How to Track Your Social Media Efforts written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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If your small business is taking advantage of social media to engage with customers in hopes of growing your business, how do you know if your efforts are paying off? The truth is, it can be hard to tell if all the work you’re putting into growing your social media following is worth the investment. There is only one way to know for certain: you have to measure it.

The purpose behind measuring your activities on social media is to enable you to figure out what you are doing that is working (and therefore should continue doing) and to find out what you’re doing that isn’t bringing you any positive results (and should therefore be improved or eliminated).

Ongoing analytics help familiarize you with how your customers are interacting with your updates generally and more specifically, analytics are the way you get a feel for how your company is perceived in the marketplace. For example, you want to know what people are saying about your brand, your company, and your products. Are people complaining about your customer service or are you seeing a lot of criticism about the quality of one of your products? All of this can help you improve and provide better service going forward.

General Analytic Tools

There are a few simple tools that you can use that will help you know when people are talking about you online. Google Alerts will happily shoot you a quick email anytime someone mentions you or your business anywhere across social media, blogs, and websites. This will give you a chance to respond to any concerns or just join in the conversation.

Social Mention will also track whenever any of your keywords pop up on any of more than 100 separate social media sites. It is similar to a search engine, but it specializes in social media.

If your intention with social media is to drive traffic to your website, then you will want to keep track of the number of clicks, URL shares and conversions that you get as a result of your social updates. Google Analytics is one of the best tools for measuring the traffic that is coming to your website. In addition to telling you where your traffic is coming from so you know which links are getting clicks, it will tell you what people are doing once they get to your site. In other words, after they consume the content they clicked on, are they staying on your site and looking around? If they aren’t, that could be a sign that you need to add more attractive/interesting content to your site so people will want to stay longer.

Tools for Specific Platforms

Twitter

If you want to keep an eye on specific social media platforms, Hootsuite and TweetDeck both provide simple ways to monitor Twitter without requiring you to scroll through hundreds of individual Tweets.

Facebook

Facebook provides its own analytics tool called Page Insights. It’s handy if you want to know more about your audience and how they are interacting with your posts. As soon as your Facebook Page gets at least 30 likes, you’ll be able to use this feature.

Booshaka is a service that tracks and collects every time a customer interacts with one of your Facebook ad campaigns.

Centralized Analytic Tools

You can combine all of your social media tracking efforts on a single dashboard like Quintly. They give you a neat overview of your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, as well as several other types of social accounts.

If you want to keep an eye on your RSS feeds as well as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, you can use a dashboard service like NetVibes.

With a little planning and one or more of these helpful tools, you’ll be able to keep on top of your social media efforts without feeling overwhelmed.

Tess PajaronWith a background in Business Administration and Management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She’s also interested in branding and digital media.

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