social media how to

Are you winging it when it comes to your social activity?

The expression “social media ROI” gets tossed around frequently and you know it’s important.

But where do you start and how do you relate what to measure online with your overall business goals?

Here are four business goals, how social media can impact these goals and most importantly, how you can measure the impact of your social media efforts on these goals.

Determine how each goal below relates to your specific business goals and then choose which social media results are relevant to measure.

Goal #1: Raise Awareness of Your Brand

Do you want to increase your brand recognition and online influence?

It’s important to stay relevant. If customers aren’t aware of your brand and what it stands for, your business may be spinning its wheels.

When customers are aware of your brand and interact with it on different social media sites, they are more likely to recommend it to their friends by liking posts on Facebook and retweeting you on Twitter.

brand stamp

Brand awareness is a crucial first step in gaining a customer. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Here’s how to measure your brand recognition and influence online.

Klout looks at your various profiles from across the web to assess your influence. Your Klout score is a reflection of your brand’s social influence based on your activity across many social networks and ranges between 10 (low) to 100 (Bieber).


Klout is a popular tool for measuring your online influence.

Digging deeper into your score, Klout can provide further analysis, including:

  • True Reach: How many people you influence (the width of your influence)
  • Amplification: How much you influence people (the depth of your influence)
  • Network Impact: How influential your audience is (the impact of your influencers)
klout scores

Track your Klout scores over time to assess your progress.

To measure the effectiveness of your PR and branding efforts, record your Klout Score, True Reach, Amplification and Network Impact on a spreadsheet each month. Then, over time, your changes in scores will allow you to understand which efforts improve your score.

In my case, guest blogging and increasing my average daily tweet count from two to five has had the greatest positive impact on my influence score.

NOTE: It’s important to remember that Klout is simply evaluating your external social media presence. It is not a direct measurement of your revenue or success as a business. It’s an important distinction because people can get easily swept away in trying to increase these social media numbers.

Goal #2: Website Traffic

Have you wanted to drive more traffic to your site or blog?

Traffic is important to all sites, especially if you’re selling online.

While website traffic should never be the end-all, be-all goal of your website, in order to accomplish other website goals, you must have a baseline level of traffic.

If you create the most beautiful, efficient website you can, it won’t matter without traffic.

Don’t get me wrong, there many other factors that can influence conversions, but website traffic is the fuel required to even begin the race.

Besides sales opportunities, the more people you have visiting your site, the more chances people have to engage with your blog content, click your social media widgets, interact with your brand or share your site with friends and followers using your sharing buttons.


Bottom line, the more traffic to your site, the more chances you have to make money. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Here’s how to measure visits from social media traffic.

Google Analytics makes this process very simple for any website owner.

To understand traffic, use Google Analytics Social Reports, which show site data generated directly from over 400 social sites.

  • Open your Google Analytics account.
  • Select the Traffic Sources tab.
  • From the Social drop down menu, select the Overview page.
  • Record Visits and Visits via Social Referral into your spreadsheet.
google analytics report

Your Visits via Social Referral number shows the specific impact of social media on your site traffic and you can quickly see its percentage of your overall traffic by dividing by Visits.

Goal #3: Website Visitor Loyalty

Do you want to increase the amount of time spent on your site or blog?

The more time people spend on your page, the more likely they are to buy from you.

If the people visiting your page only do it once, then you’re not executing a long-term web strategy. Ideally, you want to create loyal visitors who frequent your site.

Another very important aspect of visitor loyalty is to understand on average how many visits are required for one of your visitors to convert.

A conversion could be a visitor purchasing from your site, signing up for an email newsletter or downloading an ebook.

customer loyalty

Establishing loyalty to your site will help grow your customer base. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Here’s how to measure visitor loyalty from social media.

This measurement requires a one-time setup step (Part A), but once completed it can be easily reused for future measuring (Part B).

You’ll need to create a custom segment inside Google Analytics specific to your social media traffic.

Visitor loyalty numbers will depend greatly on your site type, your readers and the content you produce. Therefore, it’s important to look at your baseline levels, set a goal and measure your trend over time.

Part A—Setup

  1. Open Google Analytics, and click into your Admin panel.
  2. Click the Advanced Segments link. Click Create + New Segment.
    advanced segments

    Create a new Advanced Segment in Google Analytics.

  1. Name this new segment “Social Media Sources.”
  2. Click the green drop down menu and select the green Source. Inside the text input box, enter the URL of one social media site, such as “”
    social media sources

    Select Source and add a URL for a social media site.

  1. Click the Add OR Statement, then click Add a Dimension, and again select Source to add another site. Repeat Step #4 to add another social media referring source such as Twitter.
    add sources

    Continue to add sources for each social network referring traffic to your site.

