There are a number of social media analytics platforms that tally tweets, retweets, mentions, hashtags—the works. And certainly there are cases in which these measures can be helpful, but they’re no proxy for true audience engagement. They’re surface-level metrics, and they don’t tell you the whole story. As a social media editor, you need to clearly understand how your off-site social activity is contributing to the development of your site’s loyal audience.
A social media manager’s work isn’t just about getting visitors to an article for a quick hit. No sir. It’s more important than that. You want those visitors to stick around and actually engage with your content. That means reading and scrolling down the page, writing a comment, watching a video—showing any sign that they’re tuned in and paying attention. You need to know where folks are spending time, and once they’re finished reading, where they go next.
Here are five questions social media editors can answer with Chartbeat Publishing. (If you’d like to play along, you can check out our demo of the Chartbeat Publishing Dashboard.)
1. Which Social Networks Are Working Best For Me?
With a splintering social web, it can be tough knowing where to spend your time and effort. Social media managers have a bunch of platforms to pick from. Of course, there are the old standbys—e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Then there’s the expanding stable of junior networks: Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.. So, what’s the best channel for your team? Where are you engaging your audience and which channels send visitors who will return?
To help you meet your audience where they are, Chartbeat Publishing breaks down your top-ten social referrers by traffic volume. Because our technology checks in with every one of your visitors every second of the day—yep!—we can tell you which social referrers are sending the most traffic to your website right now. Better yet, we can tell you about the quality of visitors: the percentage from any given referrer that are actually coming back.
2. What Content is Resonating With my Social Audience?
Every article is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your audience. But the hard truth is that not every article, gallery, or video is going to be primed for success. There will always be content that flourishes, and then, of course, other content that flounders—for whatever reason. The point is, if you’re a social media editor, you need to know what’s working. The content that resonates will lead to return visits, and eventually, brand affinity.
Chartbeat Publishing gives you a real-time view of your top social pages. If a particular piece of content is gaining strong traction on Facebook or Twitter, or experiencing a huge surge of traffic from Digg or Reddit, you can see the real-time percentage of traffic coming through that social referrer. That might inform your decision to double down on promoting one article over another article, or guide you toward a more effective cross-platform promotion strategy.
3. Which Tweets are Actually Driving Traffic to My Website?
In a flurry of conversation, it can be tough separating the signal from the noise. Social media managers know that not every single tweet makes a splash, so Chartbeat Publishing shows you the ones that do—the tweets that are provoking meaningful conversations, the tweets that are driving folks to your site, the tweets that are helping you build a loyal following. Knowing where to focus and with whom to engage can make you smarter and more effective.
Chartbeat Publishing helps you figure out not just who’s worth retweeting, replying to, or following, but also how your content is actually resonating with your followers. Is there an angle to the story that you missed but readers are picking up on? Can your editorial team seize an opportunity to add new information to the article or write a follow-up? Could you tweak the headline to make it more engaging, or even change the next tweet’s format or language?
4. Am I Contributing to the Development of Our Audience?
You want to know that the work you’re doing every day is making a difference—helping your organization grow its followership and nurturing your followers’ brand affinity. You want to know: What’s the contribution of social traffic relative to your website’s overall traffic? Is your website’s percentage of social traffic increasing over time? And more specifically, which tweets in the past week or month have had the largest impact on your website’s traffic?
Pivoting on social traffic will give you a bird’s-eye view of the size of your social audience—not just for today, but also for the past 7 days and up to the past 30 days. By being able to take a couple steps back, you can more clearly see the day-by-day growth of your audience in the context of the specific tweets and interactions that were actually helping to drive big spikes. You can finally prove that off-site social activity is growing your on-site audience.
5. How Can I Understand My Social Audience’s Behavior?
Perhaps the most powerful tool for social media managers is the ability to pair ‘social’ as a traffic source with just about any other element of the dashboard. That can provide much-needed insight into the actual behaviors of various audience segments. For example, you could drill into visitors coming from Facebook who are coming to your website for the first time in 30 days. Or, maybe you want to know what your loyal Twitter visitors are reading.
Alternatively, you could even dissect your social audience according to the devices they’re using. Try double-pivoting on ‘social’ and ‘mobile’ to see what this segment is consuming. Heck, take it a step further: Try pivoting on ‘social’ and ‘mobile’ and add ‘Chicago’ to the mix, which puts the magnifying glass on visitors who are arriving at your site from a social source, using a phone or tablet, and living in the city of Chicago. There are a bazillion ways to dig in.
Want to talk more about your social media strategy and goals? We’d love to chat with you.