Today’s guest blogger is my friend Laura Laing, a freelance writer and the author of Math for Writers: Tell a Better Story, Get Published, Make More Money. Visit her website to check out her full virtual book tour roster and sign up for a free, live teleseminar just for writers who need math.
Social media data tracking for authors in 4 easy steps
By Laura Laing
Sometimes social media can feel like a shot in the dark. Is anyone listening? Are status updates and tweets helping with book sales? Tracking your promotional statistics and book sales can help you uncover a brilliant social media plan—by determining what’s working and what’s not.
And spreadsheets are the perfect medium. Here’s how you can harness the power of spreadsheets to wrangle your social media book promotion plan.
Step 1: Choose your stats
You can use this process to track any statistics, but since we’re looking the relationship between social media efforts and book sales, here’s a good list:
- Facebook: likes and shares
- Twitter: retweets and favorites
- Google+: +1s and shares
You’ll also want to track your book’s sales.
Step 2: Build your spreadsheet
In case you’ve never used a spreadsheet before, let me start with a simple explanation. Spreadsheets are very much like tables with rows and columns. But there’s one big difference: In a spreadsheet, you can include formulas that will automatically calculate a value you need.
First, let’s look at the columns and rows. Rows run horizontally, while columns run vertically. All of the rows must be related to one another, while all of the columns have their own relationship.
In this scenario, you’re tracking social media stats and book sales by date. In the spreadsheet below, I’ve assigned dates to the rows and the media stats and book sales to the columns. (If you wanted, you could switch it.)
Step 3: Track your data
Each of the little boxes in the spreadsheet is called a cell. It’s important to notice that each cell belongs to one row and one column. So, if you check your Facebook likes for status updates written the week of March 1, the number 15 goes in the cell that corresponds with the “Facebook status updates” column and the “March 1” row.
You should also track book sales each week, in a separate column. (I’ve skipped a column so that I can easily see which are social media stats and which are book sales.)
If you’re more advanced with spreadsheets, you can also add formulas that will automatically calculate when you add new data. In this way, you can include running totals in your spreadsheet, like this:
For more information about including formulas in a spreadsheet, read my article, “Spreadsheets 101: How to Use Formulas.”
Step 4: Analyze your results
Now that you’ve got all of your data, what does it mean? First, you can begin to notice trends. Based on this data, it seems that Google+ is where you’d want to put your best efforts. (That’s where you’re getting your most interaction.) In addition, when a Facebook status update is performing well, it does well on Twitter and Google+. And there is clearly a correlation between social media interaction and book sales.
You can dig even deeper with these stats. First, look at the tweets and status updates that did not perform as well as others. What could you do to up their success? Also, consider how your other promotional and marketing efforts might have affected social media interactivity—and therefore book sales. For example, if you spoke at a live event on January 22 and sold 10 books there, your spike in book sales that week had nothing to do with social media.
In fact, this data is merely a window into a much richer understanding of how well your publicity and marketing efforts are doing—but it’s a terrific place to start. And as you continue tracking these stats, you will discover other statistics that can help you hone in on your best promotional endeavors ever!
What are you tracking or monitoring so that you can measure the effectiveness of your book marketing?