How to Collect and Analyze Social Media Data

by | Last Updated: Feb 20, 2023 | Social Media Tips |

Knowing how to collect social media data is one way to better your brand establishment and recognition.

Knowing how to analyze social media data is the other step. Utilize your social media profiles better and turn them into conversion tools..

Follow the upcoming steps and learn the benefits that social media data mining can bring you and your business. Many online mining tools can turn a bothersome task into a few clicks.

What is Social Media Data?

Social Media Data is all the data that a social network collects on its users as they browse the social media or interact with social media content. Some social media, such as Facebook, may also use cookies to track activity off-site, although this practice may not be completely legal.

All social media data falls into two categories: social media content data and social media connections or relations data. The two set work together to paint a rich picture of a user and their habits.

The user contributes the first set as they browse and interact with the content; the second set is collected by social media as the user interacts with pages and other users.

How to Collect Social Media Data?

Social Media Data can be collected manually or automatically. Which approach is better for you depends on the size of your business, the desired audience to obtain the data from, the platform that you want to collect data from, and the purpose of the social media data collection.

Understand your answers to the previous questions before venturing into data collection.

Manual Social Media Data Collection

Manual data collection is a bothersome task, but it is a great way to interact with your audience. It is the only approach to provide you with a detailed overview of your target audience’s interests. This is also the only way to spot new social trends and microtrends, which may open up new possibilities for business expansion.

As you read content for manual data collection, you should look for visual or linguistic cues that may aid your development strategy building. Visual cues will help you identify what the audience is talking about.

It is part-manual analysis of Instagram posts that has revealed the nine types of Instagram content most interacted with. When looking for linguistic cues, Nancy Howard, a content manager for the best research paper writing services, suggests to pay attention to:

  • The length of sentences – the shorter, the better for some media, such as Instagram, but Twitter and Facebook are quite different,
  • Punctuation or the lack of it – many users omit any punctuation and rely on the reader to properly decipher the intended meaning,
  • Changes in the syntax – word order may play a significant role in personal recognition and group assimilation,
  • Morphology – novel word formation, absence of endings, or grammatical novelties (“I be hungry”…) may all point out geographical data, the dialect spoken by the users, or a social group they belong to, …

Manual social media data harvesting provides you with a very detailed picture of your users. It is impossible to use this approach to address thousands of users. Still, you can spot new trends early on, and then you can use automatic social media data collection to verify the findings..

Automatic Data Collection

Automatic Social Media Data collection is a process in which automated solutions retrieve data points from multiple users. The data points collected include, but are not limited to: demographic details, age, location, likes and comments, engagement rates, content preferences, activity times, total activity time within a period, and many others.

These automated solutions can retrieve these social media data sets upon demand from thousands or hundreds of thousands of users. The data obtained can either verify or disestablish our assumptions from the manual data collection stage.

In automatic social media data gathering or collection, it is important to understand the legal aspect of such actions. It is necessary to obtain permits from all these users to get an insight into their data, which can significantly slow down data collection.

Not complying with regulations in this field, with this many users involved, can lead to significant privacy breaches, such as in the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal back in 2018. So, how to avoid a data breach?

Volunteer Science lets you access data that users have voluntarily given for scientific purposes. This web-based solution offers you access to many data points and provides you with the final user’s consent to use that data for research purposes. In making your data queries, you can be as general or specific as you would like to be. There are other similar projects that you can request data from, and even Facebook offers insight into these data points for as long as you can validate your need for these data sets in an ethical way.

If you are good at programming or know someone who is, you can also make a data collection bot or code to collect the data for you. Python is a great programming language that already has libraries for interacting with most social services APIs. The problem is that these automated solutions do not always work, and libraries do not give them access to all the websites you may need access to.

How to Analyze Data? 

Finding ways to analyze social media data is not easy and goes beyond simple percentages and instance-counting. While searching for the best analytic tools, it is important to understand what kind of data you will be analyzing and how standardized the data is.

Some features that an ideal social media data analysis solution should provide you with are:

  • Ability to accept data in a variety of formats
  • Ability to rearrange the data as you see fit
  • The ability to access data from multiple standpoints and use different models to validate your findings
  • The ability to present the data in an easy-to-understand way
  • The ability to easily update the data or save search customization to use it later on
  • Competition information gathering and analysis and
  • Great customer support

Some common and proven services that offer data analytics are: Sprout Social, TapInfluence, HubSpot, Snaplytics, and BuzzSumo. Of course, Google Analytics is the giant in the field, but some data analysts feel that other solutions may offer better data specialization and more customization opportunities.

All of this data needs to be presented in a compact, easy-to-understand form. This is done so that everybody can see the same trends and laws that you have observed. Hiring the best paper writing service presents your data the way you want and additional research that these services can provide you with can be used to validate your ideas even further. Delegating your work further can also provide you with valuable insight that one more pair of eyes can see which you may have missed, or they can even notice trends that you may have overlooked.

How can I Best Use Data?

Social Media Data is best used fresh. This should say that any trends that may be observed change on an almost daily basis, with only a few of them persisting for months or even years. The best example was the increase in sales of beauty products in China in February 2020. During this period, the country experienced an 80& increase in sales, which nobody expected amid lockdown. Make sure that once you have your data, you can use it the best way to suit your business.

  • Content and Engagement Optimization – social media data analysis can provide you with insights that will tell what direction to aim your posts at BEFORE you even start making them. The industry-standard practice is creating posts and then deciding which were the most successful, only to produce more posts like those. Using social media data, you can understand what kind of posts to make and how to up the engagement.
  • Further Outreach to the Desired Audience – social Media Data Analytics can provide you with the peculiarities of your prospective audience. Using the right jargon and visual cues can bring in more potential clientele to work with.
  • Social Network Content Development Strategy – social Media Analytics does not only provide you with data that should influence your short-term decisions but should rather be applied to long-term planning as well. In doing so, you should understand that loyal audiences age and their interests change. Take this into consideration and apply your observations to a set of historical social media data analyses to see how people’s interests develop over time.
  • Better Customer Conversion – focusing on the best possible customer experience can significantly increase your conversion rate. After all, in the job market, many platforms already include the ‘typical response time’ field in their profiles – the need for great customer experience is now more obvious than ever.
  • Using Social Media Influencers to Your Advantage – understanding social currents underlying apparent trends can help you understand WHO your audience is influenced by. Addressing the influencers by offering freebies and shoutout-for-shoutout campaigns can significantly increase your visibility in the niche and set you on a beneficial path.

Final Remarks

In the world of data, it is important to know good data from bad and use it to your benefit. Proper social media data collection can and will result in your better understanding of who your audience is, which social media platforms they use, and what kind of social media content they engage with. You should always use proper social media data collection tools and analyze their findings to better your service and, most importantly, your clients’ experience of your brand.

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