Social Media Data Visualization - The Ultimate Guide
Today, we get data from everywhere. In most cases, this is a good thing, especially for marketers who use it to develop successful campaigns and strategies. But, the fact that it’s in our nature to receive visual data better than text is a reason enough to consider social media data visualization. Here you will find the reasons why marketers should present social media data in a visual format.
Table of Contents
The importance of social media data visualization
Social media pros know that sharing visual content yields higher levels of engagement, and that means increased brand awareness, improved marketing reach, and increased ROI.
Having access to vast amounts of data often gives marketers a hard time picking what they need to measure performance, thus leaving them confused and not able to make any decisions.
By using data visualization, they can increase the quality and speed of their social media marketing decisions. They’ll be able to understand massive amounts of information better, make informed decisions, as well as present the results to clients, executives, or managers in a clear and pleasant-to-look manner. This will surely keep their attention more effectively.
Let’s break this down by explaining what data visualization and social media data are.
What is data visualization?
It is the graphical representation of data by using graphs, charts, maps, and other visual elements that can be easily interpreted by everyone. In a way, it’s a type of visual art that attracts people’s attention and keeps their eyes on the most important message.
Data visualization helps decision-makers understand difficult concepts or discover new patterns. The most common forms include:
• Bar charts
• Line charts
• Area charts
• Pie charts
• Scatter plots
• Heat maps
It’s important to use the right type of data visualization that will help you point out and clarify the takeaways from your data instead of confusing others even more.
Is data visualization in demand?
Data visualization can improve your marketing efforts in many other ways than just making data easier to understand. Here are some of the biggest reasons why it’s in demand:
It provides greater insight
Data visualization improves comprehension by helping you to figure out the connection between various datasets to identify patterns and trends. It makes your data more meaningful and relevant, helping you to apply it correctly.
It connects and presents the most important parts of a dataset in a clear way that makes sense to anyone who sees it, rather than overwhelming you with information.
Thanks to these insights, you can make a difference between seemingly similar data, something that you can do with traditional descriptive statistics.
It helps you make data-driven decisions
Data visualization helps you make informed, data-driven decisions by providing better insight and understanding of the data. As a result, decision-makers save a significant amount of time and energy that would otherwise be spent sifting through massive amounts of data. With social media dashboard it is easier and you can learn how to build social media dashboards on your own.
Instead, they can focus on developing successful campaigns and strategies to beat the competition and stay ahead of them.
It grabs your audience’s attention
Well-designed visuals along with data storytelling grab your audience’s attention and engage them. It makes the information you present more meaningful, helping you to understand the message.
It can be repurposed
Thanks to its versatility, data visualization can be repurposed into various formats and aspects of business, whether that’s content marketing or social media. Presenting the information in a clear way that’s easy to understand improves the comprehension of important metrics.
Now that you know the pros of data visualization and why it is in demand, let’s see what social media data is and how it can be applied to data visualization here.
What’s social media data?
Likes and shares are just part of social media data. What this valuable data does is help you to understand your audience better and their engagement with your brand. Collecting and analyzing social media data allows you to see how successful your campaigns and posts are and the social media reporting tool makes it easier.
Thanks to social media analytics, you can find out the type of content that converts and the platform that brings the most leads. Besides measuring impressions, likes, and shares, social media data can be used for:
• Lead generation – Social media data analytics allows you to create an accurate lead generation model based on the activities that social media users engage in.
• Sales outrich – Social media insights can help salespeople connect with customers more easily through personalized conversations and use the right sales approaches to achieve their goals.
• Audience segmentation – Social media analytics allows you to segment your audience based on things like gender, age, occupation, ethnicity, and other demographic segmentation factors.
• Content engagement – Social media data can help you understand where to post more so that you can engage with your audience, as well as where to post less.
The three steps of social media analytics are:
1. Capturing – determining a particular goal and capturing data to measure your social media key performance indicators.
2. Comprehending – determining the most effective tactics on particular networks. An audience that doesn’t interact with your content means that you have to improve your strategy.
3. Presenting – Once you comprehend your data, the next step is to visualize it and present it. For this, you need data visualization.
How to visualize social media data - tips
When it comes to presenting social media data, here are the best tips that are worth remembering:
1. Know your audience
Adapt your presentation to your target audience, whether it's executives, coworkers, or stakeholders. This is crucial if you want to engage them effectively. It’s similar to knowing your audience on social media so that you can deliver the right content for them and ensure high engagement.