  1. Repeat Step #5 to add all major social media sources, such as Facebook, Twitter,, YouTube, StumbleUpon and Digg. Once these have been added to your Custom Segment, click the Save Segment button.

Part B—Measuring Loyalty

  1. From Google Analytics Standard Reporting, select the Audience tab.
  2. From the Behavior drop down menu, select the Frequency & Recency page.
  3. Click the Advanced Segments tab, check your custom Social Media Sources, and hit the Apply button.
    advance segments

    Select your Social Media Sources segment.

  1. Add the percentage of total Visits (top percent number) for the first three Count of Visits rows (3 visits or fewer) and subtract this percentage from 100% to calculate your Regulars value. Record your Regulars percentage on your spreadsheet. My goal is to increase my Regulars percentage over time.
    visit count

    Use Visit Count to calculate regular visitors from social media sources to understand the loyalty of these visitors.

Goal #4: Conversion Rates

Do you want to increase total conversions from social media?

Most business owners want to understand the direct relationship between social activities and sales.

You should know the traffic source for any important business goal and these goals should be set up in Google Analytics or your software of choice.

For most of you, the most important web goal is a visitor converting to a lead captured by entering personal information into one of your web forms. For businesses that conduct the majority of business online, these goals are the lifeblood of the organization and are key measures of success.

Even if you’re just getting started acquiring customers or leads online, you should make this measurement a primary focus of your efforts.

buy now

According to Gartner Research, by 2015 companies will generate 50% of web sales via their social presence and mobile applications. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Here’s how to measure conversions from social media.

Using the Social Reports within Google Analytics, we can understand the specific value of each social network. Of course, you need to have goals set up within Google Analytics for the conversion information to be displayed.

Do the following:

  1. Open your Google Analytics account.
  2. Select the Traffic Sources tab.
  3. From the Social drop down menu, select the Conversions page.
    social media conversions

    Google Analytics displays conversions from social traffic sources.

  1. Record Conversions and Conversion Value into your spreadsheet. Consider recording this value more often than monthly.
    total conversions conversion value

    Google Analytics shows Total Conversions and Conversion Value.


I recommend you measure your goals on a monthly basis, record these numbers in a Google spreadsheet and monitor the increases or decreases month-to-month. As a bonus, the measurements outlined here can all be done with free software.

Don’t fool yourself into believing that social media is completely free marketing. Your time is valuable, especially if you’re just starting up or you’re a small business. Unfocused efforts spent on social media can quickly become a huge time sink.

By measuring your social media impact, you ensure the best use of your time and resources.

What do you think? What social media metrics are you measuring? What questions do you have about measuring goals? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Images from iStockPhoto.
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  • Jeneitzmann

    You had said when measuring your klout to set up a spread sheet to monitor which changes positively effect that number and to update it monthly. If that is the case do you recommend implementing one change at a time or do you have a safe number like no more than 3 that way it’s easier to see which change is having the desired effect? Also is updating the spreadsheet more frequently, say weekly or bi-monthly, productive or is that not enough time to give you an accurate idea of how well your changes are working?

  • Benjamin Beck

    Hi Andrew,
    I really appreciate you finding  ways to show the value of Social Media!
    As most decisions in business are based off of ROI these tips that you showed can be used to prove the ROI of social media.

    Great job!

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  • Great questions about changes to your social medi campaigns and accurately determining the impact. 

    As for the timing, I’ve chosen a monthly time frame because it’s a good balance of the use of my time (doing vs. measuring). Certainly, social media is very immediate and you could shorten your window down to 2 weeks. However, I wouldn’t recommend trying a new approach or campaign every week; it will cause your head to spin and impede you from truly committing to one approach for a significant amount of time. 

    My preference is to pick one immediate change that I believe will have the biggest impact and then commit to that approach. You could implement two changes and deceiver (roughly) which impact was greater. I’m not talking a statistically significant approach here. 

    Any more than two changes will make it difficult to know which change is actually creating an impact or, worse, the various changes may negate one another. Pick one (maybe two) and commit for a given time frame. Then, measure the impact, adjust your strategy accordingly, and pick another change to test.

  • thank you for great information

  • Kat

    What a fantastic article ! You have a great way of conveying much needed information concerning social media. Keep up the great posts.

  • Since the Klout upgrade a few weeks ago, i think perfect score doesn’t exist anymore. Justin Bieber fell off to 91, Obama is getting closer with 99.

  • Lucy Felton Banta

    Great information, and thank you for the step-by-step diagram for the Google analytics plan!

  • Great post as always! Very helpful information as I am working on defining new social media goals right now. 

