A guide to social data analysis to drive business growth and success

Rodney B. | June 13, 2024
16 mins

Social data analysis uses the plethora of data and analytic information built into any social media platform to help you learn more about your customer base, develop truly effective sales and marketing strategies, and ensure that your social media strategies are more intelligent. 

If you’re like most people, you probably spend more time on social media than you’d be happy to admit. Whether it’s Instagram, TikTok, or any other of the dozens of social media platforms that we all use daily, social media is a huge part of life in 2024.

That means that social media is one of the most important things that you have to consider as a business. If you’re looking to launch a new product, grow your brand awareness, or engage with your customers, you’ll probably start with social media – it’s a pivotal tool in any sales or marketing department. 

However, many organizations are failing to make the most out of their social media profiles. Rather than just being a tool to expand your marketing appeal, social media can be an invaluable data source. This is where social data analysis – also known as social media analytics – comes in. 

If you want your organization to make the next step in the age of social media and big data, it’s crucial that you implement social data analysis. Read on in our comprehensive guide to social media analytics to find out how you can use social data in your company. 

What is social data analysis?

Smart businesses in 2024 use data in every part of their organization, from allowing customer service teams to create a data-rich call center dashboard to ensure that marketers can create adverts that are perfectly designed for a target audience. Social data analysis is simply applying this mindset to your social media strategy

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Social media analytics can have a variety of purposes: you might choose to use data such as view counts or click-through rates to directly shape your social media posts in the future. Alternatively, you could use the data collected from your social media activity to learn more about your customers in order to drive product innovation. 

The common features are collecting, evaluating, and analyzing data from social media. Social media provides a dazzling range of data that can easily be turned into actionable insights. 

What can you find in social data?

When you consider how addictive social media algorithms are, it should be no surprise that they’re a great way to generate data. Every time that you scroll, like, or leave a comment on social media, you’re producing a footprint that can be used by companies to learn more about you.

As an organization looking to grow, that data is an easily accessible resource that can be incredibly useful. But what types of social data are there? Ultimately, social data can be broken down into two main categories:

  1. User metadata 

Metadata simply refers to the type of core information that can be used to build a customer profile – it’s the sort of information that you might mention to someone when you meet them for the first time. 

Social media data allows you to identify key metadata about your users. Examples include users’ locations, language, gender, age, or interests. This is a great way to learn more about your customers' demographics, allowing you to refine your brand or marketing materials according to this target audience or use geotargeting effectively.

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Before the age of social media, this sort of metadata would be very difficult to obtain – and it remains an incredibly valuable type of information. However, the terms and conditions of most social media sites allow this information about users to be shared, so it’s never been easier to use detailed user metadata in your data analysis.

  1. User activity

On top of metadata, another key part of social data is user activity. This is information about the interactions that users make when using social media: think every like on Instagram, every time you click on an ad on YouTube, or every time you save a TikTok video. 

This can be crucial if you want to know which social media posts are most effective – by tracking user activity, you can tell every time that a user clicks through on a post and even when they then make a purchase.

Similarly, this feedback data can be used to create targeted ads for individual users. This is because you can leverage user activity to know what content types or topics are resonating with your target audience – to achieve this, you’d want to harness user activity data alongside user metadata.

How is social data collected?

Now that you know the two main categories of social data, you might be wondering how to start collecting it. 

The easiest way to gather social data is with a specific social media data analytics tool. Think of these as pieces of software that plug into your different social media platforms and hoover up all of the social media data that would otherwise go unused.

These will let you collect social media data from across all of your platforms, ensuring that you can easily observe how your social media strategies perform on different channels. Using an analytics tool will also allow you to quickly transform the raw social data into more valuable visualizations. 

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Although you could collect raw social media data without using a third-party analytics tool, it’s much easier for you to tailor your data collection to your needs – such as by monitoring chosen keywords or producing detailed sentiment analysis – when you use a data analytics tool to collect your social data. 

For enhanced efficiency in collecting and analyzing social media data, consider utilizing a Social Media AI Post Generator tool, which can streamline content creation and audience engagement strategies

Benefits of social media analytics

With the future of social media sure to be more and more crucial in the world of business, there’s no reason not to begin using social media analytics in your organization. But what benefits can you see through using social data analysis? 

  1. Spotting trends

Online marketing and social media content are fast-changing. To stay current and engage with your audience, you’ll need to stay on top of the trends that develop in the online space. 

