What’s the Deal with Social Media Data?

Photo by NicoElNino/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by NicoElNino/iStock / Getty Images

With social media comes a lot of useful data that you can not only gain insights from, but that you can also use to adjust and improve your social media plans.

Most social media platforms come with information called "insights" or "analytics." You can track this information to see how you’re doing in the moment and over time. You can also use the information to apply to your social media plan such as when you post or what you post.

There is a lot that can be done with all of this useful information! This is just an overview to get started:


Log your social media posts.

It can be a pain to go back and look for a post. Be sure to log your posts in whatever format you have available such as a database or an excel spreadsheet to easily be able to find when needed. There are a lot of ways to log this information, but in general keeping track of the link to the post, the date, and a highlight (topic, event, promotion or information about another group) is a good place to start.

Track your analytics.

For all of your social media channels, keep track of the insights or analytics in either your database or excel spreadsheet (basically whatever works for you). Do this from month to month. Keep track of things such as: number of posts, number of followers, impressions, engagement, etc. On the first day of each month, go back and look at the previous month to get all of this data. It's helpful to keep track of your best performing post, or posts, for each month.

USE that data.

Let the data tell you a story. What posts do better than others? Are there things that you post that you want to do better but aren’t? This information can be used for social media plans. What should you change? What do your followers like? 

Show your growth and projections to people who love that information! Highlight your top posts at the end of the year, or each month, with team members, influences, or anyone invested in what you do. 

Now that we have talked about some of the general things to keep in mind, let’s briefly go over LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

LinkedIn calls it analytics.

Even if you don’t have a business account, you can get some information about your activity on LinkedIn. Likes, shares, and comments are on each post, but most of the time there is information on your posts around views.

  • Where they are located
  • Where they work
  • What title they have
  • Where views came from (first or second degree network)
  • You can also keep track of the number of followers each month

For business accounts you can see:

  • Impressions (number of times the post was seen)
  • Interactions (number of likes, comments, and shares)
  • Engagement (interactions plus clicks and new followers divided by impressions)
  • Number of followers

Facebook calls it insights.

Like Instagram, there aren’t any insights for personal accounts or groups. However you can keep track of information as well:

  • Number of likes
  • Number of comments
  • Number of shares

For business accounts, there’s a lot of data to explore for insights. To highlight a few:

  • Likes
  • Reach
  • Engagements

There’s information on your most recent posts, posts for the time period you are looking into, your audience, (and more!)

Instagram calls it insights.

At this time there aren’t any insights for personal accounts. However you can keep track of information such as:

  • Number of followers
  • Number of posts
  • Number of likes
  • Number of comments

For business accounts you can keep track of all of that plus:

  • Impressions (number of times the post was seen)
  • Reach (number of unique accounts that saw your post)
  • Engagement (number of likes, saves, and comments)
  • Information about the past week
  • The gender, age, and relative location of your followers, your top posts

Twitter calls it analytics.

You can pull information for all handles—business or personal. Like Facebook, there’s a lot to explore! To highlight a few:

  • There’s an overview for the past 28 days right at the top, and an overview for each month.
  • The 28 day summary includes number of tweets, impressions, profile visits, mentions and followers.
  • For each month you can find number of tweets, impressions, profile visits, mentions, and new followers.
  • Each month also includes top tweet, top mention, top follower, and top media tweet.

As a reminder, this is just a brief overview on some of the analytics or insights you can find on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. There’s a lot more to explore and learn from!

Remember it’s not just about the number of likes! It’s about a lot of different factors that come together to impact things like reach and engagement.

What do you do with data from social media?