We as Social Media Managers are often one (wo)man wrecking crews. What I mean by that is that we often play the role of (among other things) content creator, content manager, content poster, and analytics manager. We all have our favorites and least favorites out of that list and they are all undoubtedly important. My favorite out of that list? Analytics manager. I geek out over Sprout Social reports, Facebook and Instagram Insights, and Twitter Analytics. I’ve played sports since before I could walk, and as a competitor, it’s thrilling to track the KPIs of certain campaigns to see if I hit my goals or not. When I’m looking at the analytics for our social accounts or reading articles online, I often see metrics outlined that I believe should not be given as much weight as some people give them (Disclaimer: Everyone’s organization is different. By no means is anything set in stone.). Here are three:

1. Fans/Followers

*GASP*. Yes, I too have a fan/follower goal that I wish to hit by the end of our organization’s fiscal year. No, that is not wrong. What is wrong, however, is wanting to gain followers for the sole purpose of seeing that number grow. If your follower count grows but your engagement rate declines, I would venture to say that is not helping your organization at all. Engagement rate is different depending on who you ask, but to me, it is Engagements/Impressions.

I’ll give you a personal example of this. I’ve mentioned this before, but I manage the social media for a Minor League Baseball team. It happens to be the Minor League Baseball team that Tim Tebow started his professional baseball career with last year, the Columbia Fireflies. Last year, our followers grew exponentially. I hit my follower goal within the first couple months of the season. That was exciting to see, but I was afraid to look at our engagement rates. Remember, engagement rate is Engagements/Impressions. I knew our impressions were going to skyrocket due to our followers growing, but unless our engagements grew with them, our engagement rate would suffer due to how the equation works. With the help of our marketing team, we pushed quality (Tebow and non-Tebow) content to keep the engagement rate virtually equal to what it was before the announcement.

2. (General) Demographics

We can get so caught up in reports such as the Pew Research Social Media Use studies that we forget to narrow the scope to focus on our own audience. I admit, looking at those studies always fascinates me. Yes, there is a time when you should look at industry trends, but by no means should you base strategic decisions off of them. When making decisions for your social media strategy, only YOUR followers’ demographics should be considered.

According to this graph by Statista, as of January 2018, Facebook was split 52%/48% women/men. Compared to the Fireflies, however, our Facebook Fans are made up of 61% women and 39% men.

I could narrow my target on a post to just women and therefore potentially generate more engagement. But, if I only looked at the graph that said it was more evenly split, I wouldn’t target any specific gender, and miss out on that potential boost in engagement.

3. (General) Time Online

Same idea, different statistic. Looking at when people are online is HUGE to decision-making. After all, if no one is online, who is going to engage? When thinking about when to post something so that the most people see it, DO NOT Google “When are the most people on Facebook.” Those statistics are interesting, but nothing more. It does not mean anything unless YOUR followers are on at the same time.

Personal example: For every home game, we have a “Facebook photographer” who is a part-time employee who walks around the crowd and takes photos of fans. We then post them on our Facebook page later in the game and encourage people to tag themselves and their friends in the photos. We noticed that around 9pm the nights we have home games, engagement is through the roof because of people tagging themselves and their friends. We decided to schedule a post for the next day’s game at 9pm the night before because of this and have seen successful engagement on those posts. We would’ve never known this if we were just looking at general times people are online as opposed to our own data.

You should make it second nature to check your social media statistics at least a few times a week. I have conditioned myself to click on them whenever I have a second in my day. My hope is that by doing that, you can serve your audience better and strengthen your organization.

Kyle Martin

Kyle is the New Media Engagement and Promotions Manager for the Columbia Fireflies, a Minor League Baseball team affiliated with the New York Mets. Follow him on Twitter @Kyl3Martin.