By tracking website traffic, bounce rate, search volume, online reviews, even the volume of mentions and relevant hashtags on social media, a brand can determine exactly who it’s most engaged demographic is, why they decided to purchase their product and what kind of experience they had.” – One Design Company

We all know social media and social data is important for modern businesses. It guides decision-making for both the consumer and the company. So how can we impact those decisions and influence interactions? How can we utilize data to measure and improve our customers’ online experience?

Over 1.7 billion people have active social media accounts worldwide. In a report by Deloitte Digital, 47 percent of people younger than 35 are influenced in their purchases by social media.

According to Angela Hausman of Digitalist Magazine, the consumer decision-making process happens in steps, and social media can affect it along the way.

See: Social Media for Live Events!

We, as consumers, believe we have gaps that need to be filled. If we see someone’s tweet about going to lunch in town, that might drive our hunger. If we see someone’s Instagram photos from their vacation, maybe that’s what’s going to entice us to put on our traveling shoes.

When reading online reviews, analyzing social media posts, and interacting with a company’s social media site — we gather information to make the best decision possible. Then we take to social media to review the product ourselves, influencing others to make — or not make — the same decision we made.

These interactions and feedback on social media can be analyzed by companies to further their goals and improve their presence on social networks through social data.

The social data that can be collected allows businesses to look at how many people are engaging with their posts, tweets, pictures, and blogs.

Most avid users of social media are excited when they reach 100 favorites on their most recent tweet, which is great. However, the data behind that tweet is the key to improving marketing strategies.

The analytics behind these posts show every way a potential customer interacts with the message. These interactions are called engagements. Replies, comments, retweets, shares, favorites, likes, mentions, and tags are all included in the engagement a consumer has with a company.

This is where social media marketing becomes useful. With social media data, we can get closer to pinpointing where customers are engaging as well as what links, images, and content are popular.

All of this information helps businesses improve the usefulness of their social media presence.

Impressions are utilized in social media data to measure the best time to share content, the amount of characters that should be in a post, and number of hashtags. With data on impressions, you can track what keywords attract customers and the type of posts that lead to the best consumer engagement.

Engagement and impressions work hand-in-hand. The number of engagements that turn into impressions gives insight to how many people are not just scrolling past, but acting upon, social media posts.

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From there, a business can further narrow their focus to connecting with users, sharing useful content, and focusing on certain platforms. Phrasing posts in the form of a question to encourage conversation, and responding to followers in a timely manner, can make the brand more personable.

By providing exclusive deals to followers, companies can gain a strong audience and improve traffic to their online sites and stores, leading to purchases. Analyzing social media accounts of competitors can determine which individual strategy is best for a company.

Social media is a powerful tool that can be analyzed and refined to define a brand and create a steady following. Ultimately, social media advertising done in a strategic and authentic way can have a bigger impact on a consumer’s perception of a brand, and ultimately, whether or not they decide to buy.

 Annie Gullickson and Taylor Gehrls, MITTERA Interns

Corporate Communications: Elyssa Shapiro, elyssa.shapiro@mittera.com

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