Many writers make the mistake of thinking that by being on Facebook and Twitter and other social media channels they’ve already accomplished the goal of using social media to market their books. They haven’t.
Furthermore, just being on social media and occasionally posting information isn’t a genuine outcome of your marketing efforts.
First, you need to define the purpose of your online activity, become clear on your purpose, and determine whether the outcomes you achieve will enable you to reach your overall goal of selling books, becoming better known as a writer, and receiving the recognition that you and your books deserve.
How to Find Your Online Groove
Let’s assume that you’ve been curating great content to post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and perhaps even Google+. We’ll also assume that you’re scheduling your posts throughout the day and allocating time in the late afternoon to be social. In other words, you are perusing your news feeds, liking and possibly sharing some posts, leaving comments, and thanking your Twitter followers for retweeting your tweets.
There’s something else you need to start doing: analyzing your metrics. It’s important to spend few minutes every week analyzing your efforts to make sure that you are on your way to achieving your established goals.
Why Are Social Media Analytics Important?
Here are some examples of why you need to pay attention to analyses of your social media activity.
- What if you started to use an application that helped you discover that your Facebook posts were appealing to more women than men? Would that information prompt you to adjust your messaging?
- What if you discovered that your tweets were most often retweeted at five a.m. Eastern Standard Time? Would that information cause you to start scheduling your posts when East Coast residents are more likely to be online and using social media?
- What if you were to discover that a significant number of your Facebook fans were from Great Britain? Wouldn’t you want to schedule some of your status updates to the United Kingdom’s time zone?
The obvious answer to the above questions is yes.
With analytics—whether it’s Facebook’s free Insights or an application you pay for—you can better understand the demographics of your following and learn when they tend to be online so that you can tailor your messaging and the timing accordingly. Applications that measure your return on investment (ROI) will ensure that your time on social media is well spent.
There are plenty of applications on the market to conduct the intricacies of calculating the metrics and providing detailed reports. The hardest decision you will have to make is determining which application is right for you. There is a wide variety of apps available at an equally varied price range, so review the benefits of each application and weigh them.
Analytical Tools Just for Your Facebook Pages
Once your Facebook page accumulates thirty-five Likes, Facebook’s free analytics tool becomes available as part of your administrative panel. Insights will provide in-depth information about your follower counts, Likes, comments, shares, demographics, and more. Each week you’ll be able to see a seven-day review of the most engaging activity on your page and how your fan base is growing, compare the performance of your posts so that you can learn which messaging works best, and discover more about the people who comment and share your posts. A great feature of Insights is that it will provide you with demographics on not only your fans but also the number of people you reached through shares. This tool will, over time, teach you how to better engage with your readers on Facebook.
All you need to do is type in the web address of your Facebook page (not your profile), and this free program will analyze your engagement. Your score will be somewhere between 1 and 100. The higher your score, the better your page is performing. This application will rate your growth in page Likes, rank your score against similar pages, measure your response time to comments left by fans, determine whether you are asking questions often enough, and remind you to denote more milestones. Basically, it provides an at-a-glance look at the areas you excel in and the areas that need improvement. Every- one with a Facebook page should take advantage of this free analytics program.
Subscription-Based Tools for Facebook and More
For $39/month, SproutSocial will analyze your Facebook and Twitter accounts. The analytics are comprehensive, and in addition to a PDF report, you can download an Excel spreadsheet that examines your click-through rates on a day-by-day basis. It provides in-depth demographics and measures tweets, retweets, follows, mentions, re- plies, and direct messages. It will also measure how social you are and determine your influence. You can also use this application to schedule your posts, unfollow users, and, at the premium level, it will determine your best posting times.
Use this application to monitor conversations occurring on the web about you, your books, and the self-publishing industry in general. It takes less than ten minutes to set up. It pulls information from your Google Analytics account to tabulate page views and visits. Pricing starts at $1.99/month for Facebook monitoring and $49/month for social media monitoring. You can also test this application for free.
For just $9/month, Social Report will connect to a variety of social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Blogger, and LinkedIn, and provide weekly and daily digests of your web analytics. The metrics include insights into your social networking accounts and the interests, geographic locations, and gender of your readers. These types of metrics will enable you to hone your content and marketing language to better suit your audience. For $39/month, you can also use this tool to schedule your messages and track goals and objectives.
Curalate will analyze social media conversations and provide insights into your Pinterest and Instagram profiles. Use it to measure, monitor, and grow your influence. In today’s increasingly visual world of applications, Curalate can combine sophisticated image recognition algorithms with technologies to provide you with an analysis of your images at a pixel level. If you’re also a photographer or artist, this is the analytic tool you need.
Analytics SEO Software
A free account will provide you with an analysis of one user, twenty keywords, social media metrics, and one hundred pages and backlinks. It also offers a software package that provides online search engine optimization (SEO) and SEO advice, data, and tools. Check the website for pricing.
You can use this social-media-monitoring tool to measure online buzz about your books and the response to each post you schedule to determine which tweets and posts were most effective. Its dashboard provides information on positive and negative remarks and measures the success of your Facebook and Twitter posts. This application also integrates with Google Analytics. Individual plans are $20/month, or you can test drive it with a free trial.
If you want to measure your account growth and determine the best times of day to send your tweets, then SocialBro is a great app to use. This application will bring into focus your target audience and help you better understand your audience on Twitter. It will also monitor hashtags, keywords, and URLs. Plans start at $6.95/month.
You can try this application for free or start a premium account for just $3.99/month. Tweriod will provide a monthly analysis of your Twitter follower base, providing summary statistics, numbers on mentions and replies, and a measure of your influence. If you use Buffer to schedule your tweets, Tweriod will determine your best tweeting times and automatically synchronize that information to your Buffer queue.
Yes, this application known for scheduling your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter posts also provides analytics when you purchase the paid version, which costs $8.99/month. The paid version will also allow you to post to your Google+ page.
You’re probably already familiar with Bit.ly as a link shortener. When you consistently use this website to shorten your links, Bit.ly will track click-through rates for you for free. It also offers a paid enterprise analytics platform to help you learn more about your website visitors. For example, it will track where members of your audience navigate to once they leave your website, track your keywords, provide you with custom links that reflect your brand, and notify you of trending content. You need to contact Bit.ly for its enterprise program fees.
A Free Application
Simply sign in with your Twitter account to start using this free tool. In clear columns, this application will provide you with information on how many people navigated to your website from Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Delicious. It will also tell you how many of your website pages were shared, how many downloads occurred, and how many pages were scanned.
Which analytics tools are you using?
Frances Caballo of Social Media Just For Writers is a Contributing Writer for The Book Designer. She is also a social media strategist, manager and author. With her 23 years of communications experience, Frances helps writers gain the recognition they deserve through a sustained social web presence.
You can learn more about Frances here.