What Analytics Do I Really Need To Track?

August 19, 2015

If you are fairly new to social media (or due to a lack of time, you’re engaging but that’s where the buck stops), you may be a little overwhelmed by social media metrics, aka ‘Analytics’.  Business seems to be ruled by what ‘the numbers say’ and social media is no different. You need to be able to see if what you are doing is working, and adjusting accordingly.  There is real value in looking at the metrics, if you know what the numbers mean, and more importantly … which numbers to look at, and where.

So let’s look which analytics give you the most value.

Do you need to understand everything? No. I’d advise against this because what’s likely to happen is that you will spend hours and hours looking at numbers and not doing anything with it (or even more likely, do an in depth analysis for the first few months then drop it due to that old time constraint). It’s better to focus on a few key metrics, know what is working and what you need to change, then walk away.

So where do you start?

  1. Pick the social media networks that are most important to your demographic.  Hopefully you’ll know this already as you would’ve put time into understanding where your demographic is present by following the actions in last week’s post “2 social media actions every entrepreneur should be doing.”
  2. Decide on what you want to know. My recommendation would be:
    • What content are people engaging with?
    • What time of day are your audience on the network?
    • Who is looking at your content?
  3. Bonus: Have a quick look at your Google Analytics account for your website. Don’t be scared. Because we’re not going to spend too much time here either:
    • Which social media networks sent referrals to your website?
    • What are you most popular blog posts?
    • Age/Gender of Users
    • Possibly review your keywords after looking at which keywords readers are using to find your content.

That’s it really, nothing too complicated about it. Oh yes, we could dig into it for days, you can easily spend hours and hours looking at Google Analytics for your website and end up being more confused. Honestly, if you have someone helping you with your online marketing this in depth review is their job … you just need the summary and their recommendations.  The real reason for you to look in the first place is to get an overview of who your audience is, when they are online and what they like to see. That’s really all it is.  Do you truly need more?

So where do you find all these Numbers?

Each network calls it something different of course. But to give you a hand, here’s where to look:

Facebook Insights

If you use Facebook campaigns you will have access to audience insights which really allows you to drill down into your audience.  Here’s a guide on using Facebook’s Audience Insights from Hubspot 

Facebook Insights

Twitter Analytics

Here’s a great article on Twitter Analytics from Social Razor  – “Twitter Analytics – the only guide you’ll ever need

Twitter Analytics
LinkedIn

Published blogs on LinkedIn are a proven way to raise your profile and have good stats to aid you in making these posts work for you.  Read New Analytics for Publishing on LinkedIn for more information on this, from their  blog

LinkedIn

Pinterest

Social Media Examiner ) published a post which will give you more insight on how to use the new Pinterest analytics in your business.

Pinterest

How often should you look?

Not everyday. In fact I would set aside an hour a month and plot the patterns. I know you’re too busy to dedicate more time to it than that. If you have help with your social media marketing, then you may be able to spend more time looking at things each week. But don’t look at it daily!  You need to see patterns develop and it’s easier to see them if you have a content calendar set up that you are following. That way you  can look at the data and then cross-reference with your calendar, as you know Wednesday’s on Twitter is ‘Question of the Week’  and that gets good engagement.  If you don’t have a content calendar set up then go ahead and download our content calendar template from our small business toolbox.

We have some amazing clients who are really good at digging into their analytics and using the information to adjust what they do.  I’ve asked Kirsten Hodgson
which analytics she religiously looks at, how often, and why these metrics.

I post fairly regularly to both my blog and LinkedIn. Google Analytics are great for understanding the reach of my posts on my blog and how people are finding them (and I use this to occasionally – monthly or so) to look at my website stats. I combine this with link shortener, bitly, stats as that shows more info about who’s clicking the link, where they’re from etc.

Within LinkedIn, I use the relatively new ‘who’s viewed your posts’ stats feature. This lets me see the demographics of my readers – top industries, job titles and locations, where traffic is coming from and who’s engaged with the post. This gives me the info I need to understand whether the post is reaching and resonating with the right people – it helps to inform future topics too. I typically access this fortnightly. It’s this tool that highlighted the importance of including keywords in a published post’s title on LinkedIn because I saw that one of my posts was getting a tonne of traffic and, when I dived into stats, Google was driving 100% of that traffic. I checked other posts and it was a similar story on a few.

I do check the ‘who’s viewed your profile’ and ‘Your Updates’ stats every week or two – again to see whether those viewing my profile or engaging with my updates sit within my target demographic.

Outside of that, I use Hootsuite to mainly keep on top of Twitter activity and engagement and I find Google+’s ripples really useful when a post gets engagement.

That’s just one example of using analytics to improve your social media efforts, and adapting to suit your target audience.  Because that’s what it comes down to, adapting. YOU may think your audience is really into reading about how to pick an event venue (for example), but after some research you’ve noticed that you’re getting more engagement on how to set up webinars. So give them more webinars and less info on venues. Then go back next month and look again, are they still into webinars or are landing pages more popular.

Social media analytics may seem scary and overwhelming, but really it’s there to save you time and help you focus your efforts. Your social media time should be productive, and helping you to grow your business (which, at the end of the day is what we are all trying to do … make a better business!).

Actions

  1. In a spreadsheet or doc, list the social networks you are active in.
  2. Ask yourself what you need to know about each of these networks (and I listed 3 possible questions above)
  3. Note which stats will help answer these questions.
  4. In your table, insert stats to the right of each network (and depending on how many stats you capture, you may want to split the tables so you have one for each network).
  5. Look at the stats you’ve captured from your analytics.  
  6. What are you doing well?  Repeat.
  7. What’s not working? Change.

We do an in depth social media report each month which goes into a lot more detail but we also encourage clients to do the actions above.  Whether you have some help with your online marketing or are a DIY super hero, it’s important you know what’s going on in your social networks.  They are, after all, your networks.


So tell me, do you monitor your social analytics or do they scare the pants off you?

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