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How to Track your Blog, Twitter and Facebook Activity: Three Simple but Awesome Tips
Lately, I’ve been telling people not to do social media and blogging.
I know! Me of all people! But I’ve been saying it with good reason:
“If it ain’t working – stop doing it.”
Let’s be frank (you can be Susan) if you’re spending around 3.6 hours a day on social media (the average time for a user) then you better make damn sure it’s working for you!
Social media marketing and blogging combined are a huge favourite of mine and in last week’s blog I listed all the lines of marketing communication that we use and asked – “Is our social media marketing really worth the time?”
But how do you know? How can you tell if your efforts are working? If you can’t answer that, then you’re wasting your time online.
If you don’t know then I guarantee you’re wasting time online. Some of it (by pure fluke) will be working, but some of it won’t.
“Remember – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But if it isn’t working, change it or stop doing it.”
So here are our three simple tips to make sure you’re checking the parts that matter to your marketing.
It’s not everything. But it will give you a good idea and it’s more than enough for a novice analytics user.
1. Google Analytics – an idiot’s (top-level) guide to tracking
Google Analytics are free. I know, right? Madness. Google Analytics let you track traffic on your website and gives you a really good idea of what’s going on. In this post I’m just going to talk about traffic.
Google Analytics has a plethora of options and settings. I like to look a data in simple bite-size chunks. You can set your time period in the top right. I like to look at monthly sections, but choose whatever suits you.
It’s a huge platform, but the key areas for checking traffic and social activity are:
This area of Google Analytics will tell you where the traffic came from. This is very important when you’re using social and online media to drive traffic.
Check what this traffic does on your site after it lands there with the bounce rate (the % of people who look at one page and leave) as this needs to be lowered by improving the pages and offering them other places to go on the site. Think strong calls to action and sign ups.
Sending people to the home page from Twitter is confusing. Sending them to your blog for example, and having a strong sign, up is better. Within Acquisition you can then drill down and refine what type of traffic you got, where it came from and what platform they were using.
Look how long they stay too (Time on site). If people from Facebook stay longer than Twitter then maybe they care more, or maybe they have more time to read, or maybe… you get the idea!
This section will tell you which pages are the most popular. Head down to here and look at site content>all pages.
This will then list the top 10 most popular pages (you can adjust how many it shows at the bottom of the page as you can on all searches). This is great for working out which of your blog posts are the most popular. Work out why, and follow that formula again.
Look at the bad ones too. Go down the list (you may need to adjust the number of pages it shows) and see which posts didn’t attract traffic. Why? Did you not share them enough? Were the titles weak? Was the content poor/too short/too long? It’s all about testing.
If you set your time period in the top right to the whole year (1st Jan – present) you then have a list of all the top pages on your site for the whole year. You’ll see the top performing blog posts and you can really see what people like.
Social Media overview
This is a fairly new section to Google Analytics. It’s a really useful snapshot of your social media driven traffic. If you’re spending all day on Facebook and yet Google+ is driving more traffic then you’ll want to assess your activity.
If you click each social media section it will take you through to the pages that the social channel sent traffic to. Again, the top-performing post will give you an indication about your audience and what’s working. Adjust the number of pages it shows to as much as you like to see the worst-performing links too.
To be honest, when you start that’s more than enough. Check the overview for an overview of your website too. This gives you very top level stats but can be a nice snapshot of your month.
What you should aim to take away from these stats is what you need to do to improve. No one will get it right all the time and you’re bound to find a few surprise posts in there too.
Pro tip: If your site lists your blog posts after /blog in your URL (www.example.com/blog/my-blog-post) then you can filter out the other pages by typing ” /blog/” in the ‘advanced’ box as pictured below and just see your blogs. This is a good trick if you’re only tracking your blog traffic.
2. Facebook – using the free insights to know what works
Measuring Facebook success is best in the Insights (traffic to your website from Facebook you’ll do in GA).
Go to your Page and check on your Insights which is at the top left, just under the search box.
One of the areas of interest is post reach
Although, as I always say: don’t get addicted to this. Keep focused on what you’re trying to get from Facebook. Don’t get fixated on reach when it’s not helping you and your marketing.
Reach does let you know what’s hitting home and what isn’t though. We decided not to use Facebook for marketing, so we just use it to post images which make people laugh. It doesn’t get us business but we don’t spend much time on it. We worked this out by looking at posts on marketing vs. posts on funny images and fails and the evidence was overwhelming.
Another useful area is ‘likes’
You can see any spikes in likes and then correlate that back to your posts. If certain posts got you new likes then do more of them. (If they’re focused on your business plan for Facebook and not a random cat video!)
Look also at the posts section
Here you can scroll down recent posts and see which ones were clicked, liked and shared more. Cross-reference this with the time that you posted it versus the type of content and see if you can find a sweet spot. Use this and make your posts perform better in the future.
In posts you can also see when your fans are online. I’ll be honest – this usually looks like your fans are online at night and in the morning. Test it. Check when you get more interaction and trial different times. Don’t believe everything you read.
People are important too
Check out who likes you and where they are. If you’re selling to a mainly male audience and your catchment area is in Manchester then a largely female audience in London won’t be much use. Consider advertising to your perfect audience to fix this. Advertising on Facebook is cheap and very beneficial when done well.
You need to try and build an audience that’s interested in you and your business obviously. Give stuff away (knowledge, advice or free eBooks), be inspiring, be interesting, and be something that people will want and wait to see! People share useful and entertaining content. Can you do this and drive interest to your business and engage with people?
3. Twitter Analytics – a gem of a tool for any Twitter marketer!
Twitter Analytics is free and you can access your Twitter Analytics here if you’re logged into your account.
We recently blogged about Twitter Analytics but here are the main takeaways:
Some really key areas of Twitter Analytics are Tweets, Tweets and Replies, Engagements and Followers.
Set your Analytics to ‘Tweets’ at the very top of the page.
Check which of your tweets got more interaction. This is the same as posts in Facebook. See what’s working and why. Check content, times and how you constructed the tweet and find that sweet spots.
Tweets and Replies
Here you’ll also find the replies sent to others. You can see how much more reach you get when you tweet certain people. Do they RT your content or does it simply get more people talking?
Down the right hand side you’ll find some great graphs with little snapshots of your activity. Retweets are a popular one to look at, as are link clicks. Link clicks are important if your trying to push traffic to your website. See when it all worked beautifully and repeat it.
Set your Analytics to ‘followers’ at the very top of the page.
Now you’ll see who your followers are and where they are from.
You can also see who they also follow. This is a great piece of info and as you can then find a whole new pool of potential followers via other accounts. (More in this post on that.)
Once again, the purpose of all this is to see what’s working and what’s not. If you’re trying to get people to read your blog then check to see when people click more often. Post more often here.
If you’re trying to build a reputation via a Twitter chat then test different times and check from your stats which one was the best.
If you’re building your list and are pushing a free eBook then check which tweet got more clicks. Find out which style worked best – and don’t forget to factor in the time that you sent it too.
Analytics helps you work smarter – be smart and start using them!
You’ve just read three really useful techniques for tracking what you’re doing on social media and how many people view or don’t view your blog.
It’s worth pointing out that the bounce rate for a blog with a heavy social media push to it will be high. Naturally, people on social media will be busy people so don’t be too surprised to learn that they your blog and go. This is obviously something you should look to improve.
The main takeaway is track your activity. It’s all too easy to read and hear about how wonderful social media and blogging are without actually checking to see if the rumours are true.
On our November workshop we got people’s bums on seats thanks to this blog, our newsletter and Twitter. It’s important for us to know what works (and what doesn’t) so we can streamline and focus our efforts.
Now it’s your turn…
So, get going and let me know in the comments what you found and what you’ll improve.
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