The First 4 Disciplines of Social Media: Google Analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter

The high-value returns on social media are in the following 4 Disciplines. The little section of my Google Chrome taskbar is my activity hub for everything social. By focusing on the core value of each discipline you can begin to develop your own process for engaging and influencing people (customers) using social media. Here’s a short intro to what you need to know.

Google Analytics
When Google made its powerful analytics tool FREE to the masses, it sealed its leadership in the search, manage, and respond portion of social media. But be forewarned, Google Analytics is a beast. Easy to get into, tough to master. When the CEO has access to the GA account on your site you might be in for some fun explaining, even when they don’t want to listen. The first step with GA is to establish a baseline of engagement, traffic, and activity that you will track. Starting with 100 page views a month and moving the needle up to 10,000, you’ve got something to show. Then find a few measurable stats that you think can have a significant impact on your business goals. Use GA to track your progress at moving the performance on those 2 – 3 important metrics. And make sure the ones you pick are actually actionable. Meaning, if you learn something from your measurement, make sure that you can make adjustments and optimization choices based on those results. Nothing is worse than a page full of charts and graphs (people love to call them dashboards) that have not one single actionable result. To measure is smart. To use measurement to make changes that improve results, that’s the golden standard of Google Analytics Wizardry.

Long on audience but short on results. Even with tools like GA, it is hard to calculate the value of an active Facebook Fan page. If your job, as a social media leader, is to drive conversions for your business (conversions = sales of your service or widget) you will find very quickly that plotting a straight line from LIKE on Facebook to SALE on your website is not as easy as it might be. And when you imagine using the Facebook advertising platform to SELL something, you might look into the results of 99.9% of the companies using Facebook Ads.  You may get a lot of “views” (impressions, eyeballs) but you are not likely to push the needle above 0.03% CTR (click-through rate). Yep, that’s correct. Most FB ads pull in the 0.005% – 0.01% range. While you’re getting a lot of impressions, there are very very very few people interested in clicking on your ad. And once they click on it, that’s the beginning of the problem. You can expect bounce rates (meaning the clicker spent less than 5 seconds on your page) to be in the 80% – 90% range. So when you do the math, you get millions of impressions, for hundreds of clicks, for about 10 actual page views. Your results may vary, slightly. But Facebook advertising has some maturing to do before small and medium businesses can gain anything from using them. Unless you’re a couponing business, then you might have hit the FB Ad sweet spot.

Little secret: The business conversations are going on inside LinkedIn. What Facebook is to social, LinkedIn is to business. Now it’s not all awesomeness, LinkedIn has it’s own problems. But you need to get a LinkedIn strategy together. Another little know secret: posting items to the Groups you belong to on LinkedIn has about a 50% higher CTR than any other free placement I’ve found. So easy on the LinkedIN ads and heavy on LinkedIN participation. They’ve also got a Q and A section, but I’ve not gotten much traction from answering or asking questions. And of course, LinkedIn is your rolodex, so treat it with respect. Don’t start spamming the groups, or contacts with your marketing information, but when you have something useful to share, LinkedIn might be the best bang for your time. And I do find that networking with LinkedIn contacts is a very effective way to reach influencers and customers. It’s not just about looking for a job, LinkedIn is the business referral network that you need to pay attention to.

So much has been hyped about Twitter that it’s hard for most people to fathom what is going on without some sort of Twitter coaching. Dell’s Factory Outlet success on Twitter is a great story, but it’s unlikely to hold many informational nuggets for your business. So what does Twitter do to enhance your social media strategy?

  1. You can do quick searches using to find out if people are mentioning your product or service.
  2. You can benchmark your Twitter mentions against your direct competitors.
  3. You can identify upcoming trends that people are beginning to tweet about before they hit your marketing team’s radar. (you might be your marketing team, and if so, Twitter can be a great tool)
  4. You can use Twitter to ask technical or social questions about anything.
  5. You can connect with a bunch of people at once.
  6. You can promote yourself and your work, as long as that is not all you do.
  7. You can learn what works for your social messaging using Twitter. If something resonates people will respond or ReTweet it to their followers.
  8. And sure, you can send out coupons and deals on Twitter like can attest.

So as part of my work, I am constantly flittering around between the four systems above. And it can feel like I’m not accomplishing much. And then along comes a customer testimonial, that hits the sweet spot and you get 500 referrals in a week, with a bounce rate in the low 40s and maybe even a conversion or two.

John McElhenney — let’s connect online
@jmacofearth & Facebook & LinkedIn & The Whole Parent

See also:

Please check out some of my books on AMAZON.

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