I've seen a lot of bloggers give a behind-the-scenes look at how they did during 2015, and I think it's a great idea. Last week I reviewed the Top 5 Ways I Grew My Blog Traffic in 2015 with a quick peek at my growth stats.
We all get certain ideas of what someone's business must be like. We might see what looks like a huge, successful launch, but not realize the 18 hour days that went into producing it.
We might see coaches saying they've made 6-figures, but don't see the $30k they invested to get there.
My point is, the story isn't always clear, and everyone takes their own path to get there.
My social followings are pretty modest, but my business is consistently booked.
So this is just my word of caution to:
- not get caught up in the comparison trap
- not 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
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 or money.
Tracking Social Media
While I caution against getting too caught up in the social media numbers, it's still important to track what you're doing.
You put a lot of hard work into your content and into sharing it on your platforms.
If you see that someone has 1.2M followers, you believe they must be pretty legit, right?
At the same time, I've seen behind-the-scenes of both scenarios- huge social followings with little business vs. huge business with little social followers.
They can look good, but don't necessarily reflect anything significant.
Instead, think of what goals are tied to your followers?
How many referrals are you getting to your website? How much engagement are you getting with your social posts?
Anyway, I'm sure you can tell I struggle with seeing this from both sides! There's a delicate balance to it.
My Social Media + Website Growth in 2015 (aka My Tribe Growth)
Here's a breakdown of my growth in 2015 to give you an idea of what I tracked.
(Psst...to see my real numbers, download the worksheet. I left them in as a guide.)
Email Subscribers: +225%
Bloglovin Followers: +43.5% (since September when I started tracking)
Website Traffic: +108.85%
Organic Search Traffic: +425%
Instagram Followers: +181.55%
Twitter Followers: +86%
Twitter Referrals: +306.20%
Pinterest Followers: +55%
Pinterest Referrals: +1,300.10%
Facebook Followers: +31%
Facebook Referrals: +44.24%
What Worked to Grow My Social Networks
Images, Scheduling + Being Authentic:
Improving my blog images helped tremendously across the board. I'd say it's one of the most important factors to focus on.
The next biggest factor is scheduling out posts in advance and at times when your audience is online. Most social platforms offer free analytics that will help you determine when your specific audience is the most active.
And finally, sharing a mix of business and personal content helps followers get to know you and feel a deeper connection.
There's a popular quote that says, "people want to buy from people they like, know and trust."
Pinterest + Twitter:
Pinterest and Twitter were two of my largest traffic sources in 2015. You can see a detailed description of what I did to grow my website traffic with these channels here.
Hint: It had to do with the two things mentioned above, along with some networking and thinking outside the box.
I haven't spoken to a client who isn't frustrated with the algorithm change Facebook made that lessened organic traffic to business pages by a huge percent. And I'll admit I've been pretty lazy with my own Facebook page.
However, I can say there's still value in building an audience on Facebook. They have a very powerful ad platform that's worth the investment.
I spent dozens of hours figuring out the Power Editor (with help from three different online courses!), but now I feel like I'm getting the hang of it. I've only run a few ads but they've consistently grown my Facebook likes and traffic each time.
This has NOT been easy! I've heard getting your first 1000 followers is the hardest part. I haven't spent a lot of time focusing on Instagram because it's the hardest channel to tie back to blog traffic and sales.
However, off and on I have buckled down and grown my followers strategically and manually.
I choose a feed to start with that indirectly shares my target audience, meaning I don't choose someone who could be considered a competitor. An example would be The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I'm an alumni and my goal is to help health coaches with their marketing so they can focus more on their clients, so it's perfect.
Then I start clicking through to different profiles, liking and commenting on photos and following feeds I genuinely want to follow. It's really very simple, but can be time consuming!
I'm a huge fan of authentic growth, so I like this method. I'm connecting with real people and discovering feeds I love.
Not sure where to start with Instagram? Take a look at these 33 Tips for Using Instagram for Business.
Want to help with my goal to reach 1000 followers by February? Join me here!
What it Boils Down to:
Tracking your social followings boils down to knowing your goals, and tying your numbers back to those goal.
My Social Media Focus for 2016:
I've become slightly obsessed with Canva for Work and its "Magic Resize" tool. Not only is it so much easier to create blog graphics from a branded template, but I can resize them to perfectly fit any social media channel. (This is not an affiliate link, I'm just in love.)
Sarah over at xosarah.com suggests that the SumoMe app greatly improved her social shares, so I've added the free plugin to my site to test it out. I'll let you know how it goes!
I'll also be continuing to improve my Facebook ads, content re-purposing, and sticking with authentic growth.
Ready to start tracking your own social media growth?
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.
I left my numbers and marketing activities in for December as a guide. The excel sheet is editable, so feel free to add and remove categories as you see fit.
It's really 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!
If you have questions on any of my numbers, I'd be happy to answer them. Just shoot me an email at danielle (at) daniellezeigler.com.