We understand that having your brand on social media is important. But simply setting up a Facebook or Twitter account is not enough to drive visitors to your company's website and convert them into customers. That's why developing a social media strategy is so important. But beyond just implementing a plan, you'll want to evaluate your social channel's success in order to improve moving forward.
Google Analytics is a valuable tool that can help you to analyze and enhance your social media strategy. The social section (Acquisition > Social) in Analytics breaks down your website's visitors that are being driven from social networks. The data available in the reports outlined below will help you take your social media strategy from mere existence to a key asset in converting traffic into customers.
Network Referrals Report
The Social > Network Referrals report allows you to get a better understanding of which social accounts are driving traffic to your website, as well as provide an overview of which visitors are the most engaged. This report provides a list of the top networks that drove traffic, as well as data on the average session duration and pages visited per session.
It's tempting to assume that whichever social network drives the most traffic is where you want to dedicate your efforts. However, be sure to evaluate engagement. For example, in the report shown below, Twitter and Facebook are sending the most traffic. However, Disqus and LinkedIn are sending visitors who are more engaged. They spend more time (Avg Session Duration) and view more content (Pages / Session). As a result, this brand may want to invest more effort generating traffic from Disqus and LinkedIn.
Landing Pages Report
Most social media strategists understand that sharing insightful and helpful content is going to build trust with your followers and drive more interest back to your website. Therefore, sharing blog posts, infographics, event information and offers are going to initiate web traffic. Google Analytics can help you refine this strategy and determine whether you should be promoting more blog posts or special offers. The Social > Landing Pages report shows you exactly what page your social visitors are first landing on.
Within the report, you will notice a list of URLs ranked by sessions, which shows which pages were most visited from your social networks. For example, if you see that blog posts offering expert advice are sorted at the top of the list, you should be sharing this kind of content more often. Within this report, you can also click on each URL to learn more on the specific social networks that drove traffic to that point and see how long people spent on a particular page after it was initially shared via a social channel.
Traffic and engagement are important measurements of a social strategy's success. However, you want to take a look at how social media is impacting conversion rates. The Social > Conversions report within Analytics supplies data for conversions that are coming from social users.
The Conversions report ranks social networks in order of conversions (goal completions). You'll be able to determine whether Facebook or Pinterest are driving the most visitors who are likely to become customers.
Google also allows you to tie monetary values to conversions by following some additional steps, but this extra insight can help you to associate expected revenue with your efforts on social media. Showcasing the ROI of your strategy often reinforces to clients or colleagues the importance of a strong social media presence.
User Flow Report
Understanding which social networks are sending traffic and conversions to your website is important, but the User Flow report will provide you with insight into how they navigate your site. The report appears like a flow chart, showing first which network users are coming from, the starting pages and then where they visit next. The overview gives you an idea of what content interests these users, which can vary depending on whether they're coming from YouTube or Pinterest.
If you notice in the User Flow report that traffic is leaving after visiting a particular page, you may consider tactics on how to guide them to additional content. For example, if you're noticing a number of people are reading blog posts but they immediately leave the website, incorporate "Recent Posts" or "Suggested Blog Posts" links to keep them engaged.
For smaller businesses or agencies, implementing a well-thought-out social media plan can take a lot of time and effort. Make sure you are getting the most from the effort put in. The reports we've outlined above are good starting points to gain more insight into how your strategy is working and how you can improve.