Social Media Analytics For Dummies: A Tutorial

July 18, 2015

Social media monitoring is one of the keys to your success online.


Without examining social media analytics and assessing the performance of your posts and social profiles, you are just playing a guessing game.

By guessing, you’re missing out on a serious understanding for your business—what content is and is not working.

Social data and metrics help you track your brand’s impact and reach online. It also helps you better engage your customers, build relationships, optimize your social media strategy and monitor your performance.

Importance Of Social Media Analytics

If you are using social media for business, you simply can’t ignore social media analytical data. Social media monitoring helps to develop a deeper understanding of how people are interacting with your brand, how they access and use your website, and what they are saying about you in the online community.


Analytics help you learn more about your customers. The more information you can collect about them, the better position you will be in to anticipate and serve their needs – whether it’s providing them with information they are seeking, answering a question, providing product and service options or helping them accomplish a task online.

The benefits of social analytics include:

  • More targeted posts and content
  • Saving money on advertising and marketing
  • A more optimized content marketing strategy
  • The ability to provide better customer service
  • The ability to see the ROI for your investment in social media

3 Key Social Media Monitoring Tasks

Overall, social media monitoring helps you accomplish 3 key tasks:

  1. Diagnose: Assess what is working and adjust your communication strategies and timing to improve results.
  2. Prioritize: Determine which content, social platforms, users, and other factors get priority. Use the social data to plan your strategies.
  3. Evaluate: Use the analytics data to determine the success of your strategy and overall value to your marketing strategy.

Now that you understand the importance of social analytics, let’s explore the different types of social media metrics you can measure.

Types Of Social Media Monitoring Metrics

One of the most important things to understand about social media analytics is that you can measure virtually anything, and many companies get caught up analyzing dozens and dozens of social media metrics. If you are just starting out, one of the best social media analytics tips to follow is that you can learn a lot by simply tracking the most important and popular metrics:

  • Conversions: Arguably the most important metric is conversions. From a social media perspective, a conversion is getting a user to take a desired action on your social media profiles. For example, on Facebook or LinkedIn, it could be commenting on a post; on Twitter, it could be a reply or retweet. Conversions are defined by you and can also include filling out an online form, signing up for your website, clicking through from social media to your website, or any other goal that helps you achieve your marketing objectives.
  • Reach: This is the size of the audience with which you are able to communicate. It can be defined on a per-post or overall reach basis.
  • Engagement: The total number of interactions (likes, shares, comments, +1s, retweets) on a post.
  • Impressions: This is how many people saw your post in their social media feeds.
  • Audience growth rate: The rate with which your social audience has grown in comparison to last week, month or year.
  • Visits vs unique visits: A comparison of the total number of visits and number of unique visitors who have not visited your site before.
  • Bounce rate: The number of people who land on your website and immediately leave your site.
  • Referral traffic: The amount of website traffic that is being driven from your social media accounts.
  • Influence scores: These scores provide you with a social rating of sorts based on your social media network and activity. Klout is perhaps the best known platform.

Naturally, some marketers prefer some metrics over others and believe some offer more value and insight. Some prefer clicks over retweets on Twitter, shares over likes, daily traffic over traffic on a per-post basis.

The important thing to keep in mind is to choose the metrics that provide you with the social data and information you need to make important business and marketing decisions.

Social Media Analytics Tools

There are two main ways you can approach social media monitoring: Using social media dashboards on the platforms themselves, or using third party social media analytics tools to track your campaigns.

Social Network Analytics Dashboards

All of the top social networks now have a built-in analytics dashboard for you to track your posts and campaigns:

Facebook Insights

This is available for all page admins. It provides you with stats for your posts, your page fans and reach.


How to access: Click the “insights” tab located on the top of your Facebook page.

Twitter Analytics

This provides you with a 28-day overview of your performance on Twitter. It provides data regarding clicks, mentions, favorites, retweets and impressions. You can export data and generate a variety of reports.


How to access: Go to and log in with your Twitter login.

LinkedIn (personal and business accounts)

LinkedIn collects data about personal and business profiles. For personal accounts, it provides you with data about who has viewed your profile, the reach of your posts, and more. For business profiles, it provides you with a breakdown of posts, followers, and network growth, including clicks, interactions, and engagement.


To access personal page data: Go to profile and click on “who’s viewed your profile” in the dropdown menu.

To access business page data: Go to your business page and click on “analytics.”

Pinterest Analytics

The Pinterest dashboard provides insights into followers, impressions, audience stats and engagement. You can view detailed reports to gain a better understanding of which boards and posts perform best. Analytics are available for personal and business pages.


How to access: Go to and login with your Pinterest login.

Google+ Insights

Google+ provides insights about your audience, engagement, and visibility for your personal and business pages.


How to access: From your Google+ page, click the “Manage Page” button and scroll down to the insights section.

Third Party Social Analytics Tools

There is no shortage of high quality social media analytics tools available. Some are available for free with options to upgrade, and some are available for a monthly subscription fee.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is not only for your website. You can also use it to measure social analytics for your website through social reports. The reports help you assess referral traffic from social networks, review content that is best to share, assess how visits from specific social platforms behave on your website and more.



Buffer offers both a free and a paid plan. With its free plan, you can track engagement stats for your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can also write and schedule posts, and you can use its link shortener to track the links’ performance.


Moz Analytics

A popular SEO tool, Moz Pro also provides you with built-in social media analytics to track your social media marketing efforts. You can breakdown traffic by social network and engagement. It supports Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. It is a fee-based subscription.



SproutSocial provides you with the best of both worlds – a social media management platform and analytics in one. It allows you to publish posts, track them, and view key data to help you better optimize your social campaigns. Analytics reports can be custom branded and exported.


Social Analytics

Social Analytics allows you to map your social reach and provides you with in-depth social data about your users, social reach and marketing efforts. You can import data from all major social networks you use.


Other Social Tools Worth Trying

4 Social Media Analytics Tips For Newbies

Here are some social media analytics tips to help you in your quest to master social analytics and become a social media star:

  1. You don’t have to measure everything: Measure what matters and what will help you achieve your business goals. Don’t get caught in analysis paralysis.
  2. Understand what you’re measuring: Numbers are meaningless if you don’t know why they’re relevant and how they can help you achieve your business or personal social media goals.
  3. Choose a select few social analytics tools that work for you: You don’t need to use all of them. Try out a few tools and use the ones that make the most sense for your business or personal needs.
  4. Look at social analytics from a holistic perspective: Avoid focusing solely on a single form of measurement. Think about things from a broad perspective and consider all the metrics you have access to.

What we’re trying to say is…

Social media monitoring should be approached with your business goals in mind. Use the above analytics tutorial and social media analytics tips as a starting point for integrating social analytics into your marketing and business strategy. Use social data to drive decisions about your brand’s online presence, how to better target and engage users, and how to improve your overall online marketing strategy.

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