We recently posted a series on How to Evaluate the Success of a Blog, and we've talked about how important social networking is to the success of a blog. But how do you know if your social networking efforts are effective? Following are a few quick and easy ways to track social networking success.
Hits and Traffic
If you are posting links to your social networking sites, you may be interested to know how many people are clicking on those links. If the links are to your own blog or website, your stats software will let you know how many hits came from each social network (Twitter, Facebook, etc..). Also if you are using a url shortener, like bit.ly, you can track the hits on your link by cutting/pasting the link into your browser, and adding the "+" sign (e.g.: http://bit.ly/example+).
Growing your network within the social networking sites is also a good way to track progress. On Twitter, you have followers, and you can follow people. It's usually a good idea to keep your number of followers fairly close to the number of people you are following. If those two numbers get out of balance, you'll either be viewed as a snob or a spammer. On Facebook and Linked-IN, you make "friends" on your personal profile - these are supposed to be people you either actually know, or with whom you have mutual friends or networking goals. On the Facebook Fan and Groups pages, you accumulate members and fans. It is not expected that you "follow back," on these.
It is often that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If people repeat what you have shared on a social network - either by "Retweeting," on Twitter, or "Sharing," on Facebook, this is good. We discussed how to track Retweets earlier this week. While there is currently no way to track precisely how many times an item is re-shared on Facebook, you will often see the re-shares in your newsfeed.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.