**Previously we published a post in 2013 entitled “How to Report on the Value of Social Media”, this is the updated version perfect for 2015 and able to get you finding all the right numbers**
Social media has become an incredible part of not only our everyday lives but the purchase cycle as well. As part of looking for reviews of products, consumers will typically stumble across a brand’s social media pages. From these accounts they will learn about the brand and their customer service style. This knowledge will then either solidify or change their perceptions of the brand. Interacting with a brand on social media can drive sales and create lasting relationships with consumers. Convincing management that social media is valuable is a whole new ball game. To ensure that the value is understood it is important to have a solid plan on reporting and tracking. So let us break down tracking properly, using Google Analytics, Facebook insights, and Twitter analytics for reporting.
Tracking URL Parameters
Using native reporting features in your social media accounts is important and we’ll get to this later but figuring out exactly who is coming to your site and where they came from is going to be a bigger question. You’ll be able to track conversions in Google Analytics with ease when you use the right tracking codes on your social media posts. I suggest creating a large spreadsheet to keep track of all of these for your reference. Or you can access and download our own template to help you get started!
There are a lot of aspects that go into tracking URLs and if you want to learn more about them you can check out Google’s own rules here but I’ll break down the basics for you. There are 4 required parts for each code along with 2 optional parameters you can add as well. The order the parameters are placed in doesn’t matter as long as the first one begins with a ? an the others begin with &. This will make more sense when everything is put together. Again, using a tool to do this or a spreadsheet will ensure you remember this step every time.
- The URL: This is going to be the URL of the page you want activity tracked to. For example, if I’m tracking a sample blog post on our site it will be http://www.webtalentmarketing.com/example-post/
- Campaign Source: This is the site referring visits it is going to change depending on which social media platform you are posting the link on. The parameter for this is represented by utm_source= so for a link coming from twitter is going to have utm_source=twitter.com in the URL.
- Campaign Medium: This is how the person got there, as we are tracking social media this is going to stay the same. The parameter for this is represented by utm_medium= for the sake of this article all of your visits you’re focused on tracking will be coming from social media so the full parameter will be utm_medium=social.
- Campaign Name: This the name of the marketing campaign. As we mostly post blogs to track through social we’re going to want to describe that in this area. The parameter for this is utm_campaign= so for tracking our June Blog posts it could look something like this utm_campaign=blog062015.
- Optional Campaign Content: This is optional but a good way to differentiate this blog tracking from other blog tracking. You can also use this parameter to test different social images and find out what image gets you better click rate views. The parameter for this is utm_content= so our example post is going to have the parameter utm_content=example-post1 for the first image we’re testing and utm_content=example-post2 for the second image.
- Campaign term is also an optional parameter however, most social tracking is not going to use this as it is for AdWords more than anything.
Putting it all together: www.webtalentmarketing.com/example-post/?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=blog062015&utm_content=example-post1
Now whenever you send out a tweet or post an article to Facebook use the right tracking code and you’ll be able to see directly where the user came from and what they did afterwards.
Social Reporting in Google Analytics
Now let’s talk about the Google Analytics (GA) social tracking capabilities. If you don’t have Google Analytics for your business I’m sorry you just read about tracking URLs which will do you no good until you’ve set-up analytics. If this is the case then you’re going to need more help then this blog post will provide. Perhaps a digital marketing agency is more what you need? If you have analytics then you’re fine and should keep reading.
By logging into your GA account and moving to the Acquisition area followed by the Social breakout you’ll be able to see a good overview of how many visitors visited your site, which pages they are visiting (click on Shared URL or Landing Pages) and the flow of site navigation that they are following (Users Flow). All of these metrics can be used to find out if the people directed to your site via social networks, are actually converting and producing revenue for your business.
To dig deeper into how each social platform is performing click on it’s name from the Overview page to see just what specific pages people were looking and how many sessions were had from that network on each page. Another way to see which social media is driving the most traffic is to click on ‘Network Referrals’. This will give you a good overview of what social sties are driving traffic for your company. Additionally clicking on each platform will give you move information as well.
