Social media is a huge part of inbound marketing. Simply creating your social media accounts, putting content out there and seeing how many visitors you get is just the tip of the iceberg. You'll have access to a lot of data, but knowing how to effectively read and understand that data is what really matters. If you don't take certain simple steps to properly filter you analytical data, you'll be left with a big jumble of stats that don't really mean anything on their own, but when you piece things together you can find a very clear picture of how your visitors are finding you, what they're looking for, what they're doing once they find you and how you can better tailor the experience to meet their needs. Let's take a look at why it's important to track these key data points, how to dig even deeper, and finally a couple of quick case studies that you will hopefully be able to relate to your own business for ideas and inspiration.
Take Advantage Of All The Data You Have Available
Every social media platform has their own statistics that you can use to measure the effectiveness of what you're doing. For example, on Facebook, you're able to see how many people have viewed each of the posts on your Facebook Page and what your potential reach is. On Twitter, you can measure how many retweets and @ replies you're getting. On Pinterest, you can gauge the interest of your audience based on how many repins you are getting.
Also, using the analytics platform that you have chosen to run on your website (The most popular option being Google Analytics, but Clicky is another great choice), you can determine the approximate value of each of those social metrics in terms of website visitors. For example, if you get an average of 20 repins when you post to twitter, and those 20 repins typically result in 100 visitors, you can assume that 1 repin is worth approximately 5 website visitors. To take it a step further, if your conversion rate on your website is a mere 1%, you can assume that one post to Pinterest will generate one sale or customer. Regardless of which platform you're using, you can figure out these statistics using the built-in metrics and however you track visitors to your website, but you can also take things a step further...
How To Dig Deeper And Uncover Even More Data
Beyond using the default metrics that each social network provides, there are many services that can help you dig a lot deeper and to paint a much more complete picture. This is important because while the above example using repins helps to get an understanding, it really doesn't tell the full story. To really paint a complete picture of how effective your social media strategies and campaigns are, you will need to analyze data on your webpages as well. We'll also take a look at a useful service that helps you do so.
Twitter Analytics: In June of 2013, Twitter released an analytics platform which can be found in their Ads section. It's not as in-depth as some of the other social and inbound marketing analytics platforms we'll be looking at in a moment, and of course it only gives you data for your twitter account, but it's free and does offer some useful insights to help track the performance of the leads you generate using Twitter.
Simply Measured: Simply Measured is a very robust platform that will give you in-depth data across a number of social media channels. Primarily designed for corporate clients, individuals and small businesses can still take advantage of their free reports.
Moz Analytics: Moz, the recent re-branding of SeoMOZ, is going far beyond the search engine optimization they became known for and is now offering complete analytics for inbound marketing. Moz Analytics works across a plethora of social networking platforms to help you easily determine the ROI of your social media efforts quickly, at a glance, without having to do any of the aforementioned calculations.
Crazyegg: Crazyegg is a small piece of code that you insert onto your site, and it tracks what visitors do on your pages. This is essential because once a lead is drawn in via social media and other types of inbound marketing, you need to analyze their behavior on your website in order to tailor your site to meet their needs. You may notice that visitors from StumbleUpon tend to have a lower bounce rate, or that Twitter visitors are mostly using mobile devices and aren't able to scroll down on your page properly... There are a lot of discoveries you can make using Crazyegg, and they will all help you to better serve your visitors and customers, which in turn leads to more sales and more money in your pocket.
Putting Your Data To Work For You
At the end of the day, the goal is to help measure what type of an ROI you're getting with inbound marketing and the above mentioned tools can all help however there are certain things that can't really be measured. How do you put a dollar value on the brand awareness that comes from having 10,000 likes on Facebook? You can calculate the average sales you make per like, of course, but there are still certain intangible elements that can't really be measured effectively. That being said, there is so much data just waiting for you to explore it, to take advantage of it, and to provide the best possible experience for all of your inbound website and social media visitors.