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If you’ve come to a blog called Data Mania, you probably expect a significant amount of data geekery. But not every entrepreneurial mind is data driven. Indeed, at the very mention of the word data some perfectly competent and talented entrepreneurs may run away screaming. They have made their businesses a success off the back of their creativity, inventiveness and almost intuitive understanding of the needs of their target market.
Thus, when it comes to marketing, they may not understand or acknowledge the benefits of a data driven approach. Their minds are creative and inventive and so they assume that the key to a successful marketing campaign lies in writing clever and engaging copy regularly, boxing clever with links and spamming your copy with #excessivehashtags. But while these are certainly elements of an effective marketing, you need a data driven approach to ensure that your voice is heard by the right people and that your marketing revenue isn’t wasted on trying to reach those who were never going to be all that interested in the products or services you offer.
This is why you need a data driven approach to social media marketing
Like pretty much anything else in business, digital marketing is in a constant state of evolution and the methods by which your customers try to target your shared base of leads are becoming increasingly sophisticated. In an age of mood mapping and spatially enabled customer analytics the ‘spray and pray’ approach is no longer justifiable (or cost effective). Customers know how much competition is out there and that they can afford to be more fickle than ever. It’s no longer enough to expect all those prospective leads to find you, you have to take the fight to them.
The trouble is that if you’re not tracking and analyzing your social media metrics, you’re wasting time and resources that SMEs can ill afford to waste. Sometimes it can feel like digital marketing is like sacrificing goats to pagan Gods. You place your trust in capricious and unknowable forces. But it needn’t be the same exercise month after month. Engaging with social media data can be daunting at first but it’s by far the best way of finding out exactly what your target market wants. If you are unsure how to engage with your social media data, a social media agency will be able to set you up with everything you need to know. While this may require some upfront investment, the benefits speak for themselves.
The benefits of data driven social marketing
As with any expenditure of capital, time or effort, entrepreneurs want to know that their investment will yield a healthy and quantifiable ROI. The beauty of data driven social media marketing is that it enables you to do exactly that while staying agile enough to make changes on the fly so that elements of the campaign that don’t yield the same interest can be scrapped and something more potentially effective can be tried out. Keeping a close eye on your data helps you to identify the right personas and audience for your brand, identify the best social media platforms to make your voice heard and improve the overall reach and efficacy of your social media campaigns. It’s also great for benchmarking against your competitors.
Where to begin
Your starting point should begin with a no doubt familiar activity… Goal setting. Having unparallelled access to data is all well and good, but if you don’t have a clearly designed and achievable idea of what you’ll use it for, they’re just numbers on a screen. When you have settled upon some goals that are specific to your social media campaign, your next step is to assign metrics to your goals…
A fairly common goal among nascent SMEs is to improve the reach of their brand. This is as good a starting point as any. Your reach will be predominantly determined by your follower count. You’ll likely have heard of this referred to as a vanity metric and while it doesn’t necessarily speak to quality of engagement, it does give you a rough idea of how many people you can expect to reach and so is worthy of expansion.
In order to grow your brand you need to identify the key influencers in your field. These are the people talking about your brand, your competitors or your industry. These guys will likely have a much larger reach than you and have the capacity to introduce your brand to a wide audience with quantifiable need for your business. Take a look at your mentions on social media, too. Weigh them up against how many mentions your competitors are getting. The results might be sobering, but they’re a string foundation upon which you can build.
You will likely also want to look at your inbound web traffic. The more people you can draw to your website or e-commerce platform, the more opportunities you have for conversion, right? Your first port of call here will be to look at your traffic sources, which platforms bring the most traffic to your content. This will enable you to determine which platforms are working for you and which are not. You should also track your most popular pages, as these will give you an idea of what content resonates with audiences and what doesn’t. Offer more of what works and your traffic is likely to increase.
Of course, traffic and reach amount to little if they don’t translate (either directly or indirectly) into sales. Here it’s especially important to track your conversion sources. Which platforms filter the most traffic through into sales (or at least quality engagement)? Some metrics tools will even allow you to assign a monetary value to your conversions, meaning that you can see where your investment is growing and where it’s floundering.
Tools of the trade
Finally, let’s take a look at some of the tools that will provide the valuable insight you will need to grow your brand. Google Analytics should be your first port of call as it offers detailed and comprehensive data and even lets you assign conversion points to your site, making conversions easier to track. While Google Analytics is extremely comprehensive, it might be a little baffling for neophytes. The Brand Grader is a slightly more accessible (and completely free) tool that gives you a snapshot of how your brand is doing online. It’s especially useful to comparing your brand to your competitors and giving you insights into where they’re doing better than you.
When you have a strong understanding of your data, your marketing campaigns will become much more focused and effective.