There are many ways to track your social media efforts — Hootsuite, Bit.ly, Facebook Insights, SEOmoz, Klout and the list goes on and on. But since you are already using Google Analytics to measure the success of your website, why not take advantage of their new social tracking?
Important note: You will need play with some code to implement this. If you don’t know what you’re doing, find someone who does. Here are Google’s instructions.
Once you are setup, head over to Google Analytics and then Traffic Sources.
Here you will be able to access to the new social dashboard where you can see how much traffic is coming from social media sites, which pages are the most popular on social sites and which social plugins (Facebook “Like” button, Twitter “Tweet” button) are being used.
Here’s what you’ll find in each segment under “Social.”
Overview: This is a snapshot of your website’s visits coming from social media. You can see which sites are sending traffic, which pages on your site are being shared the most and which plugins are being used. For more in-depth data, you’ll need to dig in past the overview page.
Sources: You can see the amount of traffic coming from social vs. all of your site’s traffic. You can also explore each of the social networks to see which pages they are sending traffic to.
Pages: This seems to offer the same data as the Sources tab until you take a closer look. See which pages are popular and which social media sites they are popular on. But you can also click a URL getting traffic from social sites and see exactly what actions were taken. Are people +1’ing you post? Or tweeting it? This is a great way to find out exactly how readers are interacting with your content.
You can also see who is interacting with your site by clicking “Activity Stream.”
Conversions: You will need to setup Conversion Tracking to use this feature. Read more about it here.
Social Plugins: This is some of the best data that Google Analytic has to offer. Most websites use social plugin tools like AddThis or a WordPress plug-in to place “Like”, “Tweet” and “+1” buttons on each page. While these services sometimes offer their own analytics, its much easier to track right in Google Analytics. See which pages are getting the most “Social Actions” and more importantly see what actions users are taking. You may be very active on Twitter but find that your readers mostly click the Facebook “Like” button. This is a sure sign that its time to be more active on sites that your readers use.
Social Visitors Flow: This section of Google Analytics deserves its own tutorial. Once someone comes to your site via social media, what do they do next? Discovering trends like visitor flow can paint a very clear picture of how people use your site. You can measure this in varying levels of detail and filter out new visitors, returning visitors, search traffic and a lot more. You can read a lot more about it here.
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