What The 2015 Pan Am Games Can Teach Us About Social Media

The 2015 Pan Am Games officially closed last Sunday in Toronto and although the city still has the Para Pan Am Games to look forward to, this occasion gave the city and the entire country a chance to reflect on the achievement of its athletes and the process of hosting a major multi-sport event.

The lessons were plentiful and the opinions of experts and the general public alike shifted slowly from the opening ceremonies to the closing ceremonies. At the end of the day, the event was deemed a success by a vast majority of the commentators. Here at Incline Marketing, we always like to learn from successful organizations and events, so after examining what the Pan Am Games did right, we came up with four lessons from the event that can be applied to building a successful social media strategy. Here they are:

Plan For The Worst And You’ll Get The Best

Negativity reigned supreme among a majority of the local media and among the public before the Games started. The traffic was going to be absolutely, insanely horrible, no one was going to show up to the events and the newly built venues would be white elephants for decades to come. The Pan Am organizers heard these dire prophecies and worked hard at creating strategies to combat them. In the end, everything worked out as close to perfect as they could have, thanks in large part to the preparation of the organizers and volunteers.

A lot of people like to spout worst-case scenarios about social media too. For example, people fear that it opens them up to too much criticism or that the money/time spent on social media efforts is a giant waste. However, if you can plan effectively, you can take much of the sting out of these nay-sayers. Draw up a plan to deal with negative comments or sudden crisis on your social media platforms. Have guidelines that you and other staff should follow when posting to the organization’s Twitter account, Facebook page, etc. Develop strategies to measure your return on investment and achieve your goals. Having these plans in place will ensure that you’re prepared for the worst, but will most likely achieve the best.

Exclusivity Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Part of the success of the 2015 Pan Am Games was its high level of accessibility. Tickets were relatively cheap and plentiful. Events were spread out across southern Ontario so people from different regions could take part. Open events, such as concerts, were held almost every day of the Games in popular spots. These are just some examples of how the organizers made the event inclusive and drew the attention of thousands of people that critics said would remain apathetic and disengaged.

There are many organizations that tout exclusivity as the ultimate reason for not only their success, but their very existence. In rare circumstances this may be true, but using wide-reaching exclusivity to draw an increased customer/membership base is generally an out-dated concept. When your organization makes content easily accessible through its social media channels, it is being inclusive. This inclusiveness gives people a sense of belonging, increases engagement and builds a community that people want to be part of. This is nothing but a win-win for your organization and its target audience.

Pride Is Powerful

Every single day throughout the course of the 2015 Games, Canadian athletes would say they performed at their very best because of the home crowd. When thousands of people are cheering you one and celebrating your every victory, no matter how big or small, it’s natural to want to work as hard as you can and give back to your supporters. The athletes were greeted by a wave of national pride and they rewarded Canadians with a record number of Pan Am medals.

Shining the spotlight on people’s accomplishments has a hugely positive effect on them outside of athletics too. Social media is a great vehicle for recognizing people in your community or a member/customer who has done something special. Highlighting their achievement in such a public way is an opportunity to show appreciation for the people who help make your organization a possibility. Just like support from fans, recognition in other industries is a two-way street. If your organization recognizes how hard you’ve worked to accomplishment something, you’re going to be more likely to renew membership, volunteer on a committee, subscribe to a newsletter or attend their next event.

Engagement Begets Engagement

By the time of 2015 Pan Am Games were winding down last week, the conversation was not about if the event was a success (there was no doubt it was), but if Toronto should host more international sporting competitions. People wrote about bringing the Track and Field World Championship or the FIBA World Championships to the city. And of course, the biggest clamour was for another bid on the Summer Olympics. This signalled a huge shift from the prevailing notion at the start of Games that Toronto was just too darn apathetic for a major multi-sport event to take off. But because the Pan Am organizers did such a good job at engaging the citizens of the city, Torontonians are wondering where they can get more.

Social media has these same addictive characteristics. The name of the game for a multi-platform strategy is engagement. The purpose of Twitter or Facebook or Instagram is to connect with your organization’s target audience and get them engaged and invested in the organization’s efforts, both online and offline. When engagement is fostered through social media, it becomes easier for your audience to see opportunities to get involved in other areas. That may be volunteering or attending events or simply referring your organization to their friend. The point is, engagement snowballs; when you make it easy to connect with your organization online, you open up your audience’s eyes to possibilities that exist in all areas.

Integrating Elements of Gamification Into Your Association’s Social Media Strategy

“The opposite of play isn’t work, it’s depression.”

The above quote served as the introduction to a presentation on using the science of play to create better association events by Julie King during the CSAE Trillium Chapter’s Summer Summit. King would go on to talk about how play can engage an association’s members and, in another presentation, how organization’s can use the elements of gamification to create a better member experience.

While gamification (the practice of applying the typical elements of game playing to other activities) is often associated with mobile apps, there’s no rule saying that it has to be restricted to the online world. In fact, during King’s presentation, several discussions among attendees resulted in ideas for how associations can use gamification in all areas of their operation.

Having said that, gamification is a perfect fit for association’s looking to boost their social media efforts. By using some of the elements of game play in social media strategy, associations can engage members, promote their services and increase the value they add to peoples’ lives. Here are a few elements of gamification and some ideas on how to integrate them into your social media efforts.

Mystery

Nothing captures peoples’ attention like a good guessing game. Working towards a big discovery is a key part of game play and gives everyone an opportunity to not only focus on the end result, but on the experience and the process as well. Incorporating mystery into your association’s social media strategy every once in a while will give your members a chance to see what your organization has to offer from a different perspective while also giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Integrating mystery into social media can be as complex or as simple as your association wants to make the task. Achieving an air of mystery can be as simple as asking a trivia question about your organization or industry on Twitter or Facebook. For example, you can tweet the question, “Who was our first president?” or “What is the name of the article on page 12 of the latest issue of our magazine?” Racing to find the answer and be the first one to solve this ‘mystery’ provides an opportunity to engage with members, for members to achieve something and for you to drive traffic to areas of your association you want highlighted.

If you want to go a little more complex, social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are ideal for creating mystery. Providing visual clues for members is a great way to get them engaged and invested in the outcome. For example, post a portion of a picture that defines the location of your next event and have your members guess where the annual conference will be next year. It’s a fun and engaging way to get your members thinking about an upcoming event and give them some stake in the outcome. You can even award a prize to the first person who guesses correctly, which brings us to the next element of gamification…

Reward

Everyone likes getting rewarded for their efforts against fierce competition, whether it’s a trophy for winning the big golf tournament or the accumulation of “money” in a video game. Rewarding your members for a job well-done on social media is a great way to engage members and recognize them for their efforts, which means they are getting more value out of your association.

Again, using a reward system on social media can be as small or as big as your association wants. For example, ask your members to submit ideas for topics they would like to see as a webinar or conference presentation. Collect them and pick a winner who could receive a discounted conference registration or free attendance at the webinar. You can even go a step further and take some of the best ideas and pit them against each other in a bracket-style showdown for the best one. Members can vote each day through Twitter and Facebook (and Instagram and Twitter and LinkedIn, etc.) and the person who submitted the top choice could receive a prize.

If you want to go for something even more creative, try a project like Twitter Bingo. Twitter Bingo works like normal Bingo, but instead of numbers for each of the squares, there are tasks that can only be completed through Twitter, such as retweeting the association, mentioning another member in a tweet and tweeting one fact about the association. You organization can send out the Bingo “card”, members would complete the tasks and send the card back with screen-shot proof and either receive a prize or be entered to win a big reward.

Narrative

Storytelling is one of the best ways to learn. That’s the reason children are taught important life lessons through fairy tales and nursery rhymes and why some of the most popular video games in the world have great story lines. Stories need a good narrative to be successful and there is no better place to get your association’s story out than through social media. By incorporating this element of gamification into your online efforts, your association can connect with members and help educate members about products, services and value in an engaging way.

Integrating a narrative into your association’s social media can be done in a multitude of ways, both big and small and at any point in between. Depending on the platform, the narrative is going to look different. For example, if you association is on YouTube and wants to create a narrative about its conference, you can follow a first-time conference goer around and film his/her experience, edit it together and tell the story of the event through the eyes of a newcomer. This allows you to highlight the event through a unique perspective and one that your members will value. You can also create a recap of your event on YouTube and Instagram or tell the story of an award winner, the organization’s lobbying efforts or its history through a blog or a Facebook post.

If you want to try something a little more complex with a narrative, you can create a Choose Your Adventure blog post to promote your next event. Create multiple scenarios around the story of attending your next event. Members will need to navigate through the scenarios to reach a successful end. This creates a situation in which members will subtly learn about the features of the conference while having fun and being engaged. It also incorporates the concepts of mystery and reward into one project, making this blog post an all-around gamification superstar.

CSAE Trillium Chapter Summer Summit Recap: Finding ROI in Social Media for Associations

Last Thursday, Incline Marketing’s president and founder Marc Cousineau travelled to the Canadian Society of Association Executive’s (Trillium Chapter) Summer Summit in Huntsville, Ontario, where he gave a presentation on calculating the ROI of social media for associations.

The presentation covered various aspects of an association’s social media strategy, from member value to data analysis, determining goals, writing progress reports and making conclusions on return on investment metrics. Although each and every association will have a different take on social media according to their specific strategy, goals and target audience, this presentation seeks to give a template that organizations can use to gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of their online platforms