Social media has become an integral part of businesses of any size and in any industry. Engagement on certain platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can ultimately drive a conversion to your website. When this conversion happens, you can work your way towards business goals. Now that social media and businesses have become inseparable, you’ll need to track these conversions.

The most common way that business owners handle these dynamics is through Google Analytics. The platform allows you to efficiently track and monitor how well your social media and website are working together. You can use other analytic software, like Sprout Social, as well. Regardless of which platform you choose, the following steps can help you track social media conversions. From there, you can see what’s working, what’s not and what you can change to improve your business.

1. Get Started With the Foundation

Before you begin using Google Analytics, you’ll need to consider foundational elements first. Your web design and user-friendliness are two key factors that you should optimize before trying to track your conversions. Additionally, setting goals is essential. Once you have your goals in place, you can better understand the direction that your business needs to go in.

First, your website must be mobile-friendly. In America alone, 96% of individuals own a cell phone — and that number is increasing. Due to this widespread use of handheld phones, mobile access to social media and web browsing is growing too. You will need to meet this demand by having a mobile-friendly version of your site. Further, it will need to be simple and straightforward. If it’s confusing, you may lose a conversion. Before you can start tracking, these factors will need to be in-line.

Another factor you can plan beforehand is your goals. A popular standard to set goals is through the S.M.A.R.T. method. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. For social media conversions, your objectives could be making a sale, a subscription, an app download or a website visit. What you choose as your goals will ultimately be what you consider a conversion for your website.

As your social media pages direct potential customers to your site, you can see if your goals line up with your expectations. Sometimes, you’ll need to change your aims in these instances. For example, if subscriptions are increasing but not sales, you should figure out why that is and reevaluate.

2. Create a Google Analytics Account

After you optimize your web design, user interface and mobile site, your goals influence this next step. Since Google Analytics is the most popular option for tracking conversions, you should create an account. If you already have one, this step is still important for you since you can update your dashboard to fit your new plans.

If you are new to Google Analytics, you can follow the step-by-step tutorial for getting started. The process is simple — you’ll need to make an account, set up the “property” for your site, add a reporting view for this new “property” and then add a tracking code to your site. This code allows Google Analytics to gather all the information you need. It’s the reason you can track social media conversions.

Then, familiarize yourself with your dashboard. You can find it on the left menu where it says “Dashboard.” You can now create or customize your dashboard. Since tracking conversions is a crucial part of your business, choose the tools and widgets that best represent that information. For instance, the real-time geomap, timeline and table are critical for conversions. With them, you can see where visitors are in the world, how long they stay on your site and what percentage is mobile views.

As you familiarize yourself with your new Google Analytics account, these dashboard features will be the foundation for your conversion tracking. Once you’re comfortable with the basics, you can then move on to the rest of the features that help with tracking conversions.

3. Use Goal Tracking

Google Analytics abilities go beyond the dashboard. You can make your goals actionable with its tracking to boost your conversion rates from social media.

First, you should implement your objectives. Here, the first step of creating them becomes more tangible. Click on “Admin” at the top of your Google Analytics page. From there, you’ll see an option for “View,” which “Goals” should be under. Once you’re on the goals page, you can click on “New Goal.” Now, under the setup page, you can customize your goals from step one. If you want to track a sale, a page click or a subscription, you can do that.

From the menu, you can go to “Acquisition” and then click “Overview.” This page will provide you with a breakdown of how people interact with your site. Most importantly, you can see what percentage comes from social media pages. To get the best tracking, the more goals you have, the more information you’ll collect.

4. Use Custom Links and Tags

The next tools you should use for conversion tracking are custom links and tags, or Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters. These URL additions help track conversions and report back to Google Analytics with better information to see how your goals are holding up.

First, you can use Google’s custom URL builder to create free custom links. When you develop these links, you assign specific details to each URL. These work best with your campaigns. For instance, if you’re running an email campaign, you can add “email” to the URL. These UTM parameters allow Google Analytics to categorize the conversions as users come to your site.

For social media, you’ll want to be specific in the “campaign medium” field when you create your URLs. If you’d like to use the umbrella term of “social,” you can do that. However, you can get more specific to show a better breakdown of your conversions. The medium can include specific platforms or pages. Then, you can track those conversions under “Acquisition” and then “Campaigns.”

5. Use Acquisition Reports

Once you get going with your dashboard, goals and URLs, you can look at the various acquisition reports. In some steps, you’ve already worked with these reports. However, you can look into each one to find out more about your social media conversions.

The “All Traffic” report, for instance, can show you where your traffic comes from. This tab is more of a general overview, but you can apply it to your conversion data. If more traffic is coming from search engines than social media, you’ll want to investigate why. How can you bring social media conversions up to the level that your search engine optimization (SEO) is on? Tracking those conversions is the first place to start. Your acquisition reports can then show if you’re on the right track.

If you’re not on the right track, try to build more connections on social media. One thing you’ll want to understand to achieve more conversions is transparency. On social media platforms, a lot of businesses and offers blur together. When your page remains transparent with influencer marketing, you can bring a unique approach to the table. Keep your ideas fresh and clear with the consumer, and your conversions may start to increase.

The “Acquisition” reports act as your foundation for making business decisions. Once you see that something is working well, you can keep pushing in that direction. However, if an area needs work, you can improve — like with standing out more on your platforms.

6. Look for Trends

With all these tools under your belt, the last step is to look for trends. The social media world moves fast, and trends come in and out quickly. Understanding new patterns and behaviors, like demographics and usage, can influence how you approach your conversions.

For instance, if Twitter is bringing in more conversions for sales, you’ll want to understand why. There could be something in your marketing ideas that’s working well with Twitter users and trends. Similarly, you may notice that Instagram is better for your video-based marketing due to the visual and engaging nature of the platform.

As you progress through monitoring these patterns, you’ll want to watch your business trends, too — which you can do from your “Acquisition” reports. If conversions are dropping consistently, you’ll need to take action. Try another method and engage your consumer base differently. A technique for marketing on one platform may not be the best for another.

Now that you have the best tools for conversion tracking, you can use them to improve upon your business practices. The relationship between social media and your business should be mutually beneficial. As you get conversions from it, you can use your pages to give consumers a unique opportunity.

The Importance of Social Media Conversions

Social media is extremely popular. Millions of people use each platform every day to connect with friends and family, read the news and shop. As you build your presence on these platforms, you can advertise your products or services. Then, due to its vast reach, drawing people in is a necessity. Once you begin getting conversions, you’ll see that social media is not only a helpful part of business, it is now essential.

About the author

Mark Coleman

Mark Coleman is the editor at MarkupTrend. He is also a technical writer and digital marketing expert. He handles all marketing, advertisement related activities at MarkupTrend along with his team.