social media metrics are the data and statistics found on individual social media platforms. These numbers are the building blocks for providing insights into performance on various platforms. It is critical to take the numbers found in the metrics and add context and meaning to know what's working, what's not working and what strategy should be implemented going forward. It is this interpretation of the numbers that creates analytics, which is the "so what" of the numbers.
Remember that platforms use algorithms to rank content for their users. The metrics you receive are a reflection of how your content is performing against the algorithm. Platform algorithms are constantly changing to support their priorities, so it is important for Public Affairs and communication professionals to understand how each platform prioritizes the factors of performance.
While each individual platform has its own metrics, with varying terminology, there are general guidelines to follow when deciphering which data is important.
The "Triple-A" Mindset covers the who, what, where and why of social media. It is made up of audience, activity and actions.
- Audience consists of your fans, followers and friends.
- Activity reveals how your audience reacts to campaigns or messages, how they spread information across various social channels and the level of attention they give to you and your unit.
- Actions are the steps you take to achieve your commander’s goals and objectives. These are a direct result of the activity your audience has taken on your platform and content, as well as what activity you want them to do going forward.
Once you recognize who your audience is and what activities they participate in, this information should lead you to take actions that will contribute to your desired outcomes.
Metrics, like reach, engagement, people and video views and retention, are key to analyzing how your strategy is performing. Explore each of these metrics to better understand how to apply them to your social media strategy.