Social media is profitable for your business. You know that, but you have to prove it. You have to see if the time, efforts, and money you are investing in that channel are yielding profitable results.
That’s where social media tracking comes in.
Social media tracking is the one practice that can shape your social strategy, set it up for success, and help you show your stakeholders that your social investments are not for nothing!
But, many marketers struggle with tracking and reporting their social efforts. So, we have designed this article as a guide in which we will talk about everything there is to know about social media tracking, from why you should do it to how you can track some common metrics.
What is social media tracking
Social media tracking is the process of monitoring your social media campaign’s performance, strategies, and content to obtain data that can drive future marketing decisions.
For example, your marketing intern told you how meme marketing is a thing, and you decided to see how well it would work for you. So, you start uploading memes on your social handles.
Now, how will you know whether meme marketing is working for your brand? You will dive into your social media analytics and see if memes have a higher engagement rate than regular content. If they do, you have your answer!
That’s how Dash Hudson found that The Klog, a K-beauty Instagram handle, does better with meme content.
They tracked their Instagram content and analyzed the performance of memes and regular content separately.
From their tracking and analysis, they found that memes had 59% higher engagement.
That’s how social media tracking helps in identifying what type of content works.
Why is social media tracking so important?
You cannot know if something is working in your favor unless you measure it, right?
Your thousand dollar investment could be contributing peanuts to your business. And unless you track it, you might go ahead and make the same unfruitful investments again.
That makes social media tracking critical for your business. But if you are still not convinced, here are a bunch of more reasons:
Gauge the performance of your campaign
Social media marketing helps you see which campaign is working better, so you can double down on the strategies involved in that campaign and optimize your results.
For example, your Instagram campaign generated great buzz around your brand, but your LinkedIn campaign failed to yield similar results. Through social media tracking, you will know that you should either drop your LinkedIn campaign or change your strategy.
We went over Microsoft’s Twitter and LinkedIn handles and saw a clear difference between the apparent engagement on both channels. Check it out:Microsoft needs to up its Twitter game, no?
Helps with community development
We talked about the importance of community development in another one of our blogs. An engaged community is a key to unlock conversions.
Social media tracking and analysis helps you build an engaged community by informing you of your loyal followers.
If you use the right tools, you can figure out who engages with your posts the most so you can reward your top followers and build a community of brand advocates.
Highlights best performing content
In the fast-paced social media scene, you have no time for guesswork. As we highlighted with the meme marketing example above, you have to know what works for your brand to invest in it seriously.
Social media analysis eliminates guesswork and tells you exactly what type of content works best with your followers so that you can create more of that.
For example, you find out that your followers love it when you post memes, so you double down on creating them.
Additionally, helping you figure out the right kind of content is another way social media tracking helps with community development.
Funny one-liners appear to be Starbuck’s best performing content, apparently, rather than regular promotional content:When you know what message resonates the most with your audience, you get an idea of their thought process, interests and dislikes and can use this information to your advantage.
Aids social strategy optimization
Social media tracking helps you optimize your strategy. By revealing content performance data, it gives you the insights you need to adjust your plan in a way that makes it more profitable.
Once your strategy is optimized, you save your resources from being spent on ineffective and inefficient channels.
In this way, social tracking converts your social media into a two-pronged profit channel. Firstly, with optimized strategies, you do what you know will work and drive results. Secondly, you avoid wasting money on non-profitable strategies.
Cloudera, a Data solutions provider, invested in a social media analysis and monitoring software to help them optimize their social strategy.
As a result of their social tracking, they figured out that edge and Internet of Things content get more engagement than their typical big data content.
This led to them optimizing their strategy and experiencing a 164.4% increase in social followers, 78.4% increase in social engagements, and 78.6% increase in impressions.
The social media metrics you should track:
We have been going on and on about why you should be monitoring your social performance. Now that we have built a solid case for it, it’s time we get into details.
In this section, we will share all the metrics you can track on social media:
The parameters that make up the engagement metric include Likes, Shares, Comments and Clicks. All of these parameters come together to create an engagement rate that tells you how involved your followers are with your content, how receptive your audience is to your message, and if it resonates with them.
Brand awareness metric comprises reach and impressions as critical parameters that tell you how many unique viewers your content came across and how many eyeballs it got overall, respectively.
