Social Media Analytics And Why Numbers are Important to Writers

When you reach certain milestones on Facebook fan pages and other sites, you gain access to analytics, insights, and other metrics. Your website should also have this information. Even if you are not a numbers geek, this data is valuable to you. It shows progress and gaps in your marketing efforts.

While you shouldn't fixate on numbers, followers, retweets, and likes, you should use them as a measure of the post you're creating. Writers also need to remember the social part of social media. You need to build relationships and followers by interacting with each other. If you only use these sites to dump announcements about your reviews and sale items, you're not going to be that successful.

Facebook and Twitter offer a lot of good information. You can see things like which day you get the most traffic. Target those days for posting new material. You can also see which posts get shared or commented on the most. This can help you figure out what type of content works for you. Facebook gives you a lot of information, including the age group/ demographics of your audience. Twitter tells you your reach for the week. You can see which tweets get the most action, and how many lead to link clicks. You should use Twitter and other sites to drive traffic to your blog or website.

If you boosted a post or ran an ad campaign, you can see the results. This can help you decide which types of posts to pay for next time.

Your website should also have metrics you can use to track visitor patterns and what types of content are most popular. I use Bitly to shorten my blog URLs for posting on social media. It has an analytics page that lets me know how many people have clicked on that link and on what days. My website visits were up and down until I committed to post a weekly blog and post links to it on Google+ and Twitter. My Google+ numbers aren't as high as my Twitter ones, but they do help me with my placement in Google searches (SEO).

The charts, graphs, and information can be overwhelming. Start with one item like your reach or the key days of the week. If you need help, Facebook and Google have good help files that explain what the numbers and different charts mean.

All of this information should help you decide what's working for you. If you're scheduling tweets, and you're not getting a lot of retweets, replies, or favorites, then you probably need to look at the content, frequency, and timing of what you do. You're doing a lot of work for not much reward. Also know that if others looks at your recent tweets, they can see the action or inaction too. Mix it up and see if your numbers improve. Make sure to add a couple of relevant hashtags to get the attention of interested readers.

Also note that Facebook changes its algorithms frequently, and this affects what your friends and fans see. I wouldn't depend on it as my only marketing method. To date, I haven't paid to boost any posts, but I'm working on a marketing campaign for my first solo mystery for next spring. I'll let you know how that goes.

Finally, there are way too many social media sites to have an active presence on each. Pick what your readers like and focus your time there. Don't let it overwhelm you. Make small changes and see if your numbers improve.

Happy marketing! And let's connect so we can build our reaches and resources. 




How to Use Facebook's "Interests" to Build Specialized Lists

I manage a number of Facebook pages for several groups. I use Facebook's "Interests" functionality to create lists of sites that I want to see in a newsfeed. This gives me one place to go to see what these sites have posted recently in case I want to share pictures or information. I set up one for my writers' group, so that we can promote each other's writing.

To Create a Specialized List

1. Open your personal Facebook page. Click the Home link at the top.

2. Look at the pane on the far left. Scroll down (under "Pages."  Click the Interests link. Then click More.

3. When the Interest page appears, click Add Interests.

4. When the Add Interest page appears, click Create Link.

5. When the Create New List page appears, click Pages (on the left).

6. Search for the people/pages that you want to add.

7. Click on the name/image to select the person or page. A blue check appears.

8. When you are done, click Next. You can always add or delete from your list later.

9. When the Create New List page appears, name your list. Then select who can see it (Public, Your Friends, Only Me).

10. Click Done.

11. Your list will appear on your Home page in the left panel under "Interests."

To Edit Your List

1. Click on the name of your list (on the Home page under Interest).

2. Click the Manage List button (far right under your banner). The options drop-down appears.

3. Click Edit List. You can add members by clicking the "On this List" drop-down and selecting Pages. Search and add new entries.

4. To remove an entry, click on it. When the "X" appears on the image, click it.

5. Click Finish to save your changes.


When you click on your list to see the newsfeed, you'll notice that the banner page at the top of the screen rotates among the banners of the pages in your Interest List. You can't change this.

If you are sharing content from someone's personal page (one where you've Friended the person instead of Liked), you need to know that not everyone will be able to see it. This is based on the security settings on the person's page.

After you have built your list, the suggestions for other pages to include will pop up on the right of your screen. If you want to add a suggestion, just click on it.

I made a News list from all our local TV stations and newspapers. I can click this if I want to see the latest news stories.