Analyzing Social Media Audience Behavior: How To Do It With Smaller Budgets


According to eMarketer’s predictionsOpens a new window for 2020, the total spending on social networks was expected to cross $43 billion during that year. With such massive spending, brands naturally expect to maximize their revenues from social media platforms. Social media audience behavior reports play a significant role in achieving this goal.

Audience behavior reports provide valuable insights into your audience, including their interests, the type of content they interact with, their likes and dislikes, and their sentiments about your brand. Understanding these factors help you replicate your success and improve your offerings, leading to better conversions. While large brands may spend huge budgets on creating behavior reports, how can you, as an SMB, achieve it at a smaller budget?

Learn more: 5 Best Social Media Automation Tools To Save Time and Stay Ahead of Competition in 2021

1. Identify Your Stakeholders

Before you start creating your audience report, you need to understand who will be reading your reports. This step is necessary as each stakeholder looks at the report from a different perspective. For example, your marketing team may be interested in knowing how many likes, comments, and shares your post has garnered. They may be interested in determining how the campaign performed.

On the other hand, if your marketing director or the senior management is looking at the report, they may be more interested in conversions, revenues, or ROI. Alternatively, if other stakeholders such as the head of sales are involved, they may want to understand the number of leads generated.

Based on your audience, you can determine the metrics you will report and the level of detail you will get into when reporting them. It also helps you identify the tool you want to use to generate your reports.

Several tools such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social are available in the market that can help you generate in-depth reports about various metrics, from engagements to conversions and more. Here is an example of Sprout Social’s report builder.

Sprout social report builder

Source: Sprout SocialOpens a new window

2. Identify the Right Metrics To Measure

Once you identify your stakeholders, the next step is to identify the right metrics to measure. There are many metrics you can measure when it comes to audience behavior and how they interact with your content. Many social media analytics tools also offer a lot more metrics than you may generally measure, such as engagement rate and posting frequency.

At the same time, many marketers also measure the usual metrics such as likes and comments that may not be of much use for some of your stakeholders. Hence, you need to identify what metrics are essential for your stakeholders. Here are a few metrics you can measure other than the regular ones.

    • New followers: The new followers you get on social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram indicate that your content is reaching a newer audience interested in your content. However, if you are not careful, you may fall into the trap of considering it the best sign of your popularity.
    • Social shares: If people are retweeting or sharing your posts, it indicates that they like the content, and it may be of interest to them. Social shares help your content reach out to newer people who may be interested in your offering.
    • Audience: Social media analytics tools can give you valuable information about the audience interacting with your content. It can tell you about their location, interests, gender, language, occupation, etc. It can also help you identify who frequently interacts with your content and influencers.
    • Click-through and bounce rate: You can determine the number of people visiting your website through your social campaigns and compare them with visitors coming from other channels. Similarly, you can also calculate the bounce rate of visitors coming from social media. If the click-through rate is higher and the bounce rate is lower, it means that you are targeting the right audience on social media, and the traffic you are bringing is valuable.
    • Leads generated: These are people who have the potential to convert. Leads generated is also a valuable metric for revenue. If your gated content, contests, and newsletter subscriptions resonate with your audience, it can improve registrations.
    • Conversions: This is one of the most critical metrics for your stakeholders interested in measuring revenues and ROI. When more people move downward through your marketing funnel, it means that your content is attracting the right audience.
    • Social mentions: This metric shows who is talking about you on social platforms. Several tools, such as Mention, Hootsuite, and Talkwalker, help you analyze this metric.

Click-through rates can be useful for specific ecommerce platforms. But there are many tools that can help companies pinpoint the effectiveness of resources such as ads by tracking the journey from an ad click through to purchase into the CRM system. Content interaction patterns which show when users are the most active on the platform, such as the hour of the day or the day of the week, can also be great knowledge for a firm. In any case, choosing valuable benchmarks to compare these metrics might be the most valuable part of this type of analysis if the data is available.