    Also – along with what @cristianmonroy:disqus said about the Klout upgrade. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to understand this new look? It seems so much of the information that used to be there has all disappeared and I don’t think the new information is as helpful. Any thoughts?

  • Cweselby

    Very helpful post and just when I needed it. Thanks!

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  • Cristian,

    You’re spot on! The Klout scoring system was upgraded recently and that has altered who’s on top. This article was completed just before that change. 

  • @facebook-1006428130:disqus ,
    Glad the info was helpful. Google Analytics gets easier and more comfortable with use, and it’s always nice to have the step-by-step guide. 

  •  @twitter-104274168:disqus ,
    The Klout changes did remove the score breakdown. In that sense, you’ll only have one Klout score to consider, which I’m bummed about. 
    But, you’ll also be able to see the specific incidences that factor into your score. I think this improvement is huge and will give you direct feedback about what you’re doing that’s making you influential online! 

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  • Namita Patel

    This is exactly what I need as I just started managing my clients’ social media. Thanks!
    The Search Marketer.

  • Thanks to the entire Social Media Examiner team! You all were very supportive and provided great feedback – it was truly a collaborative guest post. 

    Hope we can work together again soon.

  • higha

    Andrew, when I go to enter in sources, it auto-completes my typing to put in .com for facebook and also 

    In your examples above you only have the brand name, eg Facebook. Do I have to put the exact URL for each social channel, or is the brand sufficient?

  • This is a really great article with lots of really helpful information. It’s a shame that this article was finished just before Klout has updated its scoring system, which has altered the results a lot.

    Anyway, a great article, thank you for that, Andrew.

  • higha

    And another thing, are there any benchmark % of total visits for social media sources? We have a small but growing social media strategy but to date the % of total visits from social media is less than 1% – seems quite low?

  • I think conversion rate is the most important measurement we need to have.

  • Sam@Pushkar tour

    Social media has been proved like miracle in SEO technique because this is the easiest and best way to expend your business and finest way to attract too much traffic.

  • Hi Andrew,

    Yes – I do agree. “Brandification” of your business and or products is one of
    the most important goals that one should be able to measure and analyse, and be
    able to add value through social media in the process is ideal to increase your
    image and exposure online.  

  • Thanks Andrew – a succinct and valuable ‘4-goals’ approach – appreciated.

  • John

    Great stuff, Andrew! I enjoyed reading your post. It gave me that much needed insight on the social media goals I must set for my business. I’m using Kred story right now, but would be checking out Klout to see which one works better. 

    I am definitely following your advice on that monthly time frame to measure how well or how badly I did for each month. Thanks a lot!

  • @twitter-466447565:disqus ,
    Make sure that match type is set to “Containing”. Then, you only have to put in ‘Facebook’ and that will cover both ‘’, ‘’, and any other Facebook URLs that could direct traffic to your site.

    If you instead have match type set to “Exactly matching”, Google Analytics will auto-complete based on existing URLs which have sent your site traffic previously. 

    Let me know if that doesn’t help. 

  • @dfd579e829b62b6341c3d64a0741dda7:disqus ,Thanks for the kind words. We are at the mercy of the free systems we use 🙂

  • Thanks John! Glad you found it useful. 

    And don’t be too hard on yourself. While, we all hope to always improve, part of the process of tweaking can involve a dip in results. It’s all part of learning. 

  • @0041c8167525c89e517b63f92b9ce48d:disqus ,
    Agreed. For my business, the goals increase in importance as you go down the list. Each business needs to decide that individually. 

  • @twitter-466447565:disqus ,
    For me personally, social accounts for 5%-10% of overall traffic. I wouldn’t get too fixated on increasingly this one number. For instance, you could spend lots of time submitting your site to Social Reading Services (Stumbleupon, Digg, etc.) and you could greatly drive up web traffic, but with low engagement and high bounce rate. 

    Instead, if you’re % is still low, look at ways you could build it up slowly. Are you sharing your blog posts on social sites? Are you balancing being social with actively promoting the products on your site? 

    It’s great that you’re now thinking about the link between social and traffic. Use it as a guide for future activities. 

  • Great job, Andrew.  You have come a long way in these few last months.  I wish you continued success and prosperity!!

  • Andrew, 

    I enjoyed reading this well-thought article! You gave a lot of great tips for businesses which I found quite interesting. What I found most exciting, coming from a non-business owner’s perspective, is how I can also apply these tips to myself in looking to increase my social media presence. I believe I have “raised awareness of my brand” (aka myself) and done a good job increasing my Klout score lately as you have suggested. Thank you for the helpful advice!I am studying Social Media Theory & Practice with @DR4WARD:twitter at @NewhouseSU:twitter . I have subscribed to your blog through my Google Reader and have been following along with your sites interesting and useful posts. Thank you again!#NewhouseSM4 

  • The info on Google Analytics is really helpful as a measurement, thanks!

