Jack Welch the famous CEO of GE said “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. If you can’t manage it, you can’t improve it.” which he also translated to “if you can’t measure it why would you do it”
This can and should, in my opinion, be applied to Social Media for business, where many businesses have asked what’s the point or will it work for me? Many businesses now track and measure their web site analytics to see their visitor numbers, what their popular pages are and may even be tracking ‘Bounce Rate’ (ask Chris Green) as one of their web KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). Now with many more businesses investing time and effort in Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin etc ) how many of them are tracking and measuring their activity, interactions and results?
New Social Media Analytics tools to track and measure performance are appearing all the time but before you start spending money on these solutions I would look at what you can get from the main products themselves:
If you are business has a Facebook page you will have access to ‘Facebook Insights’ these pages will show you page views and post views over time in colour coded graphs including showing you which content is getting the most interaction.
With the new Business Profile section of Linkedin there is also a tab for Analytics showing how many views there has been of your company website from how many unique visitors.
Twitter has been promising their own analytics platform for some time and it looks like something will be available soon (Twitter have recently purchased Backtweets a Twitter Analytics service)but their are many 3rd party solutions available to understand a bit more about your tweeting. One of my favourites is https://www.Hootsuite.com which is not only Twitter and Facebook client, similar to Tweetdeck, to help you post across multiple accounts but it also will show you analytics on your Twitter account including how many clicks you have got on your links.
Once you feel comfortable with Social Media Analytics you can start to combine some of these statistics to see if they are really benefiting your business. Hootsuite is just one of the services that allows you to combine Facebook, Twitter and Google Analytics. For example you can see your Twitter activity and Google analytics overlayed on a graph to see if your increased Twitter activity can be seen to produce more visits to your website.
Maybe some will say just like Social Media itself that looking at the analytics is a big waste of time. I would argue that the effectiveness of any business communication and promotion can only be known if you measure it and measure regularly and against your relevant goals such as website visitors, newsletter subscribers or actual sales.
- But whether looking at Web Site Analytics or Social Media Analytics never forgot the fundamentals
- Learn what the reports mean (get assistance if you need it)
- Measure regularly and consistently
- Look for trends and try to understand any possible causes and their effects
- React and change things because of what you learn – that’s the point
- Set goals and try not to lose sight of these when looking at the numbers