– Paul HerreraOpens a new window , COO, MavenRoadOpens a new window

Learn more: How Does AI Help with Social Media Marketing? A Detailed Look

3. Select the Right Reporting Tools

Identifying the right social media analytics and reporting tools is as important as identifying the metrics you want to measure. While the tool you are exploring may provide a lot more metrics, you should also look out for features that will make your life simple. This is especially necessary if you are working with reports from different social media platforms. When deciding on analytics and reporting tool, you should consider the following:

    • When it comes to pricing, see what features are available with the free and paid version of the tool or platform. Consider whether you prefer an all-inclusive cost even if you may not use certain features. Or would you pay only for those features that are essential? Also, check for the payment structure and cancelation options.
    • Look for the tool’s integration capabilities. See if you can integrate it with other analytic tools and platforms, such as Google Analytics. Look for how well it integrates with platforms you commonly use or those essential for your business, such as email service providers and task management software. Further, see if it can be integrated with your CRM software.
    • See if the tool allows you to add individual features, which can boost its capabilities without paying more.
    • See whether the platform provides reports for all your essential and necessary social networks.
    • Look for tools that support downloading or exporting of reports. Further, see whether data sharing can be automated.
    • Check whether additional integrations and capabilities come at an extra cost. How much integration do you need for your tool, and how much are you willing to pay for it? Are you ready to let go of certain features? Are you okay with not automating certain tasks?
    • Look for the number of people your tool can send the report to.

According to Herrera, the following five factors are essential when selecting a social media reporting tool.

    • Check for the ability to standardize and compile metrics from various sources with a clear understanding of how each metric is contributing to the overall analysis. This is key due to the vast array of platforms people use and the differences in behavior across each of them.
    • It is necessary to have total transparency surrounding data extraction restrictions. This will help the firm know what will be available beforehand and prevent them from being misled by biased sample sizes or other factors before implementation.
    • Check for multi-language capabilities. This is especially important for multinational firms that need to understand their customer interaction patterns abroad and in countries with more restrictive API and data extraction protocols.
    • The tool should have self-service analytics. The ability to provide the user with a series of visual resources to perform a more in-depth and insightful analysis is necessary. This could be through widgets, dashboards, etc.
    • Look for extended study periods. The ability to track extended periods to analyze the seasonality of behaviors is essential. This will help firms plan based on studying previous periods.

4. Use Sentiment and Semantic Analysis To Understand Audience

While understanding your social media audience behavior in terms of metrics such as engagement, click-throughs, leads generated, and conversions is important, it is also necessary to understand their feelings and emotions. According to several scientific studies, purchase decisions are driven by emotions. Further, the audience keeps sharing their happiness and frustrations with brands on social media. Hence, it is necessary to keep a tab on how your products make your audience feel. This is where sentiment analysis helps you.

Sentiment analysis is a subset of social listening. It helps you understand your audience’s positive, negative, and neutral feelings when they mention your brand. It enables you to proactively interact with your audience directly. Here are a few ways you can analyze your audience’s sentiment.

    • Identify what platforms your audience is talking about you. Social media listening tools help you identify brand mentions on various social media platforms. At the same time, look out for popular review forums and third-party sites. For ecommerce brands, on-site reviews are particularly beneficial.
    • Use relevant terms that highlight your audience’s positive and negative emotions. For example, words like love, best, high-five, and thanks exemplify positive emotions. Hate, disappointed, avoid, and bad are examples of negative emotions.
    • Take context into account. Terms related to emotions alone may not tell you the full story. For example, the first comment on Netflix’s Facebook post below uses terms of negative emotions. However, the comment itself is praise.

Hence, it is necessary to put your brand’s mention into context.

The semantic analysis helps you better understand the structure and meaning of the conversation by classifying descriptions, expressions, and actions. You can understand the context better when you understand the language better. Hence, you should use a combination of human understanding and machine learning to obtain a complete understanding of your audience’s sentiments.

Herrera says, “The semantic analysis takes sentiment analysis to a deeper level by analyzing more sensitive differences among conversations about a brand. Ideally, both types would be used simultaneously to complement the findings of the respective studies. Additionally, in that way, random errors in the analysis of each will be minimized by comparing them together.”

MeaningCloudOpens a new window , LexalyticsOpens a new window , and ClarabridgeOpens a new window are a few sentiment analysis tools available in the market.

Learn more: What Makes an Ad Successful on Social Media? Pattern89 Has the Answer

Ready To Improve Your Social Media ROI?

Social media can be a powerful tool to grow your business once you understand your audience’s interactions and their sentiments concerning your brand. However, you do not need to spend big budgets to understand their behavior. Knowing what metrics to measure and using the right tools to analyze and report can help you achieve higher returns at a low cost. Hence, follow the steps mentioned above to understand your audience’s behavior and improve your social media ROI.

What other ways can SMBs measure social media audience behavior at a lower budget? We would love to hear from you on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .