Do you really have an idea of where you or your company stand online today?
There are several conversations on how to develop a social media strategy but in this case, we are suggesting you take a step back to look at who you are online, where you’re standing today. What kind of reach do you have? Are you an influencer in your segment? Do people know about you in your industry?
Figure this out first and then move forward, plan, set up goals, compare.
With this post, I’m starting a series called “Snapshot Of Your Social Media Presence” that will be published in 5 parts in the next week or so as it follows:
- Snapshot Of Your Social Media Presence [Part 1]: The Hub – You are here.
- Snapshot Of Your Social Media Presence [Part 2]: Content Performance – We’ll take a look at your hottest pieces of content and how users are engaging with it.
- Snapshot Of Your Social Media Presence [Part 3]: Your Network – The size, the growth and even some demographics.
- Snapshot Of Your Social Media Presence [Part 4]: Impact – Influence, sentiment, reach and more…
- Snapshot Of Your Social Media Presence [Part 5]: Dashboard On A Spreadsheet – How to build your own dashboard to have full visibility of your progress.
The goal here is to establish a way of measuring your online presence, this is not a business objective, your business objective should be to convert more prospects to sales. Some of the numbers we are going to take in consideration here are not relevant to your bottom line directly. What I mean by directly is that you will not get a check in the mail by getting more traffic to your site or you won’t get any commissions based on how many times you get retweeted.
So what’s the point? learning about your presence online and how to improve it will allow you to:
- Position yourself in the marketplace
- Build credibility
- Expose yourself to larger networks
The benefits are huge, they’re just not directly attached to money, which will come automatically.
Again to make it very clear: If you’re thinking “shouldn’t we be measuring ROI instead?”, your are correct but in this case we are trying to figure out something different, you social web presence that will help us get to more relevant statistics.
Let me give you an example, most people agrees that the Alexa Ranking is not as relevant as it used to be in the past and I can tell you that it will not directly affect your business in any way. I don’t want you to make it a goal to improve it, I’m just suggesting that we take a look once a month to track it as a way to measure our presence along with other figures.
There is also data that you should take very seriously…
Some of that data is processed to you by Google Analytics. This is a must-have, it stopped being an option years ago so if you’re either a small business or a brand, you better have it in your toolbox. Take it easy if you are starting with it, this is a powerful tool, start by tracking the main numbers such as monthly Visits, Pageviews, Average Time and Bounce Rate.
I’m not going to get into definitions but if you don’t know what some of these terms mean, you should read my post “Start Understanding Your Website Traffic” and take it from there.
Take the last 3 months worth of data so you can also look at the trend.
Another thing that is very important we get from Analytics is the the traffic sources but we’ll look at that later.
The Alexa Traffic Rank is taken as the official list of sites by some while others argue that it’s not accurate… I had people write reviews for my site on it and they don’t show up, have submitted my site info twice and nothing so… who knows. We don’t care about that, we’ll just use it as a measurement of progress. Let’s grab that number called “Alexa Traffic Rank” and make a note of the date.
Alexa provides other information such as regional rankings (I know SocialMouths is huge in New Zealand…), your top search queries, sites linking back to you, etc. For now, we’ll take the official ranking.
Same thing with Compete.com, some say it replaced Alexa and others don’t even care to register. There is a chance your site will not have enough data to show up on Compete, if this is the case then register first by opening a free account.
You will notice that the figures are completely off, in this case the Compete Rank for SocialMouths is 85,907 while the Alexa Rank is 68,709. This is not important since we are not doing this to compare the two, they’re apples and oranges. Don’t try to figure this out either, unless you’re an analytic freak that wants to know how each digit is created.
Compete also offers a premium service that includes search analytics, demographics and much more. Let’s stick with that rank…
Quantcast is a little different because you are actually letting it quantify your traffic by installing its code on your blog, that is supposed to make it more reliable when it comes to traffic numbers. Some of these metrics are more relevant for marketers trying to find advertising venues.
Again, you’ll grab the rank. We’ll come back to grab those nice demographics later on…
Your Own “Analytic Dashboard” On A Spreadsheet
Now that you have gathered the data we need to measure, we’ll establish a starting point and monthly check points to be able to measure our progress, set up reminders on your calendar to spend an hour every month to build this.
Why a spreadsheet? To centralize everything and provide you with full visibility, it’s kind of having a dashboard on your own that doesn’t update automatically. Make it very easy, you can use MS Excel or a Google Spreadsheet to do this. We’ll continue to add other data in the upcoming posts. Here is an example in the following images:
Basic data from Google Analytics:
And the different ranking from Alexa, Quantcast and Compete, all in one place.
The last digit we’ll collect in this phase will be Google Pagerank, this one is way more relevant than the other ranks, this is directly related to the SEO of your blog/site. You can install a toolbar that includes this information on your browser, there are plenty of them out there, in the following image I’m showing the extension for Google Chrome.
In the next post (probably my favorite one) we’ll analyze content performance and we’ll also keep adding stuff to our spreadsheet.
Now It’s Your Turn…
Is your blog the hub of your social media presence? what are you doing to measure its performance and how often do you stop to analyze it? Share your thoughts in the comments section.