Protecting Your Social Media Metrics with Backup Tools
If you've begun tracking social media metrics and are enjoying the bounty of data you're now able to see, sift through, and use, you may wonder what could possibly cause depression! Easy: data loss.
Say that you have a site issue or somehow lose access to your site or data. Do you have your backup plan in place? It's best to have one from the beginning. Actually, having a multilayered backup system, just like you have a multilayered metrics system, would be even better.
Tools like Google Analytics do most of the backing up for you because they are part of the huge Google machine. Even the Google machine has issues now and then, though, such as users getting locked out of accounts or system faltering from heavy use or server issues.
You can get around this headache by using the report feature inside Google Analytics. Send each report to yourself as a .csv file via e-mail weekly or daily, and you'll always have a fairly recent copy to work from should something happen and you have to fall back ten and punt.
Every reputable service, paid or free, has some way for you to access your data offline. The best services offer spreadsheet-compatible file formats, but even a PDF can be useful in a pinch. Make sure that you find and set up the backup features in all your metrics sites.
You can also cover your bases if you have analytics on your site or blog by doing a regular backup of your site and the database behind it. Some people like to back up weekly or more often if they're on a busy server or if they change their content often. This backup also keeps a copy of your analytics code if you need to do a reinstall, as long as you remember to back up your theme and plug-ins as part of it (this is where the code is located).
Doing a backup may sound difficult, but it isn't. Tools like WordPress allow you to export to an .xml file, and there are even plug-ins and other third party solutions that automate backups if you travel a lot or forget to do this kind of task, like BackupBuddy or Backupify. All you have to do is set it and forget it.
Tools like Silentale, Backupify, and an ever-changing array of others are designed to back up social media data. You may not use all this data for analytics, but you should find a reliable backup service anyway, in case you find yourself in a situation where you have to find an old tweet or status update to handle a problem. Be sure to check the service's Terms of Service for information on how it handles privacy and data security. For the services that offer analytics on the data they back up, make sure that you set up the send report feature there as well.
What do you do with the data after you've backed it up? You can sort it into folders by date and service or site. You may want to keep one backup for each year (comprehensive) and one each month that you swap out, and one each week. You can also keep a daily folder for a few of the more active and least stable services, just in case, and a new backup before any upgrade.
Some services offer no way to back up the data in any form, using any solution. For those services, capture screenshots using Evernote's ability to save an entire webpage. You can do this anytime the data changes significantly. It's a cobbled together solution, but it still allows you to track data changes and make useful notes you can then transcribe into a spreadsheet.