In March, HootSuite announced their release of Social Analytics which combines the power of HootSuite’s ow.ly statistics with Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and more. This means that with a HootSuite Pro account users have the ability to use a very powerful Google Analytics integration which will show how social media visitors converted. To take advantage of these new features follow these simple steps.
#1 Add Google Analytics to Your Website
To start you will need to add Google analytics to your website. First, go to the Google Analytics home page and create an account. The next step is to add the tracking code to your website. These instructions (may be helpful. If you have a WordPress website there are several plug ins that can automate this process for you.
- Step A: Create a Google Analytics Account
- Step B: Add the Tracking Code to Your Site
#2 Add Goals and Funnels to Google Analytics
Next, you need to tell Google Analytics where your conversion pages are. This will enable you to track how many people “convert” through social media channels as well as other advertising channels. Google analytics allows you to define up to 10 pages that lead to a goal conversion. These are called “funnels”. This will allow you to track through an entire conversion process and will help you identify where people fall off so you can work to optimize the process later. This post provides instructions for setting up goals and funnels. One tricky part is that you need to actually click on edit from the Google Analytics home screen to set up your goals, if you are in the reporting dashboard the option isn’t there.
You should think through how you will set up your funnels so you can ensure you have the appropriate steps defined in your conversion process. For example, if you have a lead generation form on a landing page here is an image of how you would set up your funnel. The last step is the thank you page which represents the actual conversion because you can’t get to the thank you page without finishing the process.
#3 Integrate Google Analytics with HootSuite
Now, we need to integrate your Google Analytics account with HootSuite so you can start tracking your social media campaigns. To get started open your HootSuite account. Slide your mouse to the left of your screen to activate the launch bar.
- Step A: Click on Analytics
- Step B: Click on Quick Analytics
- Step C: Click on Google Analytics
- Step D: Select Add Google Profile
#4: Start Adding Campaign Tracking to URLS
So now you have the integrations set up and it is time to start putting them to work. The next step is one of my favorite HootSuite features and too many people don’t realize it exists. I call it the “Golden Egg” of Hootsuite. Every time you shorten a URL to your website you have the ability to add 3 campaign parameters that track all the way through your Google Analytics reports. The trick is to click on the little round gear next to your url in the shortener pane to reveal the advanced tab.
- Step A: Type your status update
- Step B: Put in your link
- Step C: Click on the gear to the left of the shrink button
- Step D: Select Google Analytics under “Add customer URL parameters”
- Step E: Add your three campaign parameters
Y0u will need to create a system for how you use the three parameters. One system that has been effective for my clients is:
- Source = Social Media Channel, i.e. Twitter, Facebook
- Medium = Social Media Account (if the client has multiple accounts) or Content Type i.e. status update, photo, video etc.
- Campaign = the campaign name
A word of caution on campaign naming, make sure it will tell you what actually worked. If you use “Spring Promo” as your campaign it is hard to tell which part of the spring promotion worked. I recommend that you create a database and number status updates so that we could tell exactly which update worked the best. It is your choice on how detailed you want to be, but the more defined your campaign name is the more you will be able to tell from your data. If you don’t want detailed campaign data, but just want to know a conversion came from social you can set this up once and click on the “Always apply when creating shortened links.”
#5: Monitor your Results
You can set up basic reports right within the HootSuite interface to provide an overview of how your social channels are comparing to website traffic. But to get to the real heart of the data, it is best to login to Google Analytics.
- Step A: Log in to Google Analytics
- Step B: Click on your website link to view your reports
- Step C: Click on traffic sources
- Step D: Click on Campaigns
From here you will be able to see which campaigns drive traffic to your site and which are converting. This will allow you to optimize your efforts based upon what you see delivering. Now, you can also start testing multiple approaches and tracking the results as well.
While it may take a few steps to get there, this type of reporting will allow you to continually improve your results and provide benchmarks for future efforts. And the best part is that it’s almost free! Google analytics is free, but to enable the campaign tracking you will need to upgrade to a HootSuite Pro account. But at as low as $5.99 a month it is the least expensive option I’ve been able to find that provides real data that helps to drive better decisions. At this price point it is a great option even for small business owners.
How are you measuring your results? Did you know that HootSuite enables campaign tracking within Google Analytics? What tips do you have for measuring social media success?
Learn more at the Social Media Examiner Small Business Success Summit
*Disclaimer: Nichole Kelly is an avid HootSuite user who has collaborated with HootSuite on multiple projects to help their users better understand social media measurement including a white paper series. HootSuite provides Nichole with a free HootSuite Pro account for content development purposes. Nichole has not received any other compensation from HootSuite or Google.