This week on #bufferchat, we explored best practices around tracking, measuring and understanding social media analytics. Seth “Doc” Bridges, founder of RivalIQ, stopped by the second chat time to share his expertise on the topic! We discussed great analytics tools to use for all of your social media platforms, how data can help us shift our social strategy, our “wish list” for analytics features, and much more!

Read on to discover all of the awesome insights that were shared during the chat!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and to meet hundreds of other smart marketers and social media enthusiasts. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

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For our community in North/South America, Europe and Africa (or others!): 9 am PT (San Francisco time)

Bufferchat on March 15, 2017 (Topic = Social Media Analytics)

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 27 participants; 381 tweets; reach of 1,016,321
2nd Bufferchat: 220 participants; 1,369 tweets; reach of 2,264,523

Q1: Why track and measure social media analytics?

From Seth:

  • Find what works, then do more. Find what flops, stop it. Justify your investments. Show your value.
  • Social media analytics is no different than other marketing. Show the journey from effort to value.

From the community:

  • “Because “Everything that can be measured can be improved”. Metrics & KPIs are important to see if what we do works.” @Typ0queen
  • “If you’re not measuring, you’re similar to a scientist putting all that effort into experiments w/o learning a thing!” @MktgInnovator
  • “Tracking analytics allows you to see where you are & helps you devise a plan to obtain your specific goals.” @KiaTSalter
  • “You measure metrics and adjust because human engagement and interaction on social only gives you half the story.” @AnnaMariaSocial
  • “So you don’t waste your efforts on something that isn’t working. Your time is valuable.” @rouxroamer

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: If you could only pick one social media metric to capture, what would it be and why?

From Seth:

  • I want to measure whatever metric gets me close to understanding outcomes. Impacts from revenue, traffic, and engagement.
  • If I had to pick just one thing to measure, viral engagement is a sensible proxy for passion, interest, success.

From the community:

  • “I might say CTR (click through rate) it not only shows that your ad is clickable, but that your audience targeting is right!” @laura_bauman
  • “This is a tough one but it would be engagement. Lets you know if your audience loves your content or not.” @adQuadrant
  • “Just one?! Far too hard! Engagement? Reach? Conversions? Ahhh!” @TrafficJamMedia
  • “Engagement! Anyone can like something, but when ppl comment that’s when you know you’ve connected.” @southbaysome
  • “Track conversions. You want to see that people are clicking links, heading to your site, and taking action.” @ExpWriters

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: What tools work well for capturing analytics across your social media platforms?

From Seth:

  • I’ll use this one to recommend Rival IQ. Analytics on you and competitive context to find opportunity to grow.
  • The tools you need depend on your budget and investment situation. Small investment requires fewer tools.
  • You might do well with native tools augmented w/ analytics from publishing tools .
  • I also love mention alerting. Not strictly social media analytics, but still very useful for listening.

From the community:

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: How often do you (or should you) analyze your social media data?

From Seth:

  • Quarterly. Monthly. Weekly. The broader the time period, the more deep/strategic the analysis.
  • Quarterly analytics: Review perf/goals. consistency & engagement. Listening survey. Competitive / messaging review.
  • Monthly analytics: Measure deeper platform execution. Organic Reach. Per-post engagement. Top campaigns. Eng growth.
  • Weekly analytics: go light. Its more about feeling your flow. this is a great place for automation/dashboards.
  • On a daily basis, I want more qualitative info. Examples of successful content from the marketplace. I spend 60 seconds.

From the community:

  • “I like to look at weekly, monthly, quarterly, & annually. It’s like hitting the zoom button & gives context.” @alliekosela
  • “Analyze data daily and weekly; then pull back for long view 30-90 days & tweak, adjust campaign, content, etc.” @Chris_Santiago_
  • “It varies. Sometimes it’s adhoc reports bc of a/b testing. I always have monthly and quarterly and year-end reports.” @nancycasanova
  • “I’m in the analytics at least once a week – purpose changes based on what I need. Strategy, optimization, or simply reporting.” @MWestMillennial
  • “As often as I post, is as often as I monitor my analytics. SM moves at rapid pace, incremental movements can happen daily.” @ShannonRenee

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: Have you ever made a big shift in your social media strategy because of analyzing data?

From Seth:

From the community:

  • “All the time! Data isn’t worth much unless you put it to use. My strategies are ever-changing.” @annactaylor15
  • “I’ve certainly closed down social pages as analytics showed that it wasn’t the right platform to focus efforts.” @smouldemort
  • “Yes! We did this yesterday looking at the #s & decided to stop sending automated DMs. You have to be game to change plans.” @flaviacat03
  • “All the time. The relationship between data, strategy, and informed creative is what makes this job so fascinating.” @JuiceboxCA
  • “Can’t be a real digital professional if you haven’t. Algorithms change all the time, we always need to keep up.” @KristeenOnline

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: Where are the best resources for better understanding social media analytics?

From Seth:

  • Not to pander, but has a pretty fantastic blog. does too. If FB is your thing, knows.
  • Everything works together. Keep up with related marketing analytics. For me, SEO and is always a favorite.

From the community:

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: If you could wave a magic wand and have any analytics feature you wanted, what would it be?

From Seth:

  • I want to know the unknowable. Positive mental energy from brand impressions. Perfectly attributed word of mouth.

From the community:

  • “Contextual Analytics (can we get a patent) – with social being so human, data is only so effective without context.” @iamracheljolley
  • “I’d love to see a comparison feature by industry and demographic. Where do I stand … Who should I learn from?” @KimYuhl
  • “A measurement of what someone thinks/feels when they read a post would be awesome!” @aperfectsturm2
  • “Time spent watching/reading the image,text, video, etc. that way i can measure interest/readability more deeply.” @H3CreativeHub
  • “$ generated per post & per follower to end that “why bother with social” question once & for all. #bigdreams.” @JillLiles1

See all the great answers to question 7 here!


Thank you so much to Seth and to everyone who participated and helped each other in this chat!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!

  • tim dixon

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