Mar 31 A Day in the Life of a Social Media Analyst
When I try to explain my job to people outside of the industry, the most common reaction I get is something along the lines of “So you do Facebook…and numbers?” As a social media analyst, I do spend a great deal of time in Facebook, and almost all of my time crunching numbers, but the day-to-day responsibilities of my role go a bit beyond that simple summary.
Making Data Make Sense
Social media marketing, just as any other branch of marketing, generates boatloads of data. As a social media marketing agency, we need to be able to not only create great content and strategy for brands, but be able to speak to how those efforts are performing; what’s working, what’s not, and providing insight into how to reach our goals. This is where an analyst comes in.
On a day-to-day basis, a significant part of my job is to collect, aggregate, and analyze data from many different sources in order to confidently report on where a brand stands in the social space. This involves getting real comfortable with analytics tools (Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, YouTube Analytics, Google Analytics, etc.) and paid media reporting tools (Facebook Ads Manager/Power Editor, Twitter Ads, etc.), as well as third-party social analytics tools in order to pull all relevant social data relating to channel and content performance.
Crunching the Numbers and Reporting Back
Once all of the data is collected, it’s an analyst’s job to dive into the numbers to search for trends, interesting stories, abnormalities, and insights to help both internal teams and clients understand what’s going on. Analyzing social data provides a great opportunity to prove the worth of social strategy, showcase where a brand can grow and improve, and merchandise social efforts into a comprehensive ROI or value model.
Because staring at an Excel spreadsheet full of numbers can be confusing and anxiety-inducing for many right-brained individuals, reporting is also an essential role of an analyst. We need to be able to identify key insights and information, visualize the data, and provide context in a way that is digestible and easy to understand. We also need to be able to analyze prior data in order to provide realistic goals and benchmarks on a client-by-client basis, so the internal team and client have a clear understanding of what makes a KPI’s performance to goal “good”.
Social Listening and Monitoring
Outside of analyzing and reporting on owned social efforts, analysts are also tasked with digging into and understanding what people are saying about a brand or product across the social web. This encompasses using social monitoring tools (including Brandwatch, Radian6, Sysomos, and Crimson Hexagon, among many others) to get an idea for how people are discussing a brand on social networks, blogs, forums, and news sites. Social listening allows for opportunities to identify what consumers care about, any pain points they may have, and provides context into how to best speak to them through social.
Social monitoring can be used in a variety of ways, including sourcing content and inspiration from your audience, tracking competitive efforts, identifying spaces for a brand to engage with customers, and providing a pulse on brand sentiment online. Monitoring can expose you to the best (brand advocates!) and the worst (trolls!) of those who interact with and talk about your brand, so keeping tabs on what they’re saying can be crucial to position a brand effectively in social voice and strategy.
The most important part of my job as a social analyst is to work with internal team members to share insight and make sure that the right pieces of information are passed on to the right people. Because I touch so many different brands and projects, it is imperative for me to work with the community managers, strategists, content producers, and account leads for each client in order to make sure they are aware of how we’re stacking up. If a brand is seeing a significant boost in engagement on a specific type of content, sharing this insight with content producers and community managers will help us to tweak our content mix accordingly. If a particular strategy or program is struggling and generating lower than expected results, sharing this insight with strategists and client teams provides opportunities to brainstorm new tactics and solutions. If we see significant negative sentiment through social monitoring about a particular product or brand, alerting the account lead can provide a quick alert to the client and kickstart crisis communication.
From the outside, a social analyst’s job can look like endless numbers and Excel spreadsheets. However, for a data nerd like me, being able to dig in and uncover trends, abnormalities, and opportunities in social data and transform those findings into actionable insights for internal teams and clients makes the job interesting and challenging. I get to crunch data for clients across a variety of industries, and get an understanding for how different strategies perform in social. And I get to do Facebook…and numbers.