How to Track Your Performance Across Social Media Networks

Fri, Jun 8, 2012


So you hired an affordable and talented graphic designer to create you website and you’ve managed to secure the services of a reliable and speedy web host. You added an onsite blog, schooled yourself in SEO, and you’ve started to increase your web presence and build your online brand. And of course, you’ve created profiles on all of the most popular social networking sites (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and more) in an effort to reach a wider consumer base and get connected to the online community at large. Okay, so now what? How can you tell if all of your hard work is making any bit of difference? If you don’t see an immediate uptick in traffic or sales you might think that your efforts have had no impact. But how can you be certain? In truth, you’re going to need to familiarize yourself with social media monitoring tools if you want to track your efforts in the online arena. Like any type of marketing, quantifying your impact is important to tailoring a successful social media strategy. And here’s how you get the job done.

When you start your search for social media monitoring tools you will find that there are many options out there, and some of them are incredibly pricy. The most comprehensive and popular programs, like Radian6 and Lithium, provide you with a wide array of tools to track and analyze data. You’ll get the metrics that allow you to keep track of the effects your marketing strategies are having, as well as the analytic tools to determine how to move forward. They’ll provide advice on setting up new strategies (or optimizing your current efforts), education and information regarding the social media landscape, and constant support for your ongoing social media monitoring efforts. Best of all, they will give you results across multiple platforms and even provide comparison studies so you can see which outlets you’re getting the most out of.

Unfortunately, these programs are also fairly expensive. They deliver the goods, but the cost could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month depending on the service package you choose. But there are other options that are less expensive. For one thing, most social networking sites can provide you with tracker software (in the form of buttons) that you can add to new entries on your website or blog (“GetShared” type icons). They can quickly show you how many people have “liked” your posts or clicked through to your other social media pages. However, these will hardly provide you with comprehensive data and they still leave you doing most of the work.

Instead, consider starting with free software like Google Analytics, which delivers some of the same functionality as far more pricy options (although it is geared towards Google). You can also go for something like Trackur, which offers several tiers of service at varying prices (starting as low as eighteen bucks a month for the basic service). And there are a variety of free programs like Social Mention (for keyword searches) and CoTweet (to track mentions on Twitter) that will allow you to see to specific aspect of social media monitoring in addition to whatever software you use for overall tracking. Over time you will find the tools that suit your needs at a price you can afford.

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