Tracking social media growth is something every business should be doing at least once a month. It's one of the best ways to identify what's working for you online (and what's not), and it gives you an opportunity to actually watch your hard work in action.
I get it, numbers are scary. I also understand that bizarre mentality we all have (at times) about writing something down. It means its real. It's setting expectations. And we all know that expectations can lead to feeling let down. But. The only way to strategically build your following, drive traffic back to your website, and make sales is by measuring your growth precisely each month.
It can feel strange and unfamiliar in the beginning, especially if growth is slow, but I promise if you stick to it and put in the hard work it will be something you look forward to each month as you begin to see your work basically displayed in the numbers.
Why You Should Track Every Month
Tracking your social media growth and your website traffic every month allows you the opportunity to see a lot, believe it or not. Here are some of what tracking can do for you:
- It shows you how much your audience has grown over a period of time
- Tells you what content your audience engages with, as well as alerts you to what content is doing well (and what isn't)
- Spells out the hard work you are doing in numbers
- Informs you of the pages that do best on your website (blog posts, products, services, etc)
- Dictates what social media sites your content does best on
The best thing about tracking your growth is you can decide what you should pay attention to. You don't have to make it a huge process, it can be basic in the beginning. The main point I am trying to make is that there is a lot that goes into a social media strategy, and by tracking your growth it can help inform overall decisions.
Keep It Basic (for Now)
As I mentioned above this is totally up to you - you can get really granular or keep things pretty basic. It depends on what you want to know, if you're reporting to someone, or if it's just you. It really depends on how involved you are with your social media - and how involved you want to be. Because I know most people don't track their growth and traffic at all, I'm going suggest that you keep it super basic right now in the beginning. Once you get the hang of things, and want more info you can start to dive deeper in the coming months and look into engagement and reach and other factors.
Right now we're going to get you set up so you can track basics to keep an eye on growth and traffic to your website. Every month you should be tracking your:
- Follower growth across all platforms
- Website traffic in Google Analytics (there's a lot to track here, so we'll cover that below.)
Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest all offer native analytics to track and analyze your content. Use 3rd party apps like People Map, Ink361, Iconosquare, or Union Metrics, to check Instagram analytics. While we won't get into what to look for within these dashboards I encourage you to check them often to get a feel for how your content is doing.
What to Measure
It's customary to track previous growth at the beginning of each month. On the first of every month you should have a reminder set in your calendar to track your stats. (Go set a reminder right now to repeat on the 1st of each month). This is the important part! If you don't track your growth consistently you can't see the growth, and if you aren't watching your growth you're most likely not putting in the hard work. They sort of go hand in hand.
For tracking follower growth on social media simply write down your follower count from each account right now. You can use the worksheet I created for you, or you can keep your own spreadsheet. This is the easier basic part.
Now comes the more detailed part; website traffic in Google Analytics. This is the mother load of analytics and something everyone should be checking each month. Website platforms like Wordpress, Square Space, and Shopify all offer ways to track Google Analytics. It can be a bit overwhelming, Google Analytics offers a ton of info. But there are specific areas you can check monthly without being overwhelmed. These areas tell you exactly what social media is doing for your business. If you're new to Google Analytics I would suggest starting with this blog post first so you get an understanding of how to locate your social media traffic.
Here's what you should be tracking in Google Analytics each month:
In the left hand side bar click on:
Overview » Audience
- Sessions: Google describes sessions as “a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame.”
- Users: Visitors to your website
- Page Views: Total number of pages viewed
- Pages Sessions: Average number of pages viewed during a session
- Average Session Duration: average amount of time a user (visitor) spends on your site
- Bounce Rate: Percentage of sessions in which a user has left your site after interacting with only one page
- New Sessions: Brand new visits to your website
To get a deeper dive into what each of these terms mean and what they tell you about your traffic head on over to this blog post.
Acquisition » Overview » Channels
- Organic Search: Traffic that came to your website through Google and other search engines
- Direct: Traffic that came to your website directly through your URL (entering it manually in a browser, or having it saved in their bookmarks, etc)
- Social - Traffic that comes to your website through links on social media (Also see below)
- Referral - Traffic that is directing traffic to your website from other websites. This is a great way to find out who has mentioned you on their blog or written about your products that you may not know about.
Acquisition » Overview » Channels » Social Sessions
Here you'll track all of the traffic from social media platforms. As I have mentioned a few times, read this blog post to get a better understanding of how to track social media traffic each month.
Pro-Tip: if you haven't been tracking Google Analytics, no problem! GA allows you to change dates to look at specific time periods! Use my tracker below to track all of your stats since January!
Free Worksheet & How to Measure
Maths, I know. Ugh. But I promise this math is super easy. It's simple subtraction, division, and then multiplication. It's all very easy. You can find out how to calculate growth and loss here, use this calculator, or you can download my worksheet below and get a quarterly tracking table along with the formula.
The worksheet not only acts as a quarterly tracker that you printout, but it also has areas for notes, achievements, and goals - you can do what you want with these areas, but I included them specifically so you can write down things your proud of and others you want to achieve online.
OK! Now hop to it! Let me know if you have any questions!