Social media influencers wear a lot of hats. They’re entertainers, educators, and CEOs all at the same time. Now those who want to stay competitive need to add another title to their resume: data scientist.
Data is so valuable it’s being called the “new oil” in the business world. Those who use their data wisely are passing their competition in every area, and that doesn’t only apply to large companies. Content creators can also reap the rewards of turning their fan data into business decisions.
You don’t need an MBA to interpret your data, but you do need to use it thoughtfully. The wrong kind of data can be worse than useless. If you want to get the most out of your data without falling on your face, watch out for these common mistakes.
1. Not having a data strategy
The Number One mistake influencers make is to not have an overall data management strategy. Your channel is your business, and data tells you how that business is doing. Without a data strategy you have consistency in data analysis. You wind up guessing about why you gain or lose followers. Plus, you’re going to have a hard time attracting good sponsors without consistent data that proves your worth to them.
Don’t panic! The term “data strategy” sounds huge and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Creators can put together a good data strategy on their own by asking a few questions:
- Who are your fans? Who are your superfans?
- What business problems are you running into?
- Are you making progress towards your long-term goals?
- How effective is your monetization?
Look at what you need to know, then ask what data would provide answers and how you can get it. Determine your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and create a regular monitoring system.
For example, if you’re working towards your own custom app you need to watch engagement. Evaluate shares, comments, and other interactive forms of activity for signs that your audience is ready to migrate to an app.
2. Focusing on vanity metrics
Vanity metrics do more for a creator’s ego than their brand. These are the widely recognized prestige statistics that look impressive without being very helpful. Some of the biggest vanity metrics include:
- Follower numbers are the raw, uninterpreted number of accounts currently following yours. It’s often the first metric creators share when talking about their channel, but it doesn’t translate to active, engaged users. There are inevitably bots, side accounts, and people who rarely use their social media included among your follower numbers.
- Pageviews count the number of pages a viewer visits before leaving your app or page. Without context like time on page this could imply that users are bored or frustrated instead of engaged.
- Downloads is a record of app downloads. This might be confusing; after all, you want a lot of downloads. Like follower numbers, though, downloads aren’t a measure of engagement.
- Reach: How many people see your content?
- Engagement: Are fans sharing and interacting with your content?
- Registrations: Who actually makes an account in your app after downloading?
- Retention: How many of your fans and app users are still around after 30 days?
3. Lumping fans into one group
Fans come in all varieties. They follow you for different reasons. It may be easier to make generalizations about them, but from a business standpoint you need detailed profiles to inform your content strategy.
Generalizations also make it hard to pay attention to your superfans. Superfans drive more of your traffic than the rest of your followers combined. They’re the first to follow you to new platforms and support new endeavors. Data will highlight superfans for you - but you have to be looking to find them.
You can and should have more than one category of fans. Some businesses have as many as 60, though you most likely only need a handful of well-crafted fan profiles.
What goes into your profiles? Get demographics, but also consider behavior. Pay attention to useful hints from your data and group fans who:
- Usually come from the same site;
- Only like or share specific types of posts;
- Click on your promoted posts;
- Visit daily (or even multiple times a day);
- Never comment but share often;
- Use your hashtags in other places.
4. Not putting your data in context
Information doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Sterile columns of numbers won’t give you much insight into your audience. A sudden drop in app registration could mean you need better marketing - or maybe your app is glitchy.
Associate your data with real-world events and your own actions. Did you have a spike of new followers after an experiment that later faded away? Focus more on that experimental content. Is your reach falling on one platform? Check with other creators to see if a new algorithm could be hurting your numbers.
Bottom line, don’t get so focused on the data that you forget to look at the big picture. Data is a tool, and a great one, but it needs context too.
5. Overlooking timing
While this could be grouped with context, it’s so important it needs emphasis. Too many creators look at what and how but not when. They may track followers over time but otherwise fail to consider how time might affect their data.
When looking at your stats, pay special attention to time of day, day of the week, and season. Knowing when fans will be looking for content helps optimize your posting schedule. Tracking time patterns also feeds fan profiles which guide content strategy and sponsorship activities.
6. Using platform analytics tools alone
Social media platforms offer more analytics tools than they used to, but they still hold back on sharing data. Data is their main money-maker. Sharing it is against their interests even though your content creates that data.
As a result platform tools mainly focus on traffic analysis. They have a limited ability to guide follower profiles or perform custom queries. Basically, you get what they give you.
Use third party tools to make the most of your data. Many influencers enjoy tools like:
- Google Analytics
To get the most control, use your own analytics tools. If you direct fans to a creator app you can choose what data you need and how to track it. App dashboards are also easier to customize than social media tools. This is the absolute best option for data management.
Make Data Management a Priority
Data management may seem intimidating at first glance, but creators who make it a priority will reap the rewards. Take your time, be careful to avoid these critical mistakes, and you’ll give yourself a solid edge over your competitors.
Do you need more data management tools than social media offers? FanHero can put together a custom analytics package for your app. Find out how today!