Analytics used to be a term reserved for data geeks and web developers. If it’s one thing that social media has done has given the end user a vested interest in understanding them – or at least paying attention to them. After all, they are an excellent way of understanding the impact what you put out there has on others and, in some cases, how valuable those others find your content. It’s not just for media sites anymore.

For those of you who have a Facebook business page, you will be happy to hear that they are making strides to make business pages more relevant and more friendly for the administrator. Facebook has recently integrated their Insights feature – albeit on a very simply level – right into the front page of the wall.

View high level analytics as an admin right on your wallNow, only the basics show up here but they are a pretty good indication of what’s hot and what’s not on your page. This is useful because it can:

Overall, I think Facebook Insights will help the usefulness of business pages by providing on-the-fly analysis.  This ability really makes your business page a more solid extension of your hub and spokes strategy from a social media standpoint.

I also think these types of practices are what the future holds in store for all social media platforms. Up until recently, they have all been fun and effective ways to connect with your audience (the ‘what’).  HOWEVER, without good analytics (the ‘why’ and ‘how’ if you will) , the process becomes more art than science.

Dan Zarella has taken this approach in terms of really dissecting the whole process and in some cases reverse-engineering how various social networks work. Although there is a fine line between understanding for betterment and gaming the system, I prefer to err on the side of the latter rather than fall short on the former.

One service out there that helps regular folks like you and I get a barometer on how we are doing is Klout. They attempt to quantify how strongly influential social media is and how valuable you are to another person, social media-wise. Among many companies, casinos are interested in this data to better cater to their socially influential patrons; word-of-mouth marketing at its best. Klout started out with just Twitter analytics due to the openness and simplicity of their API. They recently integrated the Facebook API (which is huge, IMO) and are now working on LinkedIn. This third component is particularly interesting since LinkedIn is, for the most part, all about business.

Analytics seem to be the new black this year. I am interested to see where they go from here.  What are your favorite tools for measuring the effectiveness of your social media marketing? We would love to hear about them. If any of them are particularly interesting we may even reach out to you to learn more. How’s that for influence? 🙂