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How to Track Social Media Metrics Data with a Spreadsheet

Using a spreadsheet is the best way to keep track of all the analytics data that will roll in after you start using basic social media metrics and third-party tools. To track your social media goals, you need to sort through and understand the analytics data.

The simplest way to begin is to create a spreadsheet to track each goal you have. That way, you can track your successes and make use of data-sorting, web-saving, and annotating tools like Evernote and other tools like it to start sorting your incoming feeds. Use your browser bookmarks and folders to keep online tools straight.

When choosing between a document (which most folks are familiar and comfortable with) and a spreadsheet for tracking your goals, go with a spreadsheet. Some people already use them extensively, and that's great! For those of you who don't use them yet because they seem too "math-y" or because you think you might not "do it right," it's high time you got comfortable with them. Using your goals is a good start.

To get started tracking your goals in spreadsheets, follow these steps:

  1. Title the spreadsheet with your goal or objective for your social interaction for the coming week.

  2. Make a column for each of the sites you want to engage (Twitter, Facebook, and so on).

  3. Go to the various services and start keying in your goal as the metric to track.

    For these steps here, assume that brand awareness is your goal. Brand awareness is your brand's online presence, and its general level of client, peer, and fan engagement are the metrics you track.

  4. Do your vanity search and plug the response you get into your spreadsheet.

    Make sure that you keep track of the dates you do this search. If you haven't ever tracked the results of any of these services, you're creating your baseline. Dating the results, or creating a new spreadsheet tab for each week, helps you compare the metrics in a simple way across time. If you're handy with Excel or Google Spreadsheet formulas, you can pull your data into graphs and pivot tables as you go, creating dynamic results tracking.

  5. Choose another platform, such as Twitter, and do some metrics hunting for your brand and handle using the search feature and other tools specific to those sites or platforms.

  6. Track the results in your spreadsheet for each platform.

    How engaged are the people in your network? Are they ignoring you or talking to you and sharing or interacting with you online?

    For purposes of your baseline, for each service, track the number of your followers, subscribers, friends, circlers, or fans, along with the number of people you follow, fan, subscribe to, or circle. Record these values in your spreadsheet.

    Although this metric is the least important overall in terms of depth of information, it does provide a quick way to gauge brand growth over time.

    Congratulations! You've just made your first basic metrics tracking spreadsheet.

As you get better at tracking metrics, you'll find that you'll leave behind many of these simple metrics services in favor of automating your spreadsheets using more advanced tools. Starting here, however, gives you the practice you need to successfully fine-tune your results and understand what you're seeing.

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