Social media analytics is a great way to achieve this. You’ll be able to see which topics are generating buzz with your audience, which platforms are growing in popularity, and which influencers are becoming the next big thing. 

If you make the most of this trendspotting, you’ll be able to know what type of content you should create in order to be trending among your audience. This is a great way to ensure that you’re always on trend and that your social media posts in the future are well-placed to be seen by as many eyes as possible.

  1. Producing insights into customer data 

By tracking user activity, you’ll be able to have a great understanding of your customers’ behaviors and interests. This data can tell you which social media channels are most widely used among your customers and which types of content are most effective with your target audience. 

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A great way to achieve this is by analyzing past engagement data. Let’s say that you want to find out whether your customers respond well to videos – all you’ll need to do is get the interaction numbers on a range of previous videos and compare this information with other campaigns. This will produce invaluable insights into how your customers respond to content online. 

  1. Optimizing content 

As well as knowing generally how your audience tends to interact with content types through customer data, you’ll be able to more specifically optimize your content as you collect data about the performance of certain keywords or content topics. 

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You could use your social media analytics tool to organize your content into different campaigns and evaluate how successful different tags are in generating leads. Then, through a lead enrichment process, you will be able to fine-tune your content in the future in order to increase engagement on social media. 

  1. Measuring brand sentiment

Brand sentiment can make or break your business. If existing or prospective customers associate negative feelings with your brand, it’s very difficult to persuade them to make a purchase from your company. But how can you know what people are thinking about your company? 

By using social data, you’ll be able to recognize when positive, neutral, or negative feelings are being transmitted in social media posts or reviews about your organization. Measuring this brand sentiment over time can help you see the impact of certain products or marketing campaigns on your overall brand image. 

Brand sentiment can also be a really helpful tool for diagnosing issues with products. If lots of negative sentiments are detected in social media posts about a feature of a particular product, you might choose to redesign that product or create a FAQ page to assist your customers.

  1. Evaluating ROI 
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To make sure that you’re investing your resources wisely, you need to get a strong return on investment (ROI) on every key bit of spending in your organization. Social data analysis is the best way to evaluate the ROI of your social media marketing. 

To assess this specific ROI, you should use analytics to measure the performance of a selected social media campaign. If you see that people are responding positively to your posts and clicking through to make a purchase, you’ll be able to prove that your social media efforts are producing a positive ROI.

  1. Enhancing product development 

Social media data analysis isn’t just useful when it comes to improving your social media strategy and campaigns. Instead, it can help to drive forward all aspects of your business – and product development can be a great beneficiary of social data. 

Analyzing social media responses to your products can give you invaluable feedback that you can take forward to future products, while you can also quickly respond to pain points that are being discussed on social media. 

This means that you can continue improving your products, whether it’s something like lead management software that can be updated online or a physical product that can be altered in the production process. Ultimately, social data gives you a unique insight into whether customers are actually able to use your products or services as intended. 

  1. Designing social media goals 

If you want to keep driving growth in your business, it’s crucial that you set yourself attainable but ambitious goals. This can give your employees something to aim for, as well as allow you to measure the impact of initiatives and campaigns. Social data can be a brilliant way to design goals for your organization’s use of social media.

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Let’s say, for example, that you want to improve your use of influencer marketing on social media. By leveraging social data, you can gain a detailed look at how your current use of influencer marketing is working, while also providing metrics by which you can measure the impact of future influencer posts. The detail in social data means that you’ll be able to set these goals as small or large as you like.

Drawbacks of social data – and how to overcome them

Although there’s no doubt that social data analysis is a great tool for any organization looking to improve in the world of social media, you do need to be aware of some of the common issues that companies find when they start using social data. This will mean that you’re better prepared to deal with the drawbacks of social data. Here are some of the biggest issues in social data:

  1. Ensuring data privacy and data security 

It should be no surprise that one of the biggest issues that you need to look out for is related to data privacy. After all, data protection laws such as GDPR have had a significant impact on how we all deal with customer and employee data – with the risk of expensive fines ensuring that we remain compliant.

Obviously, social data analysis will involve working with masses of customer data. Before you start to collect your social media data, you need to make sure that you’ve got robust data privacy procedures in place – including, for example, encrypting and securely storing personal details. 

Luckily, the best social media analysis tools will have strong data security features built into them. However, it’s still your responsibility to protect and safeguard customer data. 

  1. Maintaining the accuracy of data
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Although we might wish that all of our followers on social media are genuine human beings – and therefore potential customers – spam or AI-generated accounts are unavoidable on these platforms. This can have a negative impact on the accuracy of your social data, as fake accounts can lead to wrong or inaccurate conclusions about your customer base. 

This can be a difficult problem to overcome. After all, it’s almost impossible to manually go through your social data and discard information from spam accounts one by one. However, you should consider using a tool to regularly comb through your social media follower lists and remove accounts that have low value.

For enhanced efficiency in collecting and analyzing social media data, consider utilizing a social media AI post generator tool, which can streamline content creation and audience engagement strategies.

  1. Accessing siloed data 

As with any truly modern data strategy, it’s crucial that you don’t just treat social media data as a phenomenon on its own. Siloing off data into different departments will mean that any conclusions will be drawn on a limited pool of information – and accessing siloed data can be difficult if you want to compare your social media data with other departments’ information.

Instead, you should pursue an organization-wide data strategy that uses data integration solutions across different departments. This will mean that you can draw on as much information as possible when producing insights, and that those insights will be relevant for more departments across your entire organization. 

Driving business growth with social data analysis – a step-by-step guide 

Social data is a powerful tool. However, as we’ve seen, that power needs to be handled carefully, especially when it comes to issues such as data privacy. This means that it’s important to have a clear plan when implementing social data analysis in your organization. Here, we’ve put together our step-by-step strategy for driving business growth with social data.

  1. Identify your goals and targets 

As with any significant new strategy or campaign, you should always start using social data with a set of goals and targets. Consider your current business priorities or any important weaknesses that you want to work on – these will be a good place to start when you’re looking at how to leverage social data. 

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In order to measure your progress towards these goals, you should also identify some key performance indicators (KPIs) that will act as metrics. If your aim is to use social data to improve your social media presence, for example, you might choose to evaluate your efforts according to the amount of social media impressions that are produced by your posts.

  1. Choose a data collection and analysis tool 

It’s obvious, but you’ll need to find a social media analytics tool in order to easily use social data within your company. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the right software, so you should decide, according to your price points, whether you need a cross-channel analytics tool and whether you want additional functions such as producing social media audits. 

  1. Begin with performance analysis 

Once you’ve set up a social data analysis tool, you might be wondering where to start. Most companies will benefit from beginning with an overall performance analysis. This will provide you with the fundamental information that you can use to drive your strategy going forward, such as the number of likes, views, and sales that you generate through social media. 

  1. Set up audience analytics 

A more sophisticated form of social data analysis is audience analysis. We recommend that you move on to this focus quickly as it will give you key information about your audience demographics. 

This is where you find crucial data about your followers, such as their age or location. Many social media data tools then use this data to build customer profiles, which are great ways of visualizing the information in an easy-to-use format. 

  1. Consider different types of social data analysis

Social data is certainly not limited to performance and audience analysis. Once you’ve started tracking these key data priorities, however, you should be looking at some different types of social data analysis that can give you the edge against your competitors. 

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One of the most obvious ways in which you can go the extra mile against these competitors is through direct competitor analysis. Examine how other companies are performing on social media and compare this information with your own data – this can be a great way to identify realistic but ambitious goals. 

As well as this, you might want to consider how you can embed social data analysis into every aspect of your social media strategy. This means that if you start working with an influencer, for instance, you could use social data to evaluate the success of this partnership and create a clear ROI that you can use to create smarter social media campaigns in the future. 

  1. Implement changes 

Of course, there would be no point in doing any of this if it didn’t lead to clear observable outcomes! Don’t forget to implement any changes that are suggested by your social data – and ensure that everyone in your organization can recognize the rationale behind these changes by presenting your data in an easily understandable format.

Social data analysis – driving business success in 2024

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Social media is a core part of business in today’s world. That means that you need an analysis method to match – and social data analysis is the way forward. 

By evaluating the success of your social media efforts, producing invaluable insights into your audience, and allowing you to refine your products or services, there’s no doubt that social data analysis is the future of business analytics. Follow our comprehensive guide and you’ll be able to confidently implement social data in your organization today.


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Rodney B.

Rodney is the Content Marketing Editor for EasyWP, and a writer at Namecheap. As an SEO specialist, he strives to create entertaining and valuable publications for all internet creators. Offline, he enjoys running, acting, and loaded nachos.

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