Social Media Marketing Tracking: Tagging Links to Your Domain

Social media has entered the realm of marketing, and, as all good marketers know, tracking is key to success. With this in mind, and in response to the great feedback we’ve received from our social media tracking webinar, here’s a quick and easy way for you to track your social media activities, using Google Analytics, Google Reader, URL shorteners and bit.ly.

This post hones in on how to track links back to your domain from within social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, using Google Analytics and a URL shortener, i.e. TinyURL – two tools that you can easily leverage on your own, in four easy steps.

Here are the four steps to tagging links in Google Analytics. Let’s use Nowspeed and Twitter for this example:

  1. Identify the link you’re using in the Tweet. Let’s use www.Nowspeed.com.
  2. Add parameters to that link. Google Analytics uses ‘parameters’ to send the data into analytics as a referring source. You only need to use 3, and you can use them however you choose. Here’s how I use them for Nowspeed:
    1. Source- this is the site that you are advertising with. For example, ‘Google’ if it’s an AdWords program, ‘eNewsletter’ if it’s an email program, or, as in this case, Twitter.
    2. Medium- this can be used to describe the link. For www.Nowspeed.com we might say ‘home page.’ For a link back to an SEO white paper we could say ‘SEO white paper’ or ‘SEOPaper.’ As long as you’ll be able to identify the link based on this description, then that’s all that matters!
    3. Campaign- We use ‘Nowspeed’ for Twitter since that is our handle. If this were LinkedIn, we would use the name of the group, Nowspeed Network. If this were an email program, we would use the topic of the email, such as ‘SMM Tracking Webinar,’ etc.
  3. Then you take all three of these parameters and add them to the link:
    1. At the end of your URL, copy and paste this: ?utm_source=XXX&utm_medium=XXX&utm_campaign=XXX and fill in the X’s. Use dashes or underscores as spaces:
      1. http://www.nowspeed.com/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=home-page&utm_campaign=nowspeed
      2. http://www.nowspeed.com/resources/white-papers/seo-4-easy-steps?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=SEOWhitePaper&utm_campaign=Nowspeed
      3. http://www.nowspeed.com/resources/nowspeed-network?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=NowspeedNetwork&utm_campaign=Nowspeed
  4. Last step, take this whole URL and shorten it with TinyURL or any other link shortener you may use. This will preserve the tracking code, but also shorten the URL so it doesn’t look as messy and will fit within Twitter’s character limits.

The information will show up in Google Analytics under the traffic sources section, since you have used the ‘utm_source’ parameter to pass the data through. You can use the same structure for emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Just adjust the source and campaign as needed… and voila! You can now track links back to your site from your social media activities for free!

For more social media strategies, check out our webinar, “How to Build your own Blog and Social Media Marketing Strategy”

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