Every social media platform offers users some amount of “insights” or analytics about their profile and how it’s performing. There are things here that can be really helpful and things that won’t really impact our strategies too much. So let’s take a look at what we can learn from our profile analytics.
While your follower count is obviously a measure of success, the number by itself can’t tell us very much. It only tells us how many people have pressed the follow button on our profile. It doesn’t tell us how they engage with our content, it doesn’t tell us if our content is resonating with those people. However, our growth rate, or how the follower count changes over time, can tell us a lot!
Growth rate can tell us if our social media strategies are working or if they aren’t. For instance, if you look at a three month timeline of your follower count you’ll likely see some dips and peaks. Overall, did your follower count grow, stay the same, or shrink? And what can you surmise from this data?
If you saw a decrease overall that would indicate that you should analyze all the content you published in that timeframe and see if you can figure out why it didn’t work or what about it may have turned people off to you. Maybe you changed your subject matter, or tried a new kind of content and it’s not really resonating with your audience. Or on the other end, if your follower count increased, again, analyze that content to understand what worked and see if you can figure out why it resonated with your audience.
There of course are other factors that will affect your follower count. Maybe you were featured in a blog and got a new influx of followers from that, or you played a show or had a tour run and gained new followers that way–in anycase, keeping an eye on your growth rate will help you understand ebbs and flows and how your content plays a role in it.
Impressions vs Reach
Reach is how many individual accounts saw your post and Impressions is how many times your post was seen.
It’s not uncommon to see a higher impression rate than reach since it’s pretty normal for one person to scroll past the same post more than once. So impressions don’t really give us solid information to make inferences from. But reach does!
Organic reach across social media tends to be low, between 2-10% on average across all major social media platforms. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that only that percentage of your followers will see your posts.
Social media algorithms first show new content to the people that follow you and are most engaged with you. If it does well with that group, it pushes it out to the next, and to the next. As your content gains social proof, the platform knows it’s valuable content and will keep showing it to people.
The algorithm also takes into account the types of profiles that are engaging with your content. As your posts are pushed it to new people, the platform will use what it knows about the accounts that are already interacting with your content as it’s deciding what new accounts to push your content to.
The For You Page, the Explore page, your YouTube homepage - they’re all stocked with content that the algorithm has determined you’ll probably like based on your platform activity. So, the more engaging or resonant your content is, the more people it will be pushed inside and outside of your current followers.
Your reach on a post can help you understand how your content is performing not just within your own audience, but also your potential audience on socials. Most platforms let you view detailed information about the reach of individual content, so checking into this when you’re auditing your social media can give you more insight into how your content is performing.
This includes being able to see where people viewed your content from:
- Was it shared to them?
- Was it on their For You Page
- Was it on their Explore tab?
- Did they view it by visiting your profile or channel?
All of these pieces of data help us learn more about how our content is performing and how we can potentially improve it or capitalize on any success we’re having.
Engagement is exactly what you think it is, people engaging with your content. Liking it, commenting on it, sharing it, saving it, etc. The higher the engagement on a piece of content the more reach it will get. All that activity tells the algorithm that people like that content and the algorithm is trained to show people things it’s certain they will engage with.
Audience demographics available in most analytics dashboards:
- Top locations of followers
- The age range of your followers
- Gender of the bulk of our audience
This kind of data can help us make decisions about merch, touring, content, and all kinds of things! If you don’t already know what kind of people make up your fan base, taking a look at your demographic data across all your profiles to put together a fan avatar of what your average follower is like.
The more likes the better, right? Well, there are different ways we can measure the success of a piece of content based on the goal action you want your audience to take.
Let’s say you’re getting ready to drop a new piece of merch and you want to do a little giveaway to create some buzz around it. For this example, let’s say you post a picture of yourself wearing the merch with the caption saying something like,
“New shirts dropping next week! Wanna win one for free? Share this post to your story and tag me for a chance to win!”
The goal here is that people share your post. That’s the call to action you’ve given them in the caption. Let’s say this post gets significantly more likes than your usual post and lots of comments, but no shares.
