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How to Drive Web Traffic With Social Media Analytics

Let me just say up front: I’m not a numbers person. I withered in my statistics class in my MBA program. When my 10-year-old needs help with his math, I am not the parent he turns to.

And yet, I understand the value of having the right data on my communication efforts. That goes doubly for social media. I look at it like this: if my numbers look good, I have less work to reach my goals. The good news is that neither I nor you have to be analytics nerds to benefit from the data.

What ARE Social Media Analytics?

Analytics is just a fancy word for information about your social media efforts. So you can learn how many followers you have, who’s sharing your content, how many people are clicking…all really important things when you’re using social media to get more visitors and customers.

They’re important because they can help you understand if you’re doing the right things to connect with your customers through social media. Are you using the social sites that your demographic is on? Is the content you’re sharing relevant? Should you change your strategy for better results? You can answer all these questions by paying attention to the right information.

Want to become a measurement master? Join Shonali Burke’s free “Money Well Spent: Tips for Showcasing PR’s Value” webinar now!

So What’s the Right Information?

Sure, you can go deep with social media analytics, but you don’t have to. With just these few metrics, you can make sure that you’re maximizing your social media efforts to drive traffic back to your website.

Number of Followers (and Quality)

Social media shouldn’t be a popularity contest where the person with the most followers wins, but sometimes it is. People may visit your Twitter page and see you have only 30 followers. They might assume you don’t have enough interesting updates to attract more followers, so they won’t follow you.

Now, let me add a caveat: not all social followers are created equal. People use bots to automatically follow more people, in the hopes that you’ll follow them back and they’ll look popular. So it’s important that the people who do follow you fit your customer demographic.

Number of Shares

Social Shares - Social Media Measurement

When you share an update, a link, a promotion or anything else on social media, you hope that others will retweet it, click on it or otherwise share it with their audience. Just imagine: if every one of your 5,000 followers shared a link from your blog, and all the people they shared it with shared it, you’d get a ton of visits to your blog!

Knowing how many shares a given update gets can also tell you what’s not resonating with your audience. You can look at aggregate data over time and see which blog updates or promotions got the most clicks (do more of those) and which got the fewest (avoid these in the future). This data is great for guiding your content marketing efforts.

When People Click

Because you can schedule your social media updates, you can decide when to put the most emphasis on them. If you look at your analytics and see you get the most clicks between 10 a.m. and noon, you can be deliberate in scheduling more during that window. Likewise, you can test out whether posting updates on the weekends or after hours gets you any clicks.

Peek at these analytics every few weeks and see if you can use them to smarten up your social media efforts.

Still relying on AVE to measure coverage? Modernize your PR measurement with this free tip sheet!

Image: Janet Ramsden, mkhmarketing (Creative Commons)

About Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Cision, Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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