Think about your audience when creating visual formats to present your social media data. For example, you wouldn’t like to overwhelm your executives with information as you already know that they are busy.
If your social media data visualization is aimed at a director who would like to know the high-level key performance indicators and the particular figures that caused them, create a table that compares precise values. Even though this type of visual may not be as attractive as infographics, they offer hard data on metrics like conversions, leads, etc.
As you can see, knowing your audience can help you tackle the right data that will be interesting and relevant to them. Avoid overwhelming them with information even if you present the most relevant data. Also, make sure you have an idea of the story you want to share.
Therefore, determine a precise purpose for your visualized social media data to narrow it down to one important subject that you want to talk about. In this way, you can group and organize information in a logical and easy-to-understand order for effective and powerful data storytelling.
2. Know your graphs
Each graph is created to present data in a specific way, so it’s only logical that some of them are better than others. Take a look at the different types of graphs and their common usage:
• Scatter plot – this type of graph shows a correlation.
• Pie chart – this one shows proportions. However, make sure you don’t use it when you have more than 5 slivers. In that case, use another graph.
• Line graph – use this graph to present trends and patterns.
• Table – this type of graph is perfect for presenting specific values.
• Bar chart – this one is excellent for showing comparisons.
For example, a pie chart is great for presenting how the budget for an ad campaign on social media is being used. This type of graph shows how much money is being spent and where.
3. Don’t use just any color
When it comes to colors, it’s best to start your graphs in black and white, and then gradually add colors when needed. Even though using many different colors is fun and can make the graphs look entertaining, it can be counterproductive.
That’s because a graph with too many colors can distract your audience and confuse them instead of helping them understand the information presented. The purpose of graphs is to present the information as clearly as possible, and colorful graphs don’t deliver this impression.
Therefore, you may want to know the following things when using colors in your graphs:
• Avoid red whenever possible – This color has a negative connotation for you. When people see red, they instantly connect it to something bad or wrong, even if it’s used to point out something positive, like a rise in Facebook engagement.
• Color gradients for time series – you can use the lightest to darkest shades of one color to present certain data from the past to the present. Fading colors can signify less relevant information as the years go by.
• Highlight – if you want to point out a specific value so that everyone notices it, use a strong hue. You can use it, for example, to highlight a surge in click-throughs.
• Assign value to each color – if you want to represent a range with the help of colors, choose colors and give each of them a specific value. For instance, yellow for anything over 80%, and blue for anything below 20%.
• Use color to present a group of relevant data – use one color, for example, blue for Facebook or orange for Instagram, to group relevant social media data together.
• Use brand colors – in this way, you’ll avoid using too many colors and making the graph confusing.
4. Make it simple
When it comes to presenting your data in a visual format, it’s important to consider the user's experience. To provide data insights effectively, you’ll have to take an audience-centric approach.
For that purpose, take the following things into consideration:
• Left to right – that’s how our minds work, especially when we see charts that compare values. Therefore, present the values in a descending or ascending order to ensure easy comparison.
• Do the job for your audience – this includes sorting data into a logical order, grouping relevant values together, and highlighting important parts.
• Do not focus on the aesthetics too much – avoid using too many colors, even if that will make your graph more vibrant and attractive. Don’t use a pie chart when you can just write out numbers.
• Less is more – don’t use logos, imagery, and clipart as that will only make your presentation confusing. Keep it simple.
5. Use the right tools
There are numerous data visualization tools available, but using the right one, such as Whatagraph, can assist you in making sense of your data and clearly presenting social media metrics so that your audience understands them easily.
Social media data visualization is important for many aspects of your business. It allows you to make better and more informed social media marketing decisions. From understanding your audience's engagement and showing your executives, co-workers, or clients the information they need in a clear and easy-to-process manner, visualizing data can help your business in many ways.
Take these things into account when you need to capture relevant data and present it as a visual so that you can make sense of it and make better business decisions.
Published on Jun 22 2021
WRITTEN BYIndrė Jankutė-Carmaciu
Indrė is a copywriter at Whatagraph with extensive experience in search engine optimization and public relations. She holds a degree in International Relations, while her professional background includes different marketing and advertising niches. She manages to merge marketing strategy and public speaking while educating readers on how to automate their businesses.
Get marketing insights direct to your inbox