You have probably seen these kinds of remarks and blog posts around the internet before:
I gained 100,000 followers in three days!
Learn how you can also gain one million followers in two weeks.
Yay! Got my 3,000th follower!
While you may be excited to reach a milestone in your social media following, the number of followers you have on any one social media platform does not tell the whole story.
Many people may consider a small business’s number of followers as part of its “social proof”, i.e., how popular the business is, but really, how do you know that all 100,000 of that business’s followers are actually REAL people? How successful are these businesses with their social media efforts?
There are services available on the Internet where people can buy followers to inflate their follower count. If you have ever considered putting money into these types of services, ask yourself what matters more: one-hundred engaged, real followers of your small business or over one million fake accounts that will never buy from you?
Digital marketers refer to this kind of data as vanity metrics, which includes number of followers, page views, and we would even include number of likes per post. While these are easy measurements to track, you also have to ask yourself if the data helps you make a well-informed decision for your small business. The types of decisions you make all depend on what goals and objectives you have outlined for your digital marketing efforts.
Depending on the type of industry you operate in, your goals and objectives may vary, so not all data is one-size-fits-all to tell the whole story of your digital marketing.
These metrics will help you get started on tracking more quality social media data for your small business:
- Google Analytics – Registering for a free Google Analytics account will help you track how well your website performs: Google Analytics tells you where your visitors are visiting you from (search engines, direct, social media referrals, et.al.), how long your website visitors stay on your website, which pages these visitors visit the most, and whether these visitors “converted” for the goals you have set through the Google Analytics dashboard. If you find Google Analytics a bit confusing, you can register for a free account at Teacup Analytics, a boutique service that generates easy-to-read reports from your Google Analytics account.
- Quality of Comments, aka Sentiment Analysis – Observe what kind of comments you receive on your social media accounts: are they positive? Negative? Neutral? Do they even make sense? Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in automated nonsensical comments on Instagram posts, so the more comments you receive on Instagram does not necessarily mean that your post is popular; same goes for Facebook Pages and also Twitter replies. Hootsuite has a Sentiment feature in its Analytics dashboard available (for Hootsuite Pro and up); other social media management platforms also have sentiment analysis available in their analytics. If you don’t currently use a social media management platform or cannot afford one, you can keep this tracking simple by tracking comments on a spreadsheet.
- Link shorteners for click-through rates – Use a link shortener such as Bitly (free) or Clkim (free 14-day trial) and share the links to your social media accounts so you can track if your followers are clicking on links to your website. Bitly and Clkim will tell you whether people are clicking through and where they are clicking the links from (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et. al.).
Remember, before you get started on tracking your social media data (social media analytics), set 1-3 goals and objectives for each of your social media accounts so then you will know what is most important to track during the next month.
Interested in learning more about how to use social media analytics more effectively? Register today for social media coaching with us.