Social Media Analytics 101: All About Audience

Social media is an amazing tool for getting a brand’s message to target consumers. A key first step of social analysis is determining just who the audience is, and more specifically, who the audience is for each platform.

Once you determine audience, you can then focus on creating content that appeals to that demographic. Different demographics use social media platforms differently, and there is a ton of research from places like the Pew Research Center that break down these differences. A social analysis might tell you that LinkedIn won’t generate many followers/consumers for an apparel company aimed at Gen Z, but it can be a place where you can highlight company culture in your hip, urban office.

Audience Demographics

Once you assess your goals for a page, you can then track how they are being met. If you want to raise awareness, let’s say for a mommy-and-me class, you can track how your audience is growing among women of childbearing age. One of my favorite social analytic tools is the breakdown of audience demographics. You can get extremely detailed information about the people who like or follow your page.

  • Twitter: Audience insights are found under the “Audiences” tab on the analytics dashboard. Twitter provides one of the more robust breakdowns—interests, occupation, consumer buying styles, political party affiliation, and household income are all some of the audience aspects it tracks. It also tracks the usual demographics, such as age and location. An interesting thing about Twitter analytics is that you can add comparison audiences, enabling you to compare your audience’s interests with those of all users on Twitter.
  • Facebook: Demographic data is found on the “Insights” page, under “People” on the left-hand analytics menu. “People” breaks down fans, followers, people reached, and people engaged. It shows you men vs. women and their age categories, as well as countries, cities, and languages.
  • LinkedIn: Audience demographics on LinkedIn can be tracked among both visitors and followers, each with its own tab under “Analytics.” You can see what industry people work in, their job function, and even seniority.
  • Instagram: Instagram provides a lot less data than the other platform, but you can still get important information such as gender and age range. A useful insight is that you can see what days and times your audience is on Instagram, which can help you schedule posts so they can be seen by the most people.

You can also use this information to see which demographics your page is popular with, even outside of your target demographic. This can be extremely helpful for determining audience when launching a new brand, or in creating new content. Say your LinkedIn page has a lot of entry-level followers—you can curate content that highlights company culture, which in turn helps to attract talent. If it has a lot of senior-level followers, you can publish blogs from executives to position them as thought-leaders in their industry.

Demographics are also key for ads. Once you understand your audience for a page, as much as down to their interests, you can then tailor your ads to match those interests and then also target the ad to people that share that interest. Ads that cater to the things your audience actually likes will do far better, and will increase impressions for your page as people will be more likely to engage with and share the ad.

Tracking Audience Growth

One of the most important tools in audience analytics is tracking growth over time. Social media is so valuable because it has the potential for your content to be seen by a very large audience—81% of people used social media daily in 2017—and to be able to track audience growth in real time.

  • Twitter: Twitter tracks how many new followers you get each month.
  • Facebook: On the “Followers” tab under “Insights,” you can track net followers, how many people are viewing your page broken down by demographics like age and city, and where they are coming from when viewing the page (i.e. coming from your website).
  • LinkedIn: Under “Followers” in “Analytics,” you can track how much your audience is growing over time by comparing the increase to previous date ranges. Right below is a great perk of LinkedIn Analytics—you can compare your audience growth with that of your competitors.
  • Instagram: Instagram tracks how much your followers increase or decrease over week-long periods, as well as the change in how many accounts you reach. This information is found in “Insights.

If you notice your page is doing well among teenage boys, and you want to grow that audience, you can go one step further and create a follower campaign for that very demographic. Follower campaigns are similar in structure and execution to ads, but they focus on people who are outside of your current follower base that meet certain demographic requirements that you set. This makes it both easy to grow your audience in general, as well as grow it among your target audience.

Analyzing a social media audience can seem daunting at first, but the more you play around with it and familiarize yourself with the different metrics, the more insights you can glean from it.

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