The Importance of Social Media Analytics

Our last LifeSci Comms Corner by Jo Belluardo discussed how to evaluate the success of a communications program. Today, we’re going to dive deeper into the world of social media analytics and the importance of specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

The use of social media for healthcare companies has become the new norm to interact with target audiences. Utilizing social media is a strategic way for companies to establish themselves as thought leaders in the healthcare industry and disseminate key messages. Whether it be Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedln or TikTok, each platform allows brands to showcase differentiators, grow share of voices and directly interact with all target audiences—investors, healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers—to name a few. To maximize and measure success on social media, analytics and reporting processes should be implemented early on. Looking at analytics helps track the progress of a company’s marketing and communications strategy by ensuring the right messages are reaching the right people. Consistent social media reporting can then showcase the progress in a digestible way.

So how do we do this? By tracking KPIs. KPIs are quantifiable measurements that are used to gauge short or long-term performance. When analyzing social media success, these are the top four KPI’s that are important to examine:

  1. Engagement Rate

Like we mentioned in our last post, engagement rate is the most important metric to evaluate when understanding success on social media. But what is an engagement? An engagement is defined as a like, comment, share, or click on a social media post. The engagement rate measures the percentage of how actively involved your audience is with your content. On any social network’s built-in analytics, you can see post insights on how many people engaged with the post at a given time. By analyzing the engagement rate, you can compare it to industry benchmarks to better understand how the content is resonating with your audience. If it has a high engagement rate, this means the messages are resonating well with the right target audiences. If some of the content is not performing as well, you can take that opportunity to think through potential improvements for the future. For example, on Instagram, you can see which types of visuals resonate best with your target audience in order to improve the content you design for future posts . On networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedln, you can brainstorm how to improve the copy to engage your audience, as well as provide a visually appealing graphic.

  1. Impressions

Impressions are defined by the total number of times your content is displayed, regardless of whether the audience is engaging with the content. By analyzing impressions, you can see how many times the social media platforms are serving your content to users. If the impressions are low, you can evaluate variables such as the post timing to see if that positively impacts impressions in the future. This may take some trial and error, but by looking at various impression numbers from different types of content, you are able to figure out the best combination for your channels.

  1. Reach

Not to be confused with impressions, reach is the total number of people who see your content. While impressions measure the number of times the content was displayed, reach counts the number of individual users who saw it. For example, your impressions could be 2,300 while your reach is 1,600. This means that 1,600 unique users saw your content a total of 2,300 times. Reach is an important KPI to measure over time because it helps track how your platforms are growing in brand awareness and helps understand the behaviors of the audiences you’re reaching. In order to further quantify your reach, you can use a social listening tool. Here at LifeSci, we use Brandwatch to gain more insight.  

Brandwatch is a platform that pulls high-level social listening data on a brand or company. This means it collects anything said about a company or brand across the entire social media ecosystem at any given time, not just on their own channels. Brandwatch is an excellent tool because a user can not only see how people are responding and engaging with a company’s posts, but also see the conversations they are having about the company without tagging its social media handle. You can see the overall sentiment surrounding a brand, the different types of keywords used and on which platforms the brand was most frequently discussed. Essentially, using Brandwatch can help you take your reach metric one step further to see how audiences are interacting with your content.

  1. Cost per Click (CPC)

So far, I’ve outlined three of the top organic metrics found on social media, but did you know that launching a paid campaign opens the door for much deeper analytics reporting? When we launch a paid social media campaign to obtain a higher reach and improve engagement, or put out of pocket (OOP) spend behind posts on your preferred social platform, cost per click, or CPC, is an important metric to track. CPC is defined as paying the social media platform/publisher when the ad is clicked. When launching a campaign based on CPC, you pay only if the user takes the action you want, but not if a user sees your ad without taking action. A key component in a paid social media campaign is ensuring you reach the correct audience. In order to do this, you will need to conduct targeting research. This will help you drive more significant results, ROI and stay within a budget. Paid advertising on social gives you more control over who sees your ad, so it allows you to create exposure for your brand in the most cost-effective way. Evaluating and tracking CPC after launch allows you to understand if you’re targeting is working. Depending on the CPC, you can redefine your targeting list and reach a niche audience to drive more positive and cost effective results.

Both organic and paid social media execution grants us access to an incredible amount of data to evaluate success. There are a lot of other metrics to keep in mind, but these four KPIs are extremely important to track when analyzing your social data. They allow you to see what posts perform better than others and how you can improve your future content. Monitoring social media analytics is an essential practice to implement when executing and building  social media strategies. Here at LifeSci, we analyze social data regularly see how we can improve the social media presence for our clients in the biotech space and ultimately support their corporate objectives.

Graphic created by: Autumn Von Plinsky