Was this post successful?
Well, yes and no. Likes and comments are great and will help the overall reach of your post, but your goal for the post was to get shares and tags! So it didn’t quite accomplish the goal you set, even though the engagement looks good on paper.
This would be a point to analyze the content and try to understand why people didn’t take the action you wanted them to, even though the engagement was high.
Knowing what your goal is for a post, or what action you want your audience to take, can help you audit your posting strategies and improve your social media efforts overall.
Are you going for likes?
Knowing this when you post your content will help you understand if the content is eliciting the goals you’re looking for.
Don’t Screw Up Your Data
The last thing I want to cover in this lesson is something we talked about briefly in the first lesson of this module.
Don’t buy followers or you’ll screw up all your data.
Buying followers or participating in follow-for-follow strategies/apps will very quickly destroy your data.
As we discussed earlier, inflating your follower count with fake fans (or people who are only following you because you followed them) will not help you in the long run. Here are some of the most common issues you’ll see from these “strategies”:
- You won’t know what your fans are really like
- Negative impact on organic reach
- Low engagement
- Bots leaving you nonsensical spammy comments
It will take you a long time to dig yourself out of that hole datawise.
It’s a terrible practice, it’s dishonest, and I promise you it will not get you ahead.
Having a smaller, but highly dedicated and engaged audience is wildly preferable to having a huge audience of fake profiles or people who don’t actually know or care about you or your music.
This is a bit more of a gray area, so I’ll give you some pros and cons and you can make this decision for yourself.
When it comes to reach, we know how the algorithm uses a piece of content’s engagement to decide whether or not to keep pushing it out to new groups of users. We also know that early engagement on a piece of content is very important in signaling to the algorithm that this piece of content is worth pushing. Which may lead you to the conclusion that an engagement pod is the perfect way to address this. But we also need to remember that the people who engage with your content also send important data to the algorithm, they tell the algorithm what types of accounts like your content.
When we’re thinking about asking people to engage with our content that maybe otherwise wouldn’t, we need to think about the signals their account is sending the algorithm about who likes your content. For the same reason buying followers will inflate and destroy any real data you can garner about your actual fan base, drumming up engagement from accounts that are unlikely to share similar interests and followers may send the wrong message to the almighty algo.
Let’s look back at our example from a few lessons ago about the raw vegan and the pit boss.
Many engagement pods are set up in general categories:
- Small Business Owners
- Restaurant Owners
- etc. etc. (you get the picture)
Let’s say that our raw vegan and our pit boss both own their own restaurants! Let’s say their restaurants are about the same size, in the same city, and have comparable stats–one might think that an engagement pod made up of locally owned restaurants is a great way to support each other and support small business.
But when we think about the followers of each of these accounts, we’re probably going to immediately notice some big differences. It’s highly unlikely that there’s going to be a lot of overlap in these two audiences.
So if our vegan chef is engaging a lot on the pit boss account, will it really do our pitt boss much good to have their content pushed to accounts that are similar to our vegan chef? Very likely, no. In fact, it could make it worse. As the algorithm pushes this content to accounts that will probably not like it, the algorithm will get the idea that this content isn’t that great and will stop pushing it at all.
If you were to strike up an engagement pod, you would really want it to be made up of people that:
- Genuinely enjoy what you do and it’s natural for them to interact with it
- Have a healthy amount of audience overlap or potential audience overlap with you.
Engagement begets engagement. Having a solid way to prime your posts will likely lead to wider reach on socials and higher levels of engagement.
Doing so could muddy your data, which is not good at all.
Proceed here with a lot of caution and intentionality if you choose to try out engagement pods!
At the end of this lesson, we know about where our social media fits in our business, we know what our goals are, we know how we need to think about our profiles and our content, and we know what data we can glean from our accounts and how we can use it to benefit our careers. You can now move to the next module where you’ll have access to a text based breakdown of all the major social media and distribution platforms.
Go forth and be successful!