One of the main reasons that Social Media is overlooked as a marketing activity is that it has a reputation for being hard to prove any results that come from it. This doesn’t have to be the case – there are plenty of free online tools available to help you track the effectiveness of your Social Media marketing.
We talk about Google Analytics quite often on this blog – this is mainly because it’s a fantastic tool for any webmaster! A very easy way to see how effective your Social Media activity is is to implement Google Analytics on your site (you can also do this on your EAN template pages by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org with your CID and Google Analytics tracking code).
Within your Google Analytics account you have
access to a Traffic Sources report. This will tell you exactly how your visitors are finding your site – including visits from Social Media channels. The Traffic Sources report is also good for helping you to determine the quality of the traffic that is being driven from each channel, as you can dive deeper into the visitor information to find out how long they stay on your site, the bounce rate and lots of other visitor statistics, all broken down by traffic source. This kind of information is really important to work out whether your communications are effective – if, for example, you see a high bounce rate from one Social Media site’s traffic, you know that you may have been posting misleading content to that channel and so customers are leaving your site straight after clicking.
How to Track Twitter Effectiveness
If you use Twitter as one of your Social Media Marketing channels, it can be hard to track the effectiveness of your communications within the Twitter platform itself if you want to look deeper than numbers of followers, retweets and @ mentions, all of which are valuable metrics in their own ways but by no means exhaustive ways to track your activity.
If you don’t have a reporting tool such as Omniture implemented on your site (which can be expensive), there is an easier way of tracking your links. Using a link shortener such as bit.ly allows you to track the clicks on each of your links. By creating a new bit.ly link each time you tweet means you can track each of your communications, just by adding a “+” on the end of your bit.ly link. E.g. You can view the stats for this link – http://bit.ly/hSNt5h – here – http://bit.ly/hSNt5h+
Another useful tool for Twitter is Hootsuite. Hootsuite does offer a $5.99 a month Pro account, which may be useful for heavy Twitter users, but their free account does contain a lot of functionality which should be enough for most users. You can manage up to five Social Networks from one free Hootsuite account. In Hootsuite, you can easily see all your tweets, your @ mentions, direct messages and your home feed all in one place. It is a great way to publish information on more than one Twitter feed at once and there is a useful link shortener built into the tool which will allow you to track your stats in the same place. A word of warning on the Hootsuite stats tools though – some functionality is disabled for free users, so you may wish to handle your statistics yourself using a different link shortener.
If you are using Twitter for automated deals feeds using the tip in our recent blog post then you will also be able to track your clicks through Twitterfeed – all of your feeds’ posts are saved within your account, allowing you to see which posts have generated the most clicks, and used together with your EAN booking information you can even see whether the deals you’re promoting are converting well.
How to Track Facebook Effectiveness
Due to the nature of Facebook, it is somewhat easier to track how much impact your posts have. The platform itself encourages more interaction than Twitter, meaning that your followers will often comment or “like” posts which are useful or interesting to them. Keeping track of these interactions is an important way of seeing how well your Facebook page is performing. To help you along, Facebook even send page owners weekly statistics. These are useful and will help you to see longer term how effective your Facebook efforts are.
As with Twitter, a great free way of tracking your links is using a link shortener such as bit.ly. You can also use Hootsuite to post to Facebook pages, which will be useful if you are already using the Hootsuite tools to manage your Twitter accounts. The Facebook page functionality in Hootsuite is somewhat limited and probably not suitable to be used as the only way of maintaining your page, but if you want to cross-post to several accounts or networks, or use the Hootsuite link shortener and statistics it is a good way to publish content.
These simple and free tools will help you to start gathering data on your Social Media output. You can then use the data you collect to optimise your Social Media output and improve your site’s performance even more. Good luck!