You can also see how your ‘campaigns’ are doing by looking at All Campaigns underneath the Campaigns area. The campaign name you created while making tracking URLs will come in hand as you can see how many people have come to your website from a specific grouping of social posts. If you have conversions set-up then you’ll also be able to see if any of those with tracking URLs converted.
Facebook has a good amount of tools built into it’s platform that are perfect for businesses. Not only does the scheduler for posts make updating a snap but the Insights tab will give you well, insights into your post. This tool will help you report on your engagements with customers and fans in the easiest way possible. As Facebook organic reach continues downward it’s important to know what’s doing well in your posts and what could use some updating.
From your page simply click on Insights to get to the right page. This will take you to the overview area where you can see the data for the last week. Unfortunately, you can’t change this on the overview but you can in each breakout section. Where you’ll find a easy to use graph that will let you specifically select your dates. The overview section gives you a nice view of your likes, reach, engagement, and your most recent posts if you move into each specific types breakout tab you’ll learn more about each piece.
The Reach tab will give you a good view of how your posts are getting out there and how many people are seeing them. You can compare your organic with paid to find out how they are helping each other. Graphs give you a breakdown of the interactions (likes, comments, shares) people have with each post and you can view how many people are hiding your posts from their timeline. All of these will give you good numbers to share with your superior.
The Visits tab will show you how people spent their time on your Facebook page. The first graph is almost a user flow type graph where visitors moves to different tabs on your page are tracked. If lots of people are visiting your photos page then perhaps it’s going to be a huge part of your strategy to add more and keep them coming. On this tab you can also find out where visitors are coming from. Are they being directed there from search results or your website itself?
In Posts you’ll see a big breakdown of posts and how many engagements they’ve gotten. This can help you determine what to do with future posts and how to change things around. It’s also incredibly easy on this page to boost a post. If you have a post doing fairly well organically but you’d like it to get even more views this would be an excellent way for you to go after them. You can also watch you competition and see how their posts are working as well. If you see something from them that is going well for them then you may want to study what they’re doing and modify it for your own page.
If you’d like to pull all this information for your report then you’re going to want to use the export feature. You’ll be able to select the date range that you’d like to look at as well as if you’d looking at page data, post data, or video data. Alternatively you can connect your page to other reporting tools that will do this for you.
Twitter analytics rolled out mid 2014 and has been an incredibly useful way to track organic tweet impressions along with ad performance. The platform is incredibly simple to use and gives you an easy to read snapshot of how your tweets are performing. To get to the platform simply select Analytics under your profile photo in the top right of your home screen.
At the top of the Analytics home screen you’ll see metrics like tweet impressions, profile visits, and mentions. All of these can be used to measure how your tweets are performing. Next, there is a break down of each months statistics. Where you can view the top tweet, your top follower, any top mentions as well as your top card if you are implementing those. Looking at your top tweets every month will give you a good idea of what strategy is working for you. Are hashtags boosting click through rates? or are images really what pull users to your link? Using this information to help formulate your strategy every month is incredibly important.
By clicking on the Tweets tab at the top of the page you can report on exactly how each tweet was interacted with. This will give you a very clear idea of how people are using your link, what they are clicking on, and if your strategy is working. It’s important to not here that engagements are defined as the total number of times a user interacts with a tweet. These interactions can be clicking on photos, hashtags, links, a username, deciding to retweet or favorite. And although this engagement metric can be broad it’s still important to look it. If you have a high amount of engagement from a tweet but notice in Google Analytics that people aren’t actually coming to the site from twitter then perhaps you used too many distracting hashtags or your photo cut out key information that people had to click on to see. Aligning these analytics with your Google Analytics will give you a key picture for not only you, but your boss on how you’re driving traffic.
The Long and Short of It
You’ll soon become a social reporting master in no time. Just find the right numbers and know why they matter and you’ll be set. Plus did I forget to mention that all of these tools are free! You don’t even need to spend extra money on tracking tools when you an simply use those provided to you without a cost. So get out there! Read the numbers! And prove your success!