Last month I introduced the idea that by creating a Social Media Analytics Action Plan, you’d find it much easier to not only find the ROI of social media for your company, but you’ll also improve the effectiveness of your social media efforts.
In Part 1 we defined our KPI’s, and now it is time to properly configure your analytics package so you can measure those metrics.
Add Campaign Tracking to URLs
With URL shortening services like bit.ly and kl.am having analytics tagging capabilities built into them, there really isn’t an excuse to not be tracking your social URLs. I recommend you take your URL shortening one step further. Instead of just setting up tracking URLs for each social platform, set them up for each tweet/wall post/etc.
By taking the time to set up multiple tracking URLs of the same URL you plan to share on social sites, you’ll be able to figure out what verbiage leads to more click-throughs and conversions, what time of day you see the most click-throughs, and other valuable insight.
Create a Filter/Segment for Social Traffic
This is more of a time saver than anything. Within you analytics account, setup a profile that only displays traffic from social media websites. This will allow you to quickly analyze your social efforts without having to go through a bunch of segmenting just to get the information you are looking for.
Setup Virtual Pages
The idea with virtual pages is that you create a vanity URL that redirects to a tracking URL. The vanity URL provides a nice clean link for the social media user to click through to, and when we redirect them (using a 301 redirect), we can track the user as they jump from that social platform to the website.
This is a very similar technique to what pay-per-click marketers use. When you redirect the user, the URL of the page they land on will include your tracking information which will allow you to analyze exactly how a user from a particular social network interacts with your site.
If you use Google Analytics, you can use Google’s URL Builder tool to create these tracking URLs.
Over on the Google Analytics blog, they have a fantastic case study about how Lollapalooza measured their social media efforts. What really stood out to me was how well they setup tracking on “events.” An event can be any interaction with your website. It could be something as simple as a download, or even when a person registers or logins to their account.
Lollapalooza also setup event tracking on their social “share buttons” so they could figure out where their social traffic would choose to share their website or if they decided to initiate Facebook Connect.
There are a number of things you can do to setup your analytics to gain additional insight into your social efforts if you haven’t implemented a social media monitoring tool. The key is to be meticulous, ask questions and be creative in solving them. You can learn a lot from the way you promote your website and the way your users interact with your site if you pay close enough attention.