Social media has become such a critical aspect for businesses that many of you have considered hiring a social media analyst. Whether you handle social media in-house, outsource it or have someone specifically on staff to manage it, you should think about the qualities that make up a successful social media analyst.

What Is a Social Media Analyst?

A social media analyst is able to answer questions to larger business objectives instead of simply recording likes and followers. This role is counted on to track campaigns, have effective marketing knowledge and thoroughly understand how to use social media management tools to engage, report and analyze social media data.

For starters, your business’s social media efforts should always be tracked, monitored and analyzed. This helps you keep a pulse to your customers’ wants, needs and expectations, while being able to better build out your brand’s audience.

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You can try Sprout Social for free with a 30-day trial to see how much of a difference social media management tools can impact your bottom line.

What Makes a Good Social Media Analyst?

Far too often businesses lump social media analyst into other roles like social media manager and community manager. However, a social media analyst is counted on to be data-driven and know how to translate social data into valuable information.

That’s not to take away anything from the other roles as they often wear the social media analyst hat. But for agencies and businesses with large social presences, you need an expert to sort through the numbers to show your social media has a worthwhile ROI.

To get a better understanding of what to look for, here are five habits that make your social media analyst indispensable:

1. They Show Their Work

A great social media analyst always shows his or her own work. You might be asking why this is important, but it’s essential for people immersed in data to show you their hypothesis, how they track specific interactions and how they got to their overall decisions.

If your business is trying a new social media platform or marketing strategy, you want someone who will challenge the process and validate its purpose through data. When social media analysts show their work, you know their process is legitimate and efficient.

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When analysts show their work, it also helps document the overall social media marketing process. Once you have the data that recaps how a hypothesis was made, you can better measure your social media efforts.

Simply put, it’s necessary to look for a person who can show you the analysis instead of telling you about it.

2. They Are a True Data Professional

This might seem obvious, but to be a truly exceptional social media analyst, this person needs to live and breathe data. With social media, there are so many aspects that can make or break your overall strategy. A social media analyst can ensure the numbers are there to back up your decisions.

Each platform has its own unique social media statistics you should track. But every social media analyst should have a solid grasp on data from the three major platforms:

Twitter Data

  • Tweet Impressions: The number of people who possibly saw your Tweet.
  • Profile Visits: Total unique Twitter user visits to your profile page.
  • Mentions: How many times your @username has been mentioned by users.
  • Tweets Linking to Your Page: Total Tweets attributed to you with URLs.
  • Engagement Rate Total clicks, Tweets, Retweets, likes and replies divided by impressions.
  • Link Clicks: Number of times your posted links are clicked.
Sample Sprout Twitter report

Facebook Data

  • Page Likes: Total number of Likes for your Facebook Page.
  • Post Reach: Number of unique visitors to the content on your Page.
  • Reach: Total number of people of have seen your post.
  • Paid Likes: Number of Likes associated with your paid Ad campaigns.
  • Organic Likes: Number of Likes not involved with your paid Ad campaigns.
  • Unlikes: Total amount of users who unlike your Page.
  • Net Likes: Total new Likes minus number of unlikes.
facebook pages report by sprout social


  • Views: The total number of video views per post.
  • Engagements:
  • Follower insight: The percentage increase or decrease of your net new followers, since the previous equivalent date range.
  • Actual Followers Gained: Total followers gained within the report period.
  • Engagements per media: Total engagements divided by the number of media you sent.
  • Engagements per follower: Total engagements divided by the number of followers at the end of the report period.
Sample Sprout Instagram Report

3. They Understand the ‘Social’ Aspect

If you follow our blog, you’ve heard us say “putting the social in social media.” We can’t stress this idea enough. The Sprout Social 2016 Q2 Index discovered 1 in 3 people say they’ll switch to a competitor if you don’t respond to customers on social media. To add to it, 36% agreed they’d likely shame or post something negative about your company on their own social profiles as well.

Social media analysts still have to care about the human aspect of social media even though they’re counted on for mostly data. Social media managers and community managers are more responsible for actually engaging with customers, but analysts should be able to tell business owners whether or not their communication efforts are working.

This could be discovered by paying close attention to spikes in unfollows and unlikes as well as dips in engagement rates, response times and organic likes.

4. They Have Patience With Results

Transforming your social media marketing strategy overnight is no easy task. Expecting to find someone to do so is even more unlikely. Instead, you have to find a social media analyst that is patient with data.

Data experts are the best at finding trends and measuring them to see if they can mock a pattern. For your social efforts, you want analysts who are willing to be patient with the data recovery process and is truly focused on data collection.

Social media analysts and search engine optimization (SEOs) are closely related because both focus on audience engagement, brand awareness and increasing website traffic. Each role is responsible to implement a content strategy and distribute social posts as well.

Whether it’s tracking through UTM parameters, URL shortening data or Twitter response rates, you need patience to see the best results. The best analysts will be those who don’t rush their work.

5. They’re Always up to Date on Social Media Trends

Every year, social media trends come and go, but your analysts should always have their ears to the ground. While you should strive to have people who stay abreast to the news in your industry, you’re not necessarily looking for a fortune teller.

It’s important for analysts to stay current with new SEO practices, blog optimization and brand awareness building techniques. Analysts have to dissect everything to collect data and look for patterns.

This is why it’s important to pay attention to stats like the key findings from the CMO Council on visuals in marketing. The organization discovered nearly 80% of marketers think visual assets with video will increase in importance through the upcoming years.

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For example, an analyst would be able to track trends within your own visual data efforts and be able to make clear decisions and future content. It’s all about finding which analytics matter and can make a difference in your business.

Gathering Social Media Analysis

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An ideal social media analyst would be able to track and monitor new trends within the social media landscape, whether it’s a new platform or a method to gathering data. The industry is constantly changing, but luckily with right social media analytics tools, your analysts, manager or social media team can be one step ahead of the curve.

That’s why Sprout offers robust analytics tools to ensure your social media data is tracked and gathered in one easy-to-use platform. Social media analysts have to go beyond just tracking general social media data and instead, analyze the information to make more educated business decisions.

Your business should constantly look for ways to improve performance and with the right analyst, you’ll be able to highlight your efforts within your social presence.

Keep the conversation going and let us know what you look for in a social media analyst in the comments below!