Which works more effectively for your business, Twitter or Facebook? The problem with understanding how effectively your online marketing is working is that often all of your links from your various resources are directing customers to one single central resource. Generally that’s your main website page, or a main subcategory, or even your sales page.

But how can you really tell how effective your use of Facebook is compared to your use of Twitter? Some people may be tempted to suggest that it’s about the numbers, and if you have more followers of Twitter then you do on Facebook then Twitter is likely to be more effective. This is certainly a very poor way of deciding how effective your marketing is. So how do you overcome the problem of understanding where all your visitors are coming from, how they got to your website, and therefore how effective one approach or resource is compared to another?

For many years businesses which have call centres and who advertise predominantly as available on the telephone have been using a technique that a great many people have never realised. Most of the major companies selling products such as telephone, broadband, mobile phones and suchlike will have adverts on billboards, adverts in magazines and newspapers, adverts on the radio, adverts online and adverts on television.

But it is important for them to know which newspapers or magazines are driving more customers than others, whether billboard posters or television advertisements are driving more customers, whether radio or television is more effective and many other issues which help them to tailor and adapt their marketing approach in order to get maximum results at the most cost-effective price. So how are they doing it?

Simple, they have about a thousand telephone numbers, and use a different telephone number for each category of adverts. So if you see a well-known broadband provider advertising in one newspaper, you’ll find the exact same advertisement in a different newspaper, but with a different telephone number. When customers call in, the business can see which telephone numbers have been used to drive customers to the business, and therefore how effective different forms of advertising have been.

Using this approach as far as online marketing is concerned is not quite as easy, but certainly still possible. Want to know whether Facebook or Twitter is more effective? Simple, if you’re trying to drive them towards a special page web for a promotion or a product, include a different link on Facebook from the one you use on Twitter.

You can simply use a redirect address, and a use your website log statistics to identify how many hits your target page has received from each redirecting URL. If you’re not entirely confident how to achieve this, your web hosting company will easily be able to help you. Another way in which businesses achieve the same thing is by having different e-mail addresses, and providing one e-mail address in one location, and a different e-mail address in another location.

So if you want to know how effectively your different social media sites are working compared to each other, think about ways in which you can tell where your customers are actually coming from. That will give you a much better indication than the highly misleading implication of popularity which the number of followers or subscribers leads many people to believe in.