Following Best Practices May Not be Right For You

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By: Eden Hensley; Photos by: Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

Infographics with the best times to share on social media and the worst times to share on social media are everywhere. They’re eye catching. But they can be overwhelming and they can actually hurt your engagement.

We all want more engaged traffic. Visitors who at the end of the day are going to buy from us or want to collaborate with us. But, who has enough hours in the day to be everywhere online? And that’s why we’re drawn to best practices that simplify when to promote and where to promote.

Google Analytics or the analytics that your site's host provides are the key to avoiding becoming overwhelmed. Here's what to look for and consider when making a choice about which social media platform(s) to focus on.

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Look at the Analytics for Your Site.

Before you start making big changes, look at your analytics. If you haven’t installed Google Analytics, look into doing it now. The statistics you get with your hosting provider are not as reliable and are not always stored forever. With some platforms, you’ll only have detailed information for the last thirty (30) days.

You’ll want to go to the view that shows Referrers (Social under Acquisition on Google Analytics). Referrers are sites or social media platforms that send visitors to you. Change the time period to either a week or a month depending on how much traffic you’re seeing. From this view you’ll see which social media platforms are working for you.

Look for Twitter or t.co (Twitter’s URL shortener), Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram (a measure of who is clicking through your profile link or someone else’s Instagram profile, if they link to you).

Determine which Platform Drives Traffic.

At the top of the Referrers page (Squarespace) or in the table on the Social Network Referrals page in Google Analytics you’ll see how much traffic each social media platform is responsible for. 47% of social media traffic for The Road to The Good Life is generated by Facebook, followed by Pinterest at 13.16%, and Twitter at 2.63%.

Prioritize the Platform to Focus On.

Based on my traffic, I can choose to prioritize Facebook—where the majority of social traffic is coming from today or Pinterest. My choice depends on the type of content I’m producing and whether or not the photography and graphics are optimized for one platform over the other. For me, I’ll need to do a lot more work upfront before I can improve referrals from Pinterest, so I’d focus on Facebook.

Get Insights for Your Chosen Platform.

Each platform has analytics that tell you what is and isn’t working for your social media presence. Tomorrow guest poster Bethany of Twenty Something Plus will talk about how to use Iconosquare for optimizing your Instagram presence. Friday we’ll round up the various tools others are using for Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

Prefer to chat live about social media and analytics? Join us for Finding a Social Media Approach that Works for You on Alt Chat today August 12, 2015 at 9AM PDT/12PM EDT. We’ll chat about different social media strategies and what is and isn’t working. We’ll be talking more about how to determine where you should be spending your time.

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Eden Hensley

Marketing creative, community engagement specialist, technophile, photographer, food and wine enthusiast, and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Road to The Good Life, a lifestyle blog about appreciating and enhancing your life by being grateful for the "haves" instead of lingering on the "wants." There you will find personal stories about my life and family weaved in with real-life, achievable entertaining tips, recipes for hearty home cooked meals, and DIY projects for capturing and sharing memories. I believe the best place to swap stories is over a shared meal, preferably a Thai-meal served family style, and teach an online introduction class to Thai Flavors and host the Family Dinners at The Station supper club in San Francisco.