Skip navigation links


Social media analytics allow you to measure the impact of your communications efforts on various social media platforms. There are hundreds of data measurements available. To avoid data overload, it is best to develop a strategy for what you will measure and how you will collect and report the data.

Beyond gathering numbers, social media analytics require analysis. Take time to really examine your data on a regular basis and see what you can learn from it. For example, you might identify trends that help you determine which types of content perform best on each platform for your audience. There is not one best answer that works for all brands on each platform. The results you see will be unique to your audience. Using analytics can enable you to test and experiment with your content to identify what works best for your unit.

Executive Dashboards

University Communications utilizes an executive dashboard to roll up results from all of our communications efforts into one report. The dashboard contains a collection of the top metrics University Communications monitors and manages to ensure our work accomplishes its purpose. The metrics are organized by four main assessment areas: reach, consumption, engagement, and sentiment. See below for more information on these categories.

You can create your own version of an executive dashboard for reporting your social media analytics. Below are some things to consider during the process.
You should have a set of communications goals for your team. These goals should relate to and support the overall business objectives of your unit. Each goal should follow the SMART acronym (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound). Schedule time to discuss business objectives and communications goals with the key stakeholders in your unit. (See for more information about setting SMART goals.)
There are hundreds of social media analytics that can be measured and evaluated. Choose a few to track that directly relate to your communications goals. Prioritize your analytics choices so that you get real value out of your data.
Have a discussion about who will need access to the dashboard and what types of decisions they hope to be able to make based on the information. This will help you to ensure the dashboard meets their needs and to determine what format of presentation is most suitable to their preferences.
You should build time into your workflow to update your dashboard. Depending on your team's needs, this could be done weekly, monthly, or quarterly. You'll also want to build time into your workflow for capturing analytics. The long-term availability of data is platform-specific. Snapchat data disappears after 24 hours. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have their own limitations. Be sure to explore each platform you're using to determine the best data collection schedule for your account(s). How you collect the data depends on your personal preference. Some individuals choose to enter select data into spreadsheets, or export data sets from the platform. Others utilize screenshots.

Assessment Categories

There are different categories of assessment metrics, including reach, consumption, brand engagement and sentiment. Choose metric(s) within these categories to align to your goals. 

Reach metrics indicate the effectiveness of communications at getting positive messages in front of people. This includes extending reach through advertising, attracting more website visitors, and growing the number of people who see your content on social media. The more people your content reaches, the more likely a greater number of people will be aware of MSU and begin to form desired impressions.

Example social media metrics: Twitter reach; Facebook impressions
Consumption metrics assess the amount of content people read, view, and watch. The more content people consume, the more likely they will understand the MSU brand and have elevated perceptions of MSU's reputation.

Example social media metrics: link clicks; video views
Brand engagement metrics provide insight into the reaction a person may have had after consuming content. The more people like, share, and comment, the more likely it is the content is making a deeper connection and elevating esteem. Those actions also extend content to the social networks of the individual who took a brand engagement action.

Example social media metrics: Twitter retweets; Facebook shares; Instagram comments
The ultimate measure of success is sentiment. Sentiment metrics assess actual perceptions of and beliefs about MSU. Sentiment data can be gathered using various analytics tools.

Platform Analytics

Each social media platform provides some level of analytics for business accounts. The degree of analytics available varies widely. There are also many free and paid analytics tools available. See the External Resources section of our website for a list of some of these tools.

Facebook analytics are accessed from your Facebook page by selecting the Insights tab. There are many tabs of data available for you to explore. For more information on using Facebook Insights, visit the Page Insights section of the Facebook Help Center. Data can be exported, or viewed on the platform using their data visualization tools.
Twitter analytics are accessed by visiting the Tweet Activity Dashboard ( and logging in with your Twitter account information. The Home tab provides monthly summaries of your data, and other tabs provide information relevant to your messages and audience. Learn more about Twitter analytics in the Tweet Activity Dashboard section of the Twitter Help Center.
Instagram analytics are available to Instagram users with a business profile through Instagram Insights. Insights include impressions, reach, and engagement. Learn more about Instagram Insights through the Accessing Instagram Insights section of the Instagram Business Tools guide.
YouTube analytics are accessed by visiting and logging in to your account. There are many tabs of data available. Data can be exported or viewed on the platform. Learn more in the YouTube Analytics section of the YouTube Help Center.
Snapchat analytics are limited. When you view your account's story, small icons and numbers will appear next to each element of the story. The eye icon indicates the number of individuals who have viewed that story element. The triangle icon indicates the number of individuals who have taken a screenshot of that element. An easy way to log these analytics is to take a screenshot(s) of the analytics page. Snapchat analytics disappear with the story - 24 hours after they are posted.

Additional Resources

Below are links to relevant resources shared at Social @ Michigan State events. See the meetings and workshops lists on the Campus Community page for additional information regarding these events.