Social Media
How to Use Data Analytics For A Remarkable Social Media ROI

How to Use Data Analytics For A Remarkable Social Media ROI

August 2, 2016
5 min read

Someone once told me that the greatest thing about digital marketing is that we can see the results in an instant. What a great way to focus on social media ROI. But the worst thing about digital marketing is also that we generate so much data. Especially, when we can’t make sense of it. Take one network, a million fans and multiply this by the tens of campaigns you’re running and conversations you’re having. Without analytics, we’ll be left with rooms full of data with no insights.

Social media comes with fantastic opportunities and allows a brand to find a new voice. But it has a positive net effect on your brand ROI only when you use data to improve, test and reach your business goals. In this post, I will share some tips and ideas on how to use analytics to create a social media strategy that works!

How to Use Data Analytics For A Remarkable Social Media ROI

  1.  Know your top engagers and influencers

Native analytics on all social platforms will allow you to see the total engagement of your content. But you really have to dig in to see which of your community members are really reacting to your content. There are various tools you can use that find this information. I’ve often used Twitonomy (for Twitter), Simply Measured (for instagram) and integrated tools like Zoho Social (for a cross-channel view). 

As your brand moves from basic engagement to finding true brand loyalists, your work is cut out. Track your loyalists and reward them through engagement or even special incentives. In addition:

  • Use tools like BuzzSumo to identify the top influencers in your industry. Look at MOZ analytics to know which sites are performing well in your industry.
  • Use Similar Web to check out how your competitors are performing and how they get their traffic (if that helps your business goals).
  • Set up Google alerts and perform some keyword research on SEMRush and see what sort of content comes up as influential.

Short answer: use tools that can help you and ensure you do your content marketing research. Listen in, and try and be a part of the conversation instead of being a distractor. Connecting with top influencers or brand advocates is a sure shot way to improve your social media ROI.


A good example of using word-of-mouth to push their online sales has been children’s shoes company, Freshly Picked. In 2014 when they appeared on the ABC’s Shark Tank, the company’s social media fans on Instagram were growing by thousands each week. Ten percent of their social media followers on the platform were actually buying (as per the company’s CEO.) This combined with the Shark Tank exposure, and endorsements from celebrities and influencers like Kourtney Kardashian, Jessica Alba, Olivia Wilde and others have helped sky rocket the company’s social following. Currently the company has partnered with another food blogger/ entrepreneur and mom influencer Ayesha Curry. They have launched a new set of baby shoes with this partnership. This not only enables them to stay creative, but also piggy back on the influencer power for stronger branding and social media ROI. The company boasts of over 640K followers on Instagram alone and millions in revenue!


(screenshot via company site)

2. Track platforms that are generating leads and revenue for you

When I host workshops, or speak with clients or even just describe my own business, the first question I get is: how do you find clients? My answers used to be quite generalized, till I realized the seriousness with which people wanted to know this. Many clients that I work with have issues listing out the exact digital channels that bring them the bulk of their business.

Measuring and tracking analytics is often the bane of everyone’s marketing existence. We like creating things more than going through large spreadsheets of numbers. The bigger issue is that most tools tend to be fragmented. You may have to go to six different tools to check your performance on six different platforms. If you’re a business running hundreds of campaigns per month, you can do the math. It takes a couple of FTEs to come up with reports and then a team to make sense of the numbers. Many of us would rather avoid this.

Data analytics is set to change the world as we know it. The US Bureau of Labor says, businesses employ 4 to 6 million people as data analysts. This is growing at 27% annually. We’re also seeing the growth of really strong tools which allow marketers an automated way to track relevant numbers.  Once you have the right insights, your probability of success is going up north!


Small business CRM provider Zoho recently launched its social tool. It is similar to Buffer and HootSuite but provides an important differentiation. The tool allows you to assign CRM information to your social community members. You can set automated social actions as rules to generate “new potential leads.” You can also help your sales teams by listening in and following the social behavior of your potential leads. This can help sales close the deals more easily. At the end of the month, you can easily check out which digital channel is converting the best for you. This allows you to stay lean and prioritize your social platforms. This is also perhaps the only tool that allows you to actually map revenue to social networks. You no longer have to justify the ROI of social, you can see it in action and constantly improve it!

(image via Zoho blog)

   3. Make data based decisions to improve your social content

On of the biggest fails of digital media marketing is: the herd mentality. Many companies are on a bazillion social networks and platforms just because their competition is. Or because a certain platform got a PR feature. What you truly need to follow is: your customer. You need to dig deep into the demographics of each platform you’re trying to build a presence on. It’s critical to identify where your customer base hangs out before you spread yourself too thin. Do not ruin your budgets!

Do not base these decisions on a gut feeling or someone else’s recommendations. Use data and tools to figure this out and if you’re not sure, test and compare. Ensure that you maintain a list of all your channels, platforms and figure out where your customers are. Find out what your customers are looking for. Your decisions should be based on facts and analysis. There are no real rules except following what your customer insights are telling you!


One of my favorite examples of using online and social behavior to generate more engagement and sales through retargeting is Kate Spade. With millions of social fans, the company has invested in creating amazing new content (including video stories starring celebrities like Anna Kendrick).  The company has been known to share non promotional content to build brand recall and loyalty. This has allowed the brand to figure out what the customers are looking for and what brings direct traffic to the sites. This is converted to actual sales using automated retargeting tools and a smart email marketing strategy. Engagement rates of system generated emails (based on audience actions/ behavior) are much higher than marketing emails that may be seen as intrusive.

(image via Kate Spade website)

What are some of your favorite examples of digital analytics being used to lift up social media ROI for a brand? Do share your ideas and challenges with me in the comments, or on Twitter!

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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