Share of voice is another parameter often included in the brand awareness metric that estimates how much conversation is happening around your brand compared to your competitor’s.All of these parameters indicate your brand’s popularity among the audience and serve in the top-of-the-funnel strategies, which aim at making people aware of their problems and solutions.
The ROI is the most important metric that tells you whether your social investments are contributing to your business’s substantial growth or not. Money is what matters at the end of the day, so you cannot and should not ignore ROI.
ROI is built mainly upon your lead conversion rate, which indicates how many prospects converted into customers through your social campaign.
Tracking ROI is not as simple as it sounds. But we will get into the complexities in a while.
Customer care metrics
So, you cannot let your social media customer care slide.
Thankfully, there are metrics you can track to make sure that your customer care is top-notch and is serving your business well.
These metrics include your response rate, which is the number of times your brand responded divided by the total number of queries it received, and response time or the time it takes for your brand to reply to messages.Needless to say, both of these metrics should be above average.
CSat or customer satisfaction score is yet another metric you should be tracking to know how satisfied people are with your social media services. You can calculate this score by asking your followers to rate your brand out of 10.
How to track your social media campaign
Only 41% of marketers can measure their social media activities. But, having read all the benefits of social media tracking, you don’t want to be from the 59% of the people who can’t track their social media, right?
In this section, we will dig deeper into the process of social tracking and will talk about some technicalities as well.
There are two types of social media measurement:
- Ongoing measurement
- Campaign specific measurement
Ongoing measurement involves setting up your social media tracking tool and continuously analyzing the results for your usual social activities. Campaign-specific measurement means that you will measure the campaign results against campaign goals.
You must include both types of analysis for your social success.
The steps involved in setting up your social media analysis are pretty much the same in campaign-specific and ongoing measurement, and we have outlined them below:
Determine your social media goals and select the right metrics
You have to have specific objectives that you want your social strategies to meet.
Maybe you want to increase brand awareness, garner engagement, or drive web traffic?
Figure out why you are using social media for your business and determine the results you expect to see.
Then set up specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals which abbreviate into SMART goals, that can bring your closer to meeting your social objectives.
For example, your social media goal could be “I want to increase my website traffic by 10% in the next two months”.
Identifying your goals at the beginning of your social media campaign is critical because goals determine the key metrics you should track.
Selecting the right metrics is critical to see how your social efforts bring you closer to your goals.
For example, if your goal is to increase web traffic, you will have to track the number of clicks on the website link you share on your social and not your reach or impressions because they tell nothing about web traffic, right?
Similarly, suppose your goal is to increase revenue through social media. In that case, you will have to measure your conversions because tracking likes, shares, and comments will not tell you anything about how close you are to your sales-oriented social goal.
Here’s a table of some typical business goals and the relevant metrics that you can track:
Analysis and tracking
Once you have identified your goals and selected the metrics you want to track against these goals, it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty.
You need analytics tools to track your social campaign. And while major social platforms like Facebook and Instagram have social media analytics dashboards integrated within the platform, you can invest in one of the many social media tools if you want enhanced measurement and have the budget.
Once you have integrated your social tool with your social handles, let it work in peace for a few days.
Continue checking up on it and analyze your results once a sufficient amount of time has passed or your campaign has come to an end.
Pro tip: set up your measuring tool a few days before the campaign begins so that it has a pre-campaign value for you to gauge the efficacy of your strategies.
For example, your social media engagement rate hovered around 1.2% before you began your video marketing campaign, after which it jumped to 5%. You can discover this difference only if your social media tracker was at work before the campaign begun.
Reporting and optimization
Reporting is the final and most critical part of your social media tracking because this is where you either justify your investments or find out what needs to improve in your social strategy.
Almost all social media tools come with a reporting module through which you can easily generate significant social media analysis reports.
Here’s an example of how your social media report might look like:
Once you have the report on hand, find out which of your decisions led to the best results and what strategies didn’t work as they were supposed to and optimize your campaign accordingly.
Social media tracking, monitoring, reporting, and optimization is not a one and done process. Once you are through optimizing your campaign, set it up for monitoring once again and continue with the analysis and adjustment procedure outlined above.
The three steps outlined in this section work perfectly if you are tracking any of the metrics we discussed in our important metrics’ section, except for ROI.
Tracking ROI is a lot more complicated and requires a couple of additional steps.
