he beauty of digital marketing is that everything is trackable. Through the various platforms that you use for your business like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and the various scheduling tools, you can view insights for your social media campaigns as well as general activity.
The social media campaigns that you run will often have different objectives. While some are aimed at increasing your followers and engagement, others will be specifically designed to drive traffic to a particular location, usually your website. While insights are available on the various social media platforms; you can track it all using Google Analytics.
Google Analytics allows you to see everything that is going on with your website. How many visitors you have by the hour, by the day, the month and lots of specific detail about the traffic. Who are your visitors, where do they live and what kind of device are they using? Once you drill deeper into Google Analytics, you can also see the referral source of this traffic.
SETTING UP GOOGLE ANALYTICS ON YOUR WEBSITE
For some of you, this may not be an issue. You may already have Google Analytics set up on your site and have access to it. If not then you are going to need to set one up. Doing this is simple. First of all, you will need to sign up for a Google account. Once you have a google account, you can then set up a Google Analytics account. By following these steps, you will get a tracking code. This code needs to be added to your website. If you have a web developer, they can do this for you. You are then ready to start tracking your data. Please be advised though that you cannot see historical data. The data will only be available from the date that you added the GA tracking code to your website.
USING GOOGLE ANALYTICS TO TRACK YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
First of all, it is important to understand how to view these metrics. Once you are logged into your Google Analytics account, you will see a list of options; Home, Google Dashboard, Real time, Audience and Acquisition. Within Acquisition, you will see another list of choices. Scroll down to ‘Social’. Within this tab, you will then see your ‘Sessions by social network’. Within this, you can specify the dates and times of the campaigns that you want to see. And if you are a social media agency that manages campaigns for multiple clients across different social profiles, then a good social media management software could come in handy.
GET FAMILIAR WITH THE VARIOUS REPORTING OPTIONS
First of all, you may just want to see an overview of the traffic and where it comes from. If you enter the dates that you want to track, you can see by social network how much traffic has been referred to your site. If you don’t promote your website on your social media pages, it is unlikely that you will see much activity. Once you start to add links to your website and to your pages, you are more likely to see an increase in this. Of course, then comes the question of what to post. What do you want to measure and how are you going to get people to click on the links? How do you make your content engaging?
SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS
If you want to drill down into further detail for specific campaigns there are a number of options and reports that you can run.
- Network referral – A network referral report will give the engagement data and which social media platform is referring the highest quality traffic
- Data Hub Activity – This is an invaluable report which shows you what people are sharing, how they are sharing it and what they are saying about your business. If you have a particularly successful campaign that attracts a lot of attention, it gives you the information you need to be able to recreate something similar in the future. It can also give you valuable feedback about your products or service.
- Landing Pages – As well as seeing the traffic referrals to your site you can see the pages that people are visiting. This is useful when showing you the content that people want to see. If you have a blog, there may be a particular topic that people are engaging with.
- Trackbacks – This report allows you to see who is linking to your website. They may have found your content and be using it within their website content. This is particularly useful to measure how valuable your content is and what you should be producing more of.
- Conversions – Possibly the most useful report for e-commerce websites. Conversions allow you to see who is buying what products and where they came from. You may have advertised a particular product on your social media pages. If that content is particularly attractive and drives lots of sales, the Google Analytics conversion report will highlight this. Of course, it may be motivated by a sale, discount, limited edition, product launch or perhaps just because people haven’t seen it before. It certainly gives you a reliable indication of what people want to see.
TRACKING SPECIFIC CAMPAIGNS
If you wish to track a particular social media campaign, then you will need to create a UTM tag. The links that you promote on your Facebook, Twitter or other social media pages will have these UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) tags attached. It is a simple code that can be created for each social media campaign. You can set one up for Facebook, one for Twitter and so on. You can even create them for your Twitter or Instagram bio. This way you can drill down on the traffic and where it is coming from.
To track the results of these campaigns, you simply visit the Acquisition section of Google Analytics then follow the path Campaigns -> All campaigns -> then you select the appropriate campaign.
USING THE INFORMATION FOR FUTURE CAMPAIGNS
The beauty of all of this data is that, if used correctly, it gives you so much insight into what people want to see, what they respond to and what you should do more of. If something doesn’t get any attention, then you know either not to share that sort of content again or maybe to try a different time.
Take into account time of day, the day of the week, the day of the month or seasonal aspects to your content. It is invaluable for learning about the kind of content that you should be publishing on your blog. Using trackbacks and landing page reports, you can see what you should be publishing more of.
When it comes to products, it is advisable not to sell too much on social media, but the occasional share of the right content can pay dividends. By paying attention to your social media campaigns using Google Analytics, you can help to grow your website traffic and ultimately your sales conversions.
This was a from a Good friend and a new contributor to my blog, Check out his social media software SMHack
Nikhil Premanandan is currently the head of marketing at SMhack, a social media management software startup.
He likes to experiment with social media consistently and document his experiences in his blogs. He understands the hidden potential social media has and is always looking to learn. Nikhil also contributes regularly to Social Media Examiner, Jeff Bullas and Maximize Social Business.
When he’s not on social media, you can find him digging through the latest exploits of Tom Hanks and Steve Carell.