If your social media accounts have largely been for personal use, the words “engagement” and “metrics” likely haven’t peppered your vernacular. But they are truly the magic words in trying to define the success of your social media strategy. More followers mean more buzz when you’re promoting your project — and being able to quantify that buzz can even help with fundraising for your current project or serve as a launchpad for your next one. So where do you begin?
Start with analytical tools that are already built into your social media platforms. Chances are, they are easily accessible when you log in to your account and don’t cost anything extra.
Facebook’s Page Insights tell you how many people your posts are reaching and how engaging those posts are. On Twitter, you can use the Notifications section to see your latest followers and what they’ve been retweeting and commenting on. If you have a Vimeo Plus account, you can check the Advanced Stats page to view data from the past month or year.
Even on the busiest of weeks, I always checked these basic stats to see which posts were most popular. I also used the data to adjust when I posted content; for example, more visitors checked our website on Tuesday mornings, so I started adding more posts at that time to get the widest range of viewers.
You can also choose tools that are specific to the social media platform you’re using. For instance, Piqora (formerly Pinfluencer) lets you track the performance of individual boards or pins. The marketing suite expanded last year to also include data on linked Instagram and Tumblr accounts. Iconosquare (formerly Statigram) will monitor your Instagram account and can help create photo and video contests for your followers.
I’m a big fan of these, especially when managing your time is just as important as managing your social media accounts.
Hootsuite is popular tool that allows you to not only monitor your Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts, but also schedule messages to post on multiple platforms — all from a single dashboard. Sprout is another helpful tool that features a unified inbox for all your account notifications and handy collaborative functions, if multiple people are handling your social media.
Whatever tool you choose, be sure to check how easily integrated it is to other apps you might have and whether you can easily export the data from these tools.
The Mother of All Analytics
Although there’s no shortage of options for analytical suites and apps, you might want to set up a free Google Analytics account, the most popular tool out there. You’ll be able to track your site’s visit duration and pages per visit (a measure of how engaged visitors are with your site), most viewed pages (the content most popular with your audience), and referring sites (you’ll see who your fans are and who you may possibly want to reach out to for promoting your project). And with the Social Reports feature, you can see who’s engaged with you or your project on social media.
The value of knowing what your followers are connecting with is priceless and will help you push your personal brand or project forward. I’ve been surprised about some content that’s gone viral immediately while other content flatlines. It’s a discovery process, so don’t be afraid to adjust your social media strategy as needed.
Teresa is a freelance broadcast and content producer who moonlights in social media management.