That’s not true.
They are merely using a tool that will help them achieve an outcome, such as improved book sales, an increase in speaking opportunities, or improved visibility. This is why it’s important to define the purpose of your online activity before running to social media. Once you’ve clarified your purpose you’ll be able to determine whether the outcomes you achieve will enable you to reach your overall goal and whether your efforts are worthwhile. With so many free analytics tools, you really have little excuse not to check them every week or at least once a month.
You don’t have to pay for an application to determine whether your posts are engaging your fans. Facebook’s free tool, Insights, will provide all the information you need. If you navigate to your Admin panel on your Facebook page, simply click on Insights. First you’ll see an overview that will include the number of Likes your page received in the past week, the reach of your post and how engaged your fans were with your content.
The next metric Facebook offers is the number of Likes you accumulated over the previous 30 days and how those fans arrived on your page.
The next metric you can view is Reach – the number of people who actually saw a particular post. In this example, on January 10 an estimated 70,000 people saw a message posted that day.
It’s known that people will in all probability only navigate to your Facebook page once to give it a Like. Once they Like your page they will rarely return because they can usually see your posts in their news feeds. I use the term usually because if your fans over time don’t engage with your posts, your status updates will disappear from their news feeds unless you pay to boost a post.
When you click on Posts, you’ll see exactly how well each post performed. By studying this analysis, you’ll have a better understanding of the type of information your audience most often engages with and you’ll know what type of information to post in the future.
The People tab is always fun to look at. This metric will tell you where your fans live so that you’ll know at what time to post your messages. It will also provide demographic information.
All of the above information can be exported into an Excel spreadsheet if that is an easier way for you to track your metrics.
If you still have a profile on Pinterest, be sure to convert it to a business account. After all, author entrepreneurs are in the business of writing and selling their books and making a profit. The benefit of obtaining a business account on Pinterest is that you will be able to view your analytics for free. Pinterest’s metrics include pins, pinners, repins, impressions, and click-through rates to your website or Amazon. This information will be especially helpful if you are using Pinterest to promote your books and blog.
Twitter also offers free analytics for its users that provide statistics from the previous 30 days. The metrics include mentions, new follows, unfollows, Favorites, Retweets and Replies. Again, this information will help you understand the type of information that your followers most want to read. Here’s an example.
6 More Free Social Media Analytics Tools
Other free tools also exist and they will provide you with insightful information. Here are some of them:
This free product from Google will provide you with insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. For example, you can determine whether your website visitors are coming from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+, what they do while they are on your website, and how often they return. Everyone who has a website needs to use this tool.
Web Analytics and Advertising Insights from Yahoo! collects data about your website but won’t reveal your visitors’ names, ages, or phone numbers. It’s similar to Google Analytics but not as popular. However, some say that Yahoo’s product provides more information than its Google counterpart does. You should use one of these two products because it will help you determine the type of content your audience prefers.
All you need to do is type in the web address of your Facebook page (not your profile), and this free program will analyze your engagement. Your score will be somewhere between 1 and 100. The higher your score, the better your page is performing. This application will rate your growth in page Likes, rank your score against similar pages, measure your response time to comments left by fans, determine whether you are asking questions often enough, and remind you to denote more milestones. Basically, it provides an at-a-glance look at the areas you excel in and the areas that need improvement. Everyone with a Facebook page should take advantage of this free analytics program.
To discover how your page fares compared to similar pages, type in your Facebook URL. If you want to know which pages are trending on Facebook, you can also find that information on this free informational site.
You can try this application for free or start a premium account for just $3.99/month. Tweriod will provide a monthly analysis of your Twitter follower base, providing summary statistics, numbers on mentions and replies, and a measure of your influence. If you use Buffer to schedule your tweets, Tweriod will determine your best tweeting times and automatically synchronize that information to your Buffer queue.
You’re probably already familiar with Bit.ly as a link shortener. When you consistently use this website to shorten your links, Bit.ly will track click-through rates for you for free.
Once a week, analyze your performance from the previous week, and determine whether there are any weak areas in your social media messaging. Maybe you need to add more images or shorten your messages. Perhaps certain topics perform better than others. Or maybe your audience prefers images over content. The metrics will help you to increase engagement by showing you how your audience reacts to your content.
What are your favorite social media analytics tools?
About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.
Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web