Throughout this blog I have frequently discussed the importance of using social media marketing in the right way, using Facebook, SEO, Twitter, blogs and such like. But one of the problems many people have is that they become too thinly spread. They find that although they’d love the publish a blog post every day they simply don’t have the time, because they’re too busy updating their Facebook page, posting on Twitter, carrying out keyword research, improving on site optimisation or rolling out the next batch of PPC adverts.

Social Media IconsClearly the most appropriate thing to do in such cases is to pull the reigns back in one at least some of those areas. If your use of Twitter is so sparse that it’s little more than a quick tweet every few days then there really is very little benefit to be had in that. If your blog languishes for a week or more with no new content then this can result in a serious loss of traffic. In other words, spreading yourself too thinly is not good. In social media marketing thinness doesn’t have much clout.

But how do you know which of your social media marketing techniques are working and which could be reduced or even discarded? Is your Facebook page really achieving anything? Are the 1,000 followers you have on Twitter really helping you to achieve more traffic or increased sales? Even PPC can be confusing, with the number of clicks and even the highest performing keywords showing you more about how people interact with search results than with your website.

Ultimately you need a way of analysing how your various social media marketing efforts are performing, and in terms that really matter. How are sales affected by your various marketing techniques?

Clearly Google analytics can help, and they’re certainly highly valuable. But they are still limited to showing how people interact between the search results and your website. They don’t show how effective or successful your efforts really are. You might have two people arriving at your website for example, one via Facebook and one via Twitter. Only one of them places an order. But which one? How would you tell? It’s important that you do, and can – but how?

There are various techniques which can be used. One of the simplest and easiest methods which people have used is to actually have an option on the order form or enquiry form which asks the customer where they heard about you. Here you provide a list of suggested sites where people might have come across your site. The problem with this is that only a small minority of people bother to fill this in, and often it may not be wholly accurate. A search on Google may have led them to a blog which linked to your website. Do they choose Google or the blog? Most people stick Google down as a stock answer, which doesn’t help.

A better way of achieving greater insight is to use unique URLs for your campaigns. So your PPC campaigns link to ‘ppc.yourdomain.com’, your Facebook campaigns to ‘facebook.yourdomain.com’ and so on. By including a unique link on each platform to a new campaign you can see more easily where the paying traffic is actually coming from, which will help you to adapt the amount of time spent on various efforts. If you find that your ppc.yourdomain.com is resulting in plenty of traffic but very few sales you may feel that this area of marketing could be dropped for a while, giving you more time to spend on those platforms which do bring in the money.

Do you effectively measure your social media activities? If so, how? And how do you use the information to grow your business? Please leave a comment below to let us know.