A lot of small business flock to social media to get the word out, and why no? It’s something everyone is familiar with, it’s fun and it’s free (for the most part.) Some businesses spend hours a day posting product pictures to Instagram and Pinterest, others favor posting stories about their business on Facebook, while others gravitate toward short form posting to Twitter multiple times a day.
But are businesses really tracking what works? Do they know what’s important and where to start? We thought we’d share what we think some of the more important metrics that a business should track to know if their social media marketing efforts are working for them.
Social Traffic Growth To Your Site
If the main purpose of doing social media marketing is to get more site traffic, you’re going to want to make sure you know if it’s truly driving visitors to your site. Assuming you use Google Analytics you’ll be able to see trending over time on the number of Google Sessions you’re getting from your efforts. Track by each social network your posting to as well, and see if one is outperforming another. Then assess whether the time you’ve spent on these networks is working for you.
You’ll also want to see if your “Direct” sessions are growing during the time you’re posting to social media. For instance, if someone Tweets about you, they may just use your Twitter and not include a link to your website. People who see this Twitter handle might just type your company name into Google resulting in a Direct session versus a social session.
Again, assuming you’re using web analytics software to track your visitors like Google Analytics, you should also be setting up and tracking goals. For instance, if you’re selling products you might want to track where people are coming from that are buying a specific product. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with UTM codes and how to set them up and add them to your links to work within Google Analytics.
Also, if you have a call-to-action on your Facebook page that sends people to your website you’ll want to see how many people clicked on that and signed up or purchased from your site. Another great example is if you run an ad on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. You’ll be able to see exactly how those social channels are performing for your business.
Engagement is an important metric and should be looked at across all of the social networks you’re posting to. Some engagement metrics might be higher than others. For example, if you have a video on Facebook you might have more clicks, shares, likes and comments than a more simple text post.
Try using images when you post to Twitter for an increase in engagement. And your Instagram posts should be a fun representation of who you are to get a more likes, follows and comments.
If you are posting for a week to multiple social networks, at the end of that week look across all of your engagement metrics. Look to see if one type of post (images vs. text vs. video) are doing better than others. Look for commonalities and gear your next week of posts towards this type of posts.
We’re big believers that the more followers or fans you have (hopefully quality Fans and Followers), and the more they like what you have to say & interact with your content that they’ll become your megaphone! It’s not just a numbers game, you need quality AND quantity especially since Facebook has changed their algorithm for displaying content organically. Followers are also important for your “Reach” metric.
Stay away from those “buy 1000 Facebook follower” schemes and try an ad on Facebook that targets friends of your fanbase. After all if your Fans like you, there’s a high chance their friends might too. Then you’ll be able to target some boosted posts to friends of your Fans for a modest amount of money. Facebook wants to take your advertising dollars, so the chance of them displaying your ad are high.
Reach simplified is the number of people who could have potentially seen your content and is usually used as the denominator for the engagement metric. So, if your content was potentially seen by 1000 people, and 3 people commented, 4 people shared, and 10 people liked:
3 + 4 + 10 / 1000 = 1.7% engagement rate
You can use this metric across all of your social networks to see which network is more “engaging” for your users.
Track these metrics to grow your business using social media marketing and analyze your return.
John Hingley is CEO, co-founder, Dasheroo.