On a global scale, social media has changed the way we live our lives. From the way we interact with people, to the way we consume global information (i.e. news), social media is an enabling framework that offers consumers real estate (i.e. Free and Premium Options) to build digital landscapes of the future. It’s everywhere, valuable, and exponentially growing.
In general, it helps people connect and share content. This brings great value to individuals and businesses alike. Now, more than ever before, it’s evident that social media has become an integral part of people’s lives and daily routines. Given its importance in consumers’ lives, businesses now have the perfect opportunity to connect with their existing consumers and attract new ones by using social media. However, with the massive volumes of data generated each day, people need analytic tools to make sense of it all. More specifically, it can be extremely difficult for businesses to stand out in the modern-day marketplace unless they have decision-support tools with data analytic functions.
According to Moshin (2020), there are an estimated 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, and this number continues to grow. With ethical access to consumers data, businesses can create much value for their customers, which leads to higher profit margins for the company.
“When I hear people debate the ROI of social media? It makes me remember why so many businesses fail. Most businesses are not playing the marathon. They’re playing the sprint. They’re not worried about lifetime value and retention. They’re worried about short-term goals” (Vaynerchuck, n.d.).
Employers using Facebook to screen job candidates
According to Jacobson, J. and Gruzd, A. (March 20, 2020), with the introduction of new information communication technologies, employers are increasingly engaging in social media screening, also known as cyber-vetting, as part of their hiring process. Personally, I think this type of hiring behavior is expected in today’s society. However, in order for me to feel more comfortable about it, clear guidelines need to be established that not only limits the type of information businesses can use about a person based on their digital footprint but restrictions that govern which social media site can be used for intelligence gathering. Without such standards, personal privacy becomes a major concern. As an example of my perspective, I would prefer to opt-in to a mutual agreement with a potential company during the application submission process that allows me to select my social media accounts that I authorize the company to review. For instance, I would authorize a company to evaluate my digital footprint based on a review of my professional LinkedIn profile and/or my personal website but not my ‘family and friends’-oriented Facebook profile.
Not everyone uses social media for the same purposes, so without an equal-opportunity playing field, fair assessments cannot be made in order to drive behavioral-based ‘are they fit to work with us’ decisions. Looking ahead, if this is the so-called norm for employers seeking culturally fit job candidates, the executive staff of most organizations better start creating, updating, or completely deleting their social media accounts so evaluations can be performed on them as well. If the leadership isn’t leading by example, why should his/her employees do the same?
According to Mohsin (2020, as cited by Pewinternet, 2018), Facebook remains the most widely used social media platform; roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults (i.e. 68%) now report they are users. For a wealth of reasons, this brings great value to all consumers if they choose to dig into the data behind the scenes. As an example, here are a few benefits for using Facebook analytic tools for insight discovery (Mulvey, 2018).
Allows businesses to become active across a variety of channels (i.e. omni-present);
Helps generate loyalty from existing customers and attract new ones;
Adds credibility for brands;
Aids in brand awareness;
Increases referral opportunities;
Helps build brands; and
Helps assess behavioral activity of target audiences.
So, what tools are out there to use? Are they free or do users need to pay to use them? These are all great questions that will be answered below to help readers understand what’s available on a general level.
Facebook Insight (A Good Starting Point)
Facebook insights (i.e. Facebook Analytics) is a good place to start for basic reports on user engagement, content sharing, and such but won’t give users the ability to perform detailed analysis on pages and/or brand competitors without a paid subscription.
Thankfully, there are many tools on the market today that can provide you with the right data to understand your customers, prepare better strategies and make key business decisions. Moving forward, let’s understand why Facebook analytics are important and how professionals are making the most from the tools available.
According to Keyhole (2019), Facebook analytics tracks user interaction on a brand’s Facebook page, which includes several metrics such as reach, impressions, engagement, reactions, followers, likes, shares etc. These insights help people evaluate brand performance on Facebook and it also helps them frame/deliver better social media content strategies. As the number of daily and monthly active users on Facebook increase, so does the data. As a result, this is where Facebook analytic tools play a critical role for businesses. By using such tools, a business can assess the data, set KPIs, and create specific goals all under one roof. It serves as a tool to get a perspective of the current situation and gives a roadmap to reach the set goals (Keyhole, 2019).
Facebook Insights provides detailed metrics about a user’s posts and the engagement they earned. Audience analysis, including demographic and location breakdown, helps businesses better understand their fans. Engagement metrics can be seen in an overview or for each specific post, helping a business understand what type of content works best. Other than Facebook Insights, another commonly used tool to perform analytic functions and generate reports is called, Cyfe.
According to Keyhole (2019), Cyfe is an online business dashboard that integrates a wide range of widgets to cover different aspects of your business. The right choice of widgets can cover marketing, client data, finance, web analytics, sales, and of course, social media. There are over 50 widget options to use for the Facebook plugin that allows users to customize for their needs. As Keyhole outlines, users can start with an overview of their page metrics, then dive in deeper with widgets that display stories, posts, views, likes, impressions, check-ins, users by country, adverts and more. You can download reports of your data in various formats. The cost to use Cyfe runs users $0 for FREE services but jumps up to $29/month for the PREMIUM goods. I selected Cyfe because it offers users an intuitive user-interface and multi-widget dashboard that is highly customizable. In addition to it being FREE, with limited functions, there’s also advanced features for those looking to do advanced analytics. This comes with the premium version, but the capability is there.
According to Mulvey (2018), here are a few areas in the social media landscape to look out for in the future:
Product discovery becomes more visual (and social);
Social Video Saturation (and evolution);
GEN Z drives Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR);
Social CEO become the new normal.
With all things considered, I predict social media will continue to become more involved in our society’s lives. This will cause an increasing demand signal that drives individuals and businesses both to leverage analytical tools to interpret all the data generated from such activities. Looking ahead on the digital horizon, the value of Facebook—amongst many other social media conglomerates—will not only be assessed by global users on social sharing and creation functionality but more importantly, on their execution of global standards to protect people from privacy infringement.