Tracking your activities is a great way to audit the health of your business - to see what’s working and what you need to change. As far as I’m concerned, tracking your marketing is essential to growing your client base and an engaged community, some of whom are potential buyers.
In this post I’m going to share what social media statistics you should be tracking, why tracking is important and how to choose the right channels for your business.
I’ve also created an editable worksheet you can download and customize, with some of the most popular social platforms + space for other marketing activities, like email, leads, clients & sales (available at the end of this post).
Before you start tracking - what to watch out for
It’s easy to tumble down the rabbit hole of social media and get wrapped up in other business owners’ achievements - we form an impression from other people's successes, without knowing the full picture.
For example, we might see what looks like a huge, successful launch, but not realize the 18 hour days that went into producing it. Or we might see coaches saying they've made 6-figures, but don't see the $30k they invested to get there.
And it’s the same with social media.
The story isn't always clear: success can mean different things to different people and everyone takes their own path to get there.
So, these are my words of caution:
Don’t get caught up in the comparison trap
Avoid making assumptions about other people’s followings
Don’t get discouraged if your social channels have a slow growth
Keep experimenting to find what works for YOUR audience - there is no ONE right answer
Why track your social media?
In my earlier post, 5 ways your social media can affect your SEO, I went into detail about why you need to be active on social media and how you use it to boost your SEO.
While I don’t want you to get too caught up in the social media numbers, it's still important to track what you're doing - it’s less about astronomical followers and more about finding an approach that works.
What tracking social media & marketing can do for your business
It helps you understand which efforts are worth the time and which you no longer need to do.
You’ll gain a clearer picture of where your web traffic is coming from.
It’ll become easier to grow an engaged social media community.
You’ll discover where your ideal clients hang out.
You can listen to what they’re saying and find out all sorts of useful things (more on this below).
More ideal potential buyers means more ideal clients &/or products sold.
You put a lot of hard work into your content and into sharing it on your platforms - let’s make it worth your while by getting the most use out of it!
Works for me: I started my second IG account in June 2017, after ~3 years of using my one Instagram account for both business and personal content. While I don't spend a lot of time on any social media channels, I do make sure to fully show up and engage when I do, rather than pushing out content and disappearing. I found that my business account grew much more quickly than my personal account because I had an actual plan in place (& improved my hashtag strategy!).
Strategically tracking your social media - the right approach for your business
A note on follower numbers
Follower numbers aren’t the be-all and end-all!
If you see that someone has 1.2M followers, you believe they must be pretty legit, right? While a business with few followers can’t be very successful.
Well, I've seen behind-the-scenes of both scenarios: huge social followings with little business vs. huge business with little social followers.
And the truth is, it really depends on a number of factors, including what your goals are.
They can look good, but don't necessarily reflect anything significant.
Instead, think of what goals are tied to your followers? In fact, what are your overall goals and how can your marketing support them?
How to decide what channels to focus your energy on
To begin with, you may have no idea where to concentrate your efforts and may have to track everything (all your social media accounts).
But that doesn’t mean you have to be active on all social platforms - I mean, there are just too many for one human to cope with! And my worksheet, at the end of the post, is a monthly tally, so this isn’t a daily or even weekly task either.
To choose your top 1-3 accounts to pour energy into, you’ll need to see which ones are currently working for your business. For example, you may find you can hear lots of great info from ideal clients in your Facebook groups, so it makes sense to focus on Facebook. For me, after a few months of tracking, it became clear that much of my web traffic comes from Pinterest and I get lots of engagement on Instagram.
Works for me: I’ve been using Pinterest for my blog since around 2013, but it wasn’t until I started tracking my social media stats, that I realized just how much traffic I was getting from my Pinterest account. Once I decided to spend more time optimizing for this traffic, I discovered just how powerful Pinterest is for my business.
Questions to ask:
How many referrals are you getting to your website from your various social media accounts? Which ones are already giving you traffic? Pour more focus there.
How much engagement are you getting with your social media posts? The platforms where you’re seeing the most engagement/having great conversations are the ones that are worth investing time & money in.
Which channels have previously brought you new leads/clients? If it works, it may keep on working!
What platforms are your competitors &/or market leaders on, where they’re experiencing results? It’s worth exploring if these will work for your business.
Where are you seeing little-to-no activity? If you’ve got lots of followers but little interaction, something needs to change - are you engaging enough? Are your clients using the platform?
Are any of your profiles in need of updating? How can you optimize your profiles? (website link, call-to-action, bio, photo of you, etc.) Do you need to re-think your social media strategy to boost a particular profile?
Where do your ideal clients hang out online? What are their preferred platforms? For example, maybe there’s an industry-specific forum that’s a better place for you that IG/FB/etc.
Where do YOU enjoy hanging out? This is important! There’s no point forcing yourself to post & interact if it’s a platform you’re not crazy about!
I love Instagram and Pinterest and, although my social followings are pretty modest, my business is consistently booked.
What social media statistics you should be tracking
Once you know what channels you’re going to focus on, what stats should you track?
Referrals (website traffic from each social media source)
Looking at the bigger picture - marketing stats + goals
Rather than taking your social media stats at face value, I want you to link them back to tangible results, such as:
Reviews (important for retailers and bricks & mortar businesses)
Desired # of new clients
Actual new clients
It's also why I have a section for marketing activities at the bottom of the tracking spreadsheet. You can include anything here, from ads you ran to how much time you spent building a product or preparing for a launch.
You need to look at the month as a whole to determine what really worked and was worth the effort, time and money.
Once you have a full year of stats, you’ll get to really understand the lead time for your marketing efforts and see the wonderful snowball effect of high-quality organic traffic.
As you’ll see on my latest stats page, I don’t track every profile on the worksheet - I’ve customized it for my business. To begin with you may need to track a few profiles to see where to concentrate your efforts going forward and you can tweak it as you go.
Finally, it’s really no loss when someone unfollows or unsubscribes - a smaller, more engaged audience is better than a large, less responsive following.
Tracking your social media marketing boils down to knowing your goals, and tying your numbers back to those goals.
Growing an engaged community on social media boils down to knowing your audience, consistent branding, offering valuable content and being authentic.
Download Your Free social strategy Worksheet! ⇣⇣
I'm offering my own template to get you started. I've built and edited this template over the past 2 years to zero in on the aspects worth tracking.
The excel sheet is editable, so feel free to add and remove categories so it's fully customized to fit your business.
To be honest, it's more of an overall marketing tracking sheet, including areas for desired number of new clients, leads, marketing investment, ebooks sold, and more. This is not a detailed financial tracking worksheet, but there is space for your overall numbers.
So again, edit to fit your needs and make it your own!
Download the editable tracking worksheet – Excel or Google Sheets versions both available
Save a copy to your computer or to your own Google Drive account.
Customize it to your business - you don't have to track every single stat and channel listed! And you may want to swap out some platforms for another.
Make a 1 hour recurring monthly appointment in your planner to audit your social media & digital marketing activities.