Have you ever sat down and opened up Facebook with the intention of just checking out what’s going on and look up to see an hour’s blown by? It happens to the best of us, and it’s exactly what social media platforms want us to do. They want us to spend our time inside their platform and not clicking away to cool articles and videos elsewhere online, so they’ve started making it easier to consume information without ever leaving.

It’s the opposite of your goal as a business owner–you want customers to click through to your website and social media sites are clinging to your customers’ ankles like a toddler screaming not to leave. But now social media sites are getting better at keeping you on their sites longer by showing more content, creating photo editing tools within the site and adding more information to keep users engaged.

You can fight the great click through battle with a strong strategy. First, know what you want out of your social media. Whether it’s visitors to your blog or filling out a form, decide what you want the result to be and build backward from there. Second, create unique content for that particular social media site–Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all different, so use different strategies for each. Lastly, measure, measure, measure.

The analytics that social media platforms provide to users don’t show you the whole picture. It’s by design since they don’t want you pulling customers away from the site. Twitter’s been around since 2008 and just rolled out analytics to all users. How pathetic is that? So it’s up to you to find the tools that give you the most complete picture of your success.

The granddaddy of measurement tools is Google Analytics. There’s so much information, it can be difficult to weed through it all, but these three reports are good to get you started. Look at where your customers are coming from–for example, business to business clients should be looking to see if they get more leads from LinkedIn or email marketing. Knowing where your customers come from can help you spend your time and resources more wisely.

If you share a lot of links on Twitter, you need to measure how successful that is. Twitter can be a time suck, and measuring ROI can be a difficult task. Since Twitter was so late to the game with analytics reporting for users, third party companies have created reporting software to help you figure out what’s working. Using a link shortener service like Ow.ly or Bit.ly can track how many people are interacting with your tweets. You can measure new followers, retweets and clicks on that link to your content.

Going through and running reports for every single account takes time. Analyzing it and using it to fit into your goals takes even more time. Luckily, you can choose to use an aggregation service like Raven Tools to put everything into one nice and comprehensive report that will give you a good snapshot of how your accounts are doing. Their reporting options range from general to super in-depth–you want to know your top 100 keywords in Google? No problem. They offer an automated report wizard that allows you to set up a report with what you want to measure that you can have emailed to yourself monthly or weekly.

You can’t claim to be successful on social media if you don’t know what success looks like or how it translates to customers. If you want to know more, give us a call, we’re happy to audit your accounts and let you know if you’re on the right track.