Running the Numbers on Social Media

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Running the Numbers on Social Media

Social media marketing is a science, not an art.

It may sound brutal but making assumptions as you go along can be fatal to your online presence and to your business. Fortunately, we have analytics. With the plethora of social media analytics tools and the wealth of data available to social media marketers, there is no need to play a guessing game at who your market is, or what they want, or where they live or what they eat for breakfast.

Whether you're starting out or have an established business, take the time to really investigate your audience demographics on each social media platform. Using a funnel method, audit your audience to identify the data points that light up for you. At the wide end, you have your total audience and at the narrow end, you have that part of your audience that offers profitable interaction.

Analysing your audience can reveal where your focus can be fine-tuned to increase sales while reducing your ad spend. This is a particularly useful approach for the business experiencing high traffic and low sales. By focusing attention on where you're achieving a good return on investment, you can more accurately identify your target market and reach them effectively and with impact.

Data points on different social media platforms can inform where your ad spend is best invested. If the demographics of your target market don't match up substantially with the demographics of the platform, you'll know you would be wasting your budget advertising on it.

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For example, most Instagram users are under 30 and women outnumber men on Pinterest by a large margin. Advertising a B2B product in the construction industry on Pinterest is unlikely to yield profits, and advertising assisted living products and stairlifts on Instagram might not be the best use of your ad spend.

While these data points might give you a general idea of where you should invest your ad spend, you'll need a clearer idea of your audience to get real results. In addition to the audience audit, consider using a social media dashboard to help you identify where your target market is spending their social media time.

Running the numbers can be confusing given the sheer volume of metrics available to advertisers today. Once you have a broad idea of what metrics are out there, make sure you choose to follow only those metrics that matter to your brand and your business. 'Likes' are great for your self-esteem, but are they bringing in business? Metrics must be meaningful and represent real value.

Finally, know your competitors and watch them closely. If they're doing exceptionally well, you might want to dig deeper into what they're doing with a competitor analysis service or tool. While it won't serve you well to steal their strategy, knowing what's working for them can help you build a more informed social media strategy and define how you will differentiate and promote your brand.

In short, a social media strategy must be data-driven, research-informed and results-focused. Taking a scientific and systematic approach to your social media presence by running the numbers will not only give shape and form to your strategy, it will yield better results at a lower cost.

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