How to Use Data as a Predictive Tool

The end of the year is a natural time to reflect on all you’ve accomplished over the past 12 months. After all, no matter your personal or professional situation, you must look back in order to move forward. When it comes to social media, any business worth its weight in followers will use analytics from the past year to plan for what’s to come. “If you use data as a predictive tool, the reporting and results will take care of themselves,” said Tim Johnson, vice president of social media and content for one50one. Here are some tips for using this year’s numbers to create a plan for the new year.

Know your numbers

While it’s important to focus on the numbers in your year-end reports, knowing which numbers matter is equally important. Start by taking note of the objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) you identified at the start of the year. Then, look at how the numbers changed as new developments and trends emerged over the course of your campaigns. Use the numbers to ask questions. For example, you may have gained a certain number of followers, but how many users are actually looking at what you shared? How are they engaging with it? Your data can tell you the answers.

Note the trends

To say a lot can change on social media platforms in a year is an understatement. For instance, Instagram recently added 9×16 reels. Even if you aren’t a trendsetter when it comes to adopting new platforms, it’s important to understand new developments. Your decision to adopt a new approach — or not — will determine your overall content strategy. As you plan for the new year, think about which tools and offerings you could adopt, make better use of, or leave behind in the next year.

Know your audience

It’s safe to say the habits of social media users change as the wind blows. But luckily, that very audience also provides you with crucial predictive data. Used properly, these numbers can eliminate the need to guess when planning your strategies for the coming year. Rather than getting caught up in the “next big thing,” focus on your users’ patterns and behaviors while taking into account their key demographics to plan your next move. If it’s irrelevant to your audience, don’t waste your time, energy, or dollars.

Enlist help

Anyone can pull the data, but an expert with deep knowledge and field experience can give the numbers meaning. An experienced marketing team can use its expertise to explain and explore the pain points for each new option you propose. A professional team can also use numbers to add life to your campaigns. Finally, experts can help you focus in the right direction. As Johnson said, a true expert is up on the trends and uses historical data to know “what is going to be sticky and what will die on the vine.”

How do you use data to tell your story?

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