Auditing Your New Blog: 6 Things Social Data Can Tell You
Whether you’ve hired the best UX designer in town, carefully laid out your page architecture and first month of content, or plan on jumping in and tailoring content according to audience reaction, one thing’s for certain: social media (along with SEO) is your new best friend.
A company blog can be a great driver of meaningful traffic, potential customers, and buzz about your brand or product. Social media can help people find your site, and, more importantly, help the right people find your site. Since it’s hard to erase a first impression, the first two weeks of your blog’s existence are extremely vital to how you’re perceived as a brand and/or news source, so ensure you’re making the most of that time and gathering as much data as you can on customer engagement.
So how do you know if you’ve gotten off on the right foot? Are there ways you should change your focus? Follow these steps to audit your performance and develop a great blog strategy (hint: these tips work for established blogs as well):
Which of my new posts is working best? Which aren’t up to snuff?
It’s hard to pinpoint where people are spending the most time on your site, or why they’re not taking you up on a carefully planned CTA. By looking at data on the number of entrances to your landing pages and the bounce rate for those entrances over your site’s first two weeks, you can quickly determine what’s working and what isn’t—then build a strategy that keeps readers around longer and has them clicking where you want them to, whether it’s a trial offer or a premium post. You might be so surprised by where customers spend the most time that you decide to change direction completely or branch out in a direction you never envisioned to fill a previously undervalued customer “want.”
Which content is performing the best?
It’s important to hit the ground running in your blog’s early moments, so getting daily traffic details and social sharing stats is a must-have as you publish and improve your content.
By knowing which post got the most views, which post people spent the most time on, and which post was shared the most on social, you’ll obtain a full-spectrum view of your blog’s successes and failures, while also determining how to increase each of these metrics, like the time spent on each post—do you need to make your posts longer? Include more enriched content? Incorporate a slide show? What do your most successful posts have in common? What do your least successful posts have in common? Your ability to adapt and make confident decisions gets stronger with this type of data on hand.
What can I do on Twitter to drive people to my site?
Most successful blogs begin with a strong social media presence, allowing these two channels to feed off one another. Let’s take, for example, this sequence of Tweets from birchbox, a subscription service for beauty, grooming, and lifestyle products.
birchbox has a robust Twitter presence that uses engagement tools like partnering with beauty brands and live chats with followers to direct traffic towards its blog and thus its CTA—to purchase a monthly subscription. This is evident in the sequence of Tweets shown above. First birchbox builds hype for its live chat, providing a little more information about the chat with each Tweet. Then it links to a product followers are eligible to win if they take action, and, finally, birchbox Tweets a link to a relevant post on their blog. Think of it this way:
Fostering interest for a particular topic or product on Twitter=the movie trailer.
Your terrific, in-depth blog post=the movie.
A good way to figure out if your Twitter strategy is actually doing what it’s supposed to—drive traffic to your blog—is to look at a Twitter Activity Funnel, which shows you how potential impressions and reach translate to actual site visits, among other things. Make those first two weeks count by ensuring your Twitter presence is tight as you go along.
Speaking of social media—should I be focusing most of my efforts on Facebook, Twitter, both? Which social channel is most effective for my blog?
In your Social Traffic report, you should be able to quickly see and understand which social media channels the majority of your site visits are coming from.
Getting a snapshot like this gives you a good idea of where you’re strong, where you need to bulk up, and where you should give up in order to direct your energies somewhere they’ll actually see results. The Social Media Overview in this report goes a little deeper by showing the average time a visitor spends on your site, which is a worthwhile way of benchmarking your social media presence and blog progress in the first two weeks you’re up and running.
How do I gauge my blog’s strengths (so I can double down on them) and weaknesses (so I can fix them) ASAP?
In your first two weeks, the diagnosis is the cure. Find out whether you’re weakest in Organic Search (someone Googles a topic and your post come up under results), Social, Referral (someone clicks a link on another site to get to yours), Direct (someone types in your URL to their toolbar to get to your site), and Paid (advertising)—then choose a day to devote to each weakest link, either bulking up on content for SEO optimization, improving social media presence, partnering with other blogs for referral gold, or investing more (or more wisely) in paid advertising.
OK, one last question: What are “influencers”? And who are mine?
An influencer is a key individual who has a substantial effect on potential buyers. He or she has a lot of followers on social media, and they pay close attention to his or her activity.
By identifying the influencers who are relevant to your blog—anyone from celebrities to mommy bloggers to respected businesspeople—you learn who to start trying to influence yourself and what your target audience looks like. Sometimes all it takes are a few Retweets and/or endorsements from celebrated figures in your field for your venture to take off.
Simply Measured’s full suite of Google-Analytics enabled social content reports allow you to get a comprehensive view of how your blog and your social content interact. For a free trial of Simply Measured, click the link below.
I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.