So, in the next section, we are discussing how you can set up social media attributions and track your social ROI accurately.
Social media attributions – how to track your social revenue
Contrary to popular belief, social media is not just a top-of-the-funnel channel. With all the latest developments in the social scene, it has evolved to cover the entire sales funnel and actively drive business sales.
Coffee Groundz, a small coffee shop, built a vibrant community on social media before using their Twitter handle as a direct sales channel. And as a result, their sales increased by 20-30% via Twitter.More than 7000 followers for a neighborhood cafe? Pretty impressive, isn’t it?
So, apart from using social media as a bottom-of-the-funnel channel, you should take steps to attribute some part of your revenue to your social media so that you can see a tangible ROI on your social efforts.
42% of marketers believe that social media has a positive impact on their business. But only 23% of these people can prove the impact of their social efforts quantitatively. And it is not them. Tracking social media ROI is notoriously complicated.
We have gathered some insightful, time-tested tricks that can help you with it:
Use UTM parameters
UTM parameters are small nuggets of code that you can put into the web URL that goes on your social handles and track referral traffic and conversions. They help you gain insights into the source of the traffic that arrives on your website.
There are five different types of UTM parameters, each helping to identify a specific source component, helping you gain a granular view of your web traffic. Three of the five parameters are compulsory for you to use if you wish to track your web traffic and conversions, while two are optional.
These parameters include:
- Campaign source, which tells you about the origin of traffic, i.e. UTM_source=Facebook.
- Campaign medium, the type of medium used to drive traffic (paid, organic, email, etc.), i.e. UTM_medium=organic_social.
- Campaign name, which is the name of your campaign to help you identify exactly which campaign is contributing to an increase in traffic, i.e. UTM_campaign=eBook_download.
You can also use campaign terms to track paid keywords and campaign content to track different ads within your campaign.UTM parameters are perfect if your social campaign is meant to drive web traffic only. But we have to track monetary ROI. Even then, once you have a clear overview of where the traffic comes from, conversion attribution becomes a bit easier.
Before you get worried about having to type all the complicated UTM parameters in your URL, let us give you some good news.
There are automatic UTM builders you can use to create a tracking-enabled URL.Here’s how you can build a URL with UTM parameters using Google Analytics:
- Open the Google Analytics campaign URL builder. You can just type Google URL builder in the search bar and the URL builder will appear at the top.
- Enter the URL of the page you want to link to in the website URL box.
- Enter the campaign source in the respective box.
- Enter the campaign medium and campaign name in their respective boxes.
- Now generate your URL.
URLs containing UTM parameters are usually long and unsightly. Check out this URL from CoSchedule (don’t miss the UTM parameters within the URL!):But that’s not how CoSchedule has used the link on their Twitter handle:They have shortened the URL so it doesn’t look bad in their Twitter caption.
To avoid pasting a long chain of code in your social caption, you can use one of the many URL shorteners, which will minimize the length of your URL while ensuring it serves its tracking purpose perfectly.
Set up your campaign in Google Analytics
Once you have included UTM parameters in your website URL, it’s time to set up your campaign in Google Analytics, where the magic will happen.
Here’s how you can do it:
Identify your campaign goals in Google analytics. For each new campaign, you will have to create a new goal.Determine and enter the description of the goal and keep it relevant with what the campaign is meant to do. For example, “driving sales”.Make sure you have a landing page that is set to be displayed only to people who have purchased something from your website, like a “thank you for shopping with us” page. Then, choose the URL of this page as the destination for your goal and enter it into the destination box.
Hit the save button once you are done.
Now, whenever someone lands on the “destination”, it would mean that they have made a purchase, and Google will track it as a conversion.
Tracking your social media activity is critical for social media success for many reasons. But it is not as easy as it is important.
There are many important metrics that you have to monitor while tracking your social media campaign. These metrics include engagement, awareness, ROI, customer care etc. and are further divided into parameters unique to each metric.
The metrics you choose to focus on differ from your social goals, as we have discussed above. That is why social tracking cannot be helpful unless you have identified specific goals.
Every metric except for ROI can be tracked using platform-native social dashboard or external tools. But tracking ROI is the most challenging and tricky.
So, we have discussed tracking the standard metrics and measuring ROI separately.
We hope with our guide on hand, you will set up a social tracking routine and start measuring the results of your social efforts today!