Jennifer Coffey

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What is Social Media Analytics?

Social Media Analytics can sound complicated and confusing, depending on who you ask. Today I will break it down and explain what it is and how valuable the information can be to the people who use it. Before we get started, let’s start from the beginning.

What is Social Media?

“Social media refers to websites and applications that are designed to allow people to share content quickly, efficiently, and in real-time.” 

The Balance Small Business

There are about 3.8 billion social media users throughout the world. From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube, there is a bunch of content to interact with online. But according to Gohar F. Khan, social media is not limited to these platforms. There are many ways for users to interact online. 

Many people use social media for fun, but companies, small businesses, influencers, and bloggers understand how social media works is critical to their growing success. 

One way to help these businesses grow is by posting and interacting with people on various social media platforms. From photos, videos, links, 

Overall, the goal for anyone that wants to get famous on social media is to reach as many people as possible. The more people a person can reach, the more opportunity to grow their business or organization. So, how do they reach as many people as possible? The best way to make the best decisions is to use social media analytics. 

What is Social Media Analytics?

There are multiple definitions of social media analytics, but at its core, it is an approach of collecting and looking at data (successes and failures) and analyzing it to make the best decisions on what to post and when. 

Social media analytics is not to be confused with social media intelligence, listening, or monitoring. It is most commonly confused with business analytics. 

“Business analytics is the process of collating, sorting, processing, and studying business data, and using statistical models and iterative methodologies to transform data into business insights.” 


Although social media can be a business for many influencers, business analytics focuses more on structured, historical, and private data. 

The Framework

According to Gohar F. Khan, there are eight layers to the social media analytic framework. 

  1. Networks – analyze the network of people you are connecting with (on social media channels).
  2. Text – look at the textual elements (posts, tweets, updates) and identify the content’s theme/ topics.
  3. Actions – assess the actions taken on the post (likes, dislikes, shares, retweets). These are used to measure the success of the post. 
  4. Search Engines – check out trends, keyword searches, and see what’s relevant. 
  5. Locations – getting a feel for the location of social media users, contents, and data. 
  6. Hyperlinks – look at the in-going and out-going traffic to see where people are coming from or where they are leaving.
  7. Mobile – check out what mobile users are doing to optimize their engagement.
  8. Multimedia – assess the business value of video, images, audio, and other content on social media.

Types of Social Media Analysis

Again, according to Gohar F. Khan, there are four different types of analytics.

  • Descriptive – (reactive) focused on gathering information and assessing problems or opportunities.
  • Diagnostic – (reactive) looks at the bigger picture of some of the reasons why posts either worked or did not. 
  • Predictive – (proactive) taking a look at data gathered over time to predict future trends. 
  • Prescriptive – (proactive) focuses on the best action to take for a specific scenario. 

So, what information are we analyzing? 

In order to create the most successful content, analyzers need to look at the common trends of each post to assess what works and what does not. 

There are a bunch of different ways to measure how successful a post is. 

  • Actions on page – how many people were there
  • Engagement – likes, comments, shares
  • Engagement rate – active users engaging on posts
  • Followers – how many people follow the account
  • Impressions – how many people see the post
  • Page likes – how many people like the page
  • Page previews – how many people hover over the page on Facebook
  • Page views – how many people see the page
  • Post clicks – clicks on the whole post
  • Post reach – how many people had the post on their screens


Overall, there are multiple layers or framework that a person can use for social media analytics. The eight layers carry valuable information to help develop successful posts. There are also four different types of social media analytics. There is descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive when it comes to predicting future problems and opportunities. Lastly, by using social media analytics, someone can decide when, where, and what to create the most successful post they possibly can. 


Khan, G. F. (2018). Creating value with social media analytics: Managing, aligning, and mining social media text, networks, actions, location, apps, hyperlinks, multimedia, & search engines data. Seattle, WA: CreateSpace.

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