There are essentially four main steps involved in taking advantage of the data drawn from social reports created by Google Analytics. These steps include measurement, reporting, analysis and implementation. Unfortunately, when it comes to measuring your social media campaign efforts, it is easy to fall victim to the trap of measuring and reporting data, but never actually analyzing and acting on it.
To extrapolate meaningful information from Social Reports, you must avoid focusing on hit counters (the number of hits or visitors on a particular webpage). While these do give a slight measure of successful utilization of content, it is not an accurate digital measurement that can legitimately pinpoint a conversion rate between the time and money spent to a return on investment. In other words, there is more to it than looking at trend lines, numbers, page views, transactions etc. This is superficial reporting that is lacking an in-depth analysis that can be used to create strategic sustainability planning.
You can move beyond being a reporter and start to become an analyst by heeding the following advice:
- Establish goals that are in line with your organization’s value propositions:
You can establish goals by asking yourself what you want to achieve in the short run and where you want your organization to be in long run. Goals can be as broad as ‘to gain three new clients’ or more focused to achieve a specific accomplishment. It is important that you focus on your strengths and consider the internal and external environment to establish achievable endpoints. One goal may be to drive more traffic to your site, but if it is BAD traffic (irrelevant visitors), then you are analyzing and implementing ineffective measurements into social media efforts.
- Knowing what data specifically relates to your goals:
If you want to measure traffic sources and content reports, then you must get familiar with the metrics that deliver those insights. If you are interested in virtual page views and learning what communities matter for your organization, then you must become familiar with those metrics. Don’t get caught up in collecting data and analyzing information that is irrelevant to your goals.
- Don’t use data for self affirmation:
Collecting the appropriate data is essential to looking into the future and creating a strategically sustainable plan that will ensure you are maximizing your social media efforts to achieve and supersede your established goals. Don’t simply look at the data as a measure of how well you did. An advanced analyst looks at the historical data to identify what worked and what didn’t to gain insights and make changes for future projects. When things do or don’t work, use the data from Social Reports and ask yourself: who, what, when, where, why and how?
At the end of the day, some efforts will increase conversions while others fall short. In order to plan strategically, it is important to continually reassess your goals and how you plan to achieve them. Goals are not the strategy; it is how you analyze the data and gain insights that will lead to a successful social media campaign.