Tracking social shares is the one of the cornerstones of a successful social media campaign. Monitoring who shares your content online will help you determine who talks about your brand and which social media platform your audience chooses. This knowledge will help you raise brand awareness, promote a new product, or target a brand new audience. Tracking social media shares will help you improve your social media campaigns and meet your marketing ROI goals.
Tracking social shares is also a robust method to assess the results of your social media campaign.
Did it bring the desired results? Who and where shared your posts? Did your posts reach the desired audience?
Tracking social shares will answer all those questions and will help you adjust it to bring better results in the future.
Here’s what’s ahead of us:
Let’s dive in!
Why should you track social shares?
Let’s establish the basics right away — why should you track social shares in the first place?
There are a few reasons.
First, it will help measure the results of your hashtag campaigns. You’ll be able to see who and where shares your posts, and, thanks to some extra analytics tools, determine the social media reach or the total number of interactions.
Secondly, it will help you spot user-generated content. Tracking social shares will help you run social media competition and spot user-generated content.
Thirdly, you will be able to see how your content spreads across different social media channels. Who is sharing it? What is the sentiment of the posts? Which social platforms are the most popular?
The answers to these questions will help you determine how your social media posts resonate with your audience and where should you focus your online activities.
How do you track social shares?
Tracking social shares is not a complicated task. A little help from a media monitoring tool will do the trick!
I recommend Brand24 because it’s a very robust yet affordable media monitoring tool.
And not according to us but according to Buffer!
Does media monitoring sound interesting? Give it a spin!
Choose a hashtag for your campaign
Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of media monitoring, let’s do some creative work.
Tracking social shares becomes much easier once you come up with a dedicated hashtag for every social media campaign and ask your followers to share the hashtag.
The trick is to choose the right hashtag for your campaign.
For everyday activities, you should go with the name of your company or a specific product you want to promote.
Moreover, by using the company’s name, you’ll make sure your target audience gets acquainted with the name of your brand.
This will improve your brand recall.
This tactic will work best for measuring general brand awareness, preventing social media crisis, or monitoring your customers’ queries.
For specific campaigns, you should come up with a campaign-specific hashtag.
That’s a hashtag you’ll monitor only during the period of one campaign.
A classic example of a campaign-specific hashtag is #ShareACoke. The campaign generated a massive amount of user-generated content, promoting the soft drink. To this day, #shareacoke is used on different social media channels.
Create a social shares tracking project
Every media monitoring plan starts with creating a project.
In the project creation wizard, choose the type of monitoring.
In our case, we should go for Topic/hashtag monitoring.
In the next step, enter the hashtags you want to track.
I recommend setting up separate projects – one for your general hashtag project, and second for the campaign-specific hashtags.
You’re almost done, there are just two tiny steps ahead of you!
You can add extra sources you’d like to monitor to your project. In our case, the most important additional source is Facebook fan page.
And finally, you can choose the language you’d like to monitor.
I know the process involves some effort. It was designed this way to minimise the number of SPAM results in your dashboard.
From that moment, the tool will start to collect publicly available mentions containing your keyword.
In general, media monitoring tools don’t collect historical mentions.
Take a look at advanced analytics
Brand24 collects all the mentions and displays them in a neat dashboard.
You can analyse:
- which social media platform generated the biggest buzz
- what’s the sentiment around your brand or product
- whether there are any spikes in the number of online mentions
Moreover, you can filter the results by author, domain, location, or date. Save the filters you need to apply them in the future.
But there’s more!
Brand24 also offers robust social media analytics options.
To get the most out of your media monitoring project, take a look at the Analysis tab. You’ll find a lot of insightful data there that you could use to improve your social media campaigns.
What should you take a closer look at?
Let’s start with estimated social media reach.
ESMR will help you determine how many people could have seen your hashtagged content. The more people see your posts, the bigger your brand awareness.
Another social media metric you should analyse are the interactions.
The main aim of being active on social media is to engage your audience. You can measure the engagement levels by monitoring the number of shares, likes, and comments.
The more engagement your content generates, the more people could see your posts; that’s how social media algorithms work.
In the world of social media, not only the number of shares is essential.
You should also take a look at the social media sentiment.
A high estimated social media reach and prevailing negative sentiment is a beacon of a social media crisis.
That’s why you should track social shares together with the sentiment.
React to social shares
Tracking social media shares allows you to react swiftly to all mentions about your brand, even if they appear outside your earned media.
Being social on social media can score you some extra points with your audience.
Thanking for the positive messages and acknowledging the negative ones will help you establish your online presence and could set you up as an industry leader.
The benefits of tracking social shares
Hopefully, you can now see that tracking your social shares can be as easy as pie.
Tracking social shares has multiple applications when it comes to social media marketing. It will:
- give you insights into how your content spreads across the web
- indicate what type of content resonates best with your target audience, both in terms of social media engagement and sentiment
- help you measure the results of your social media campaigns
- give you the possibility to react swiftly to mentions about your brand that appear beyond your earned social media channels
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