  • and remember when you are setting your goals make sure they are measurable objectives not general, broad ones….

  • Hezi Hershkovitz

    Thanks for this effective ways in doing social media approach for businesses. It is really essential to know first and educate ourselves about the product that we are getting into, rather than just calculating whether the product is known online or not. How can we promote the product well, if we don’t know anything about it does popularity will help the promotion?

    Well, just a two cents…

  • A great article, well written and happy to share with my followers! Thanks Andrew

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  • M Louise

    I’m new to using Klout.  I set up an account but it’s just giving me my personal stats.  How do I link it to my business pages to get those Klout scores and see which pages are best performing?

  • @cbb9ccab6444aa5e9fe14cf49bef6f90:disqus ,
    You should create separate Klout accounts if your going to measure your personal influence and your brand influence. For example, I have one for me ( and one for my brand Face The Buzz ( 

    Once you’ve setup your accounts, go to the and select “Settings” page. From there you can choose if the account is for your individual influencer or brand influencer. You can only connect your Facebook pages to one Klout account. 

  • Rohit Seth

    Its a great post. Really nice to read it. The kind of information provided here is undoubtedly wonderful and worth readable. keep sharing.

  • In all the months that I’ve been reading this blog, I think this post rises to the top for usefulness, timeliness, and just plain answering some nagging questions. Thanks so much!

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  • Thanks @9931fdbe61a8421bc0eca345fc3a0c97:disqus . The Social Media Examiner team was very helpful and credit should be given when it’s due. 

    If you like my content, please feel free to check out my other posts you may find useful

  • Great information, Thanks

  • Matt Coffy

    Fantastic article you’ve put together, Andrew. Planning strategies require actions and tools that are actually effective in monitoring and measuring your marketing efforts. And with your shared insights and tools here, I’m definitely going to try to experiment and see which ones are fit for my goals. Thanks!

  • I didn’t know about Klout!  The True Reach and Amplification measurements should be extremely helpful in assessing my social media marketing efforts.  Website visitor loyalty is something I need to work on as I have a high bounce rate.  I’m going to create the custom segment to get a handle my traffic. Great information Andrew! thank you.

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  • You had me at bacon Sharon. lol Seriously though, I just read the article on and then moved to their YouTube channel and from there to my Facebook page to talk about it. Half an hour later I have two down and 23 to go… this night take a minute, lol Nice list 🙂

  • It’s all about social media that there are most famous social networking utility that has quite frankly captured the world’s fancy to the point of addiction. Very informative post here Andrew. Thanks:)

  • Great post Andrew.  I
    think it is important for organisations to measure website traffic and loyalty,
    and more importantly have the ability to see the relationship between social
    media marketing and sales.  The tips you
    shared on how to set up Google Analytics for these measures are very
    useful.  Thanks!

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  • Since Klout has changed its ways… where do you suggest we get figures for total reach, amplification, impact? Free or not. I think those are very helpful figures to track.

  • Kred is a tool similar to Klout, that gives you Total Influence Points, Outreach Level, and Influence (out of 1,000). It is a different scale that Klout, but is a starting point. 

    Also, Peer Index offers an Influence scoring system that you could also try. It’s numbers are integrated directly into SocialBro, if you use that system.

    Good luck!

  • Courtney Tyler

    Hey question for the group.  If I am setting up the segments for this within my analytics do I put the link specific to my facebook for that page or just type in “”as my source?

  • @d7ec143bd94ef008417befc0b526808a:disqus – Just use the generic URL for your source, that way you capture all traffic and not those originating from your Facebook Page. For example, if you post something to your website and reader clicks on that link from the News Feed within Facebook, the generic source will capture this traffic. 

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  • Hey Andrew K Kirk, I really loved your post it’s just mind blowing. Basically I am looking for advanced analytic technique to use & my just land on your this post. I really liked the way you explain & you did a great job. I would like to implement on my site as well.

    Really great information.
    Thanks for sharing

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  • Mallory Tippet

    Thanks heaps for the guides! Part B, measuring loyalty.. i have set this up by following your guide but don’t have the same dashboard as you. i only have count of session, sessions and page views (not in percentage) why is this?

  • @mallorytippet:disqus ,
    I no longer see the percentages as well. I assume this was a change with Google Analytics.
    I would suggest you put the Sessions / Pageviews numbers directly in Excel and calculate the percentages inside that spreadsheet. Best of luck!