Everyone suggests adding Twitter and other social media tools to your business communication strategy, but how do you know if these new tools are really helping your company make more money? Tracking how social media affects your bottom line is a necessary, albeit complex, aspect of developing your digital marketing strategy. With the right tools and the right questions, you can quickly measure what is and is not working, and adjust your actions quickly.
As you move towards more tracking of your social media efforts, consider the following issues:
You need tools to help you track conversions and success. Google Analytics is very popular, given that it is free. While it is not the easiest tool to use, it does provide the measurements that many businesses need to refine strategies. Other tools can track across multiple social media channels, but cost can be a limiting factor for smaller businesses.
Before Google Analytics, or any other tool, can effectively track data from your company’s social media sources, you need to establish conversion goals. A conversion can be any user behavior that requires an action, such as filling out a lead form, buying a product, signing up for a subscription, or downloading a coupon or white paper. While conversions are significant, many social media experts suggest that the top metric to track is the number of followers you attract and keep. The general belief is that you gain followers by posting quality content, which leads to sharing, and, consequently, more followers. More followers mean more sales, at least in theory.
Some business-owners find they have little time or interest to do the actual tracking of the data. However, most free tools, including Google Analytics, are quick and efficient to use. You can hire someone to help you, but by devoting just a bit of time each week yourself, you gain an understanding of the content that drives users to your website and, by extension, which content drives the most conversions. You do not need to obsess over the data; just use the tools within the larger framework of your work and learn more about your company.
Social media appears to be in the mainstream of business communications. As you enter this new world, be sure to have the right tools and strategies in place to measure your approaches, make adjustments, and be successful.