Tracking: it’s not just for reports

Tracking is an important part of social media, even more so than with traditional marketing methods. You might already be tracking basic stats to include in reports but that’s only touching the surface. Tracking is not complete without analysis. How can you tell that you’re not wasting time?

On Twitter:

  1. Are people clicking on your links? I recommend using budurl.com or bit.ly to track the click-through rates of your links. But don’t just stop there. Categorize your links into themes. Are your culinary tweets getting more clicks than your art/culture tweets? Find out what topics your followers seem to be interested it.
  2. Are twitter followers replying to you? If no one’s talking to you then you must be the one to start the conversation. Ask questions like “What’s on your Chicago must-see list?” and retweet some of the answers. Keep track of the amount of replies/mentions you receive each month.
  3. Are your tweets being retweeted? Make sure you leave enough characters available so people don’t have to edit your original tweet when retweeting. Consider thanking people who retweet you. If the same people always retweet you, show them some love in return by retweeting their applicable tweets to your followers. Include them in #TT (#TravelTuesday) or #FF (#FollowFriday) tweets.
  4. What are your competitors doing? Spend time looking at your competitors online. It could be as simple as creating a private twitter list and using it as a column in tweetdeck or hootsuite. If you have more time, create a chart and track their monthly growth against yours such as number of followers, followings, tweets they send per month and total number of lists they’re on.

On Facebook:

  1. Are your fans/likers commenting and “liking” your posts? The easiest way to see Facebook engagement is by looking at the interaction on your page. Write posts that are easy to “like” or ask questions to entice comments. I’ve found that general questions seem to get more engagement than a very specific topic on the pages that I admin.
  2. Are people writing on your wall? If someone posts a question on your wall, be sure to answer it. As with twitter, your Facebook strategy should not be a one-way conversation.
  3. Are you tagging other pages? Tagging allows your message to be seen on multiple pages. The Texas Tourism Facebook page does an excellent job of this. As a CVB, be sure to tag your state DMO as well as events, museums, restaurants, hotels, etc. To tag a page, you must first “like” the page then use the “@” sign and start typing the page name. As Facebook automates the selection, click on the correct page to create the tag.
  4. How many times do you post each day? As with twitter, it’s important to watch your competitors. Most CVBs are posting 1-2 times each day but I’ve seen some that post up to 90 times each month. Usually these pages take on a more personal tone in their updates and the fans/likers seem to connect with the admin well. I don’t think it’s necessary to post more than 1-2 times/day but the decision should be based upon how much interaction each post receives. In addition to frequency, consider the length of each post. Don’t make the posts too long. Use them as a teaser so people will click on the link for more information.

Even though it takes time to track, it is well worth it. Learn from your findings and work smarter, not harder.