Creating engaging content and encouraging your audience to engage with your brand are important pieces of a successful social media program. This is evident when you speak with many social marketers who tend to focus a great deal of effort on increasing engagement levels and expanding their audience.
Less attention seems to be paid to who is engaging, how often they engage, and what they are saying. These pieces of information, however, are vitally important to truly understanding how your social media efforts impact your audience.
When you take your analysis from a platform or cross platform level down to the level of individuals, you open up a whole new realm of insights that can help shape not only how you engage at a platform level but more importantly how you engage with different individuals.
At the individual level, there should be both quantitative and qualitative analysis conducted which when combined will complete the full picture of each individual who is engaging with your brand.
It may seem overwhelming at first when you’re faced with the task of analyzing at the individual level, which is likely why it often doesn't occur, but the results are well worth the required effort and resources. The key is to understand which members of your audience are most important to your brand or influential to your audience. This is not easily done without a fairly sophisticated tool that can ingest your brands Facebook, Twitter, and other social platform engagement data and then rank the brands audience based on criteria that is custom to the specific brand. While these types of tools require an investment on the brand's part, they are incredibly valuable to any serious social media marketer.
Once your brands audience is ranked, you will be able to prioritize the individuals who are most important to your brand and who warrant more in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis.
In order to conduct the analysis at the individual level, you need to collect every engagement that each individual has with the brand on an ongoing basis. This includes all comments, Likes, and original posts made on your brands Facebook page and all retweets, replies, mentions, and direct messages received on your brands Twitter account. Again, this will require either a fairly sophisticated tool or the developer knowledge required to extract the data from the social platforms.
Once the data is in place, the true analysis can begin.
There are many ways to look at the data, but on the quantitative side, you will want to look at the frequency at which the individual engages with your brand. Is the individual’s engagement sustained, does it come in waves, or is it just periodic or one time engagements?
You can then also look at the volume of engagements segmented by engagement type. For example, the number of likes, comments, and original posts on Facebook and the number of retweets, replies, and mentions on Twitter.
These are just two examples of how to look at the quantitative data. As you begin your own analysis, you will find many other ways to extract value from the data related to the individuals engaging with your brand.
Quantitative analysis is nice, but combining it with qualitative analysis provides much greater insights into the relationship between your brand and the individuals. From a qualitative perspective, you can see what pieces of content the individual liked on Facebook or what tweets they retweeted on Twitter.
You can also look at the comments they leave on Facebook posts and see the types of original posts that elicit responses from the individual. This can also be done on Twitter where you look at the tweets that the individual replied to and what they say in their reply.
Another way to look at the data from a qualitative perspective is to look at the original posts that the individual adds to your brands Facebook page and the responses that the post generates. On Twitter, you can look at the tweets that the individual pushes out that mention your brand and the reaction that comes from those tweets. On Twitter you can also analyze other tweets from the individual that are relevant to the category that your brand competes in.
This type of quantitative and qualitative analysis allows you build engagement profiles of all the individuals who are connected to your brand in social channels. Alone, this provides very valuable information, but it can become even more valuable if you are able to take the engagement profiles that you have created and connect them to your customer database.
Making this connection allows you to not only understand how individuals engage with your brand over time, but also allows you to know how engagement patters translates into sales and how a sale may translate into engagement. This type of knowledge could lead to significant changes to your social engagement strategy.
While everyone who is engaging with your brand is important, you may now find it more valuable to pay extra attention to a particular individual who you know is a good customer or another individual who you know is a top engager or influencer for your brand. While this level of sophistication is difficult achieve, developing the tools in-house or purchasing a social media analytics tool that has these types of features will open up a whole new realm of possibilities by allowing you to move from platform or cross-platform level analysis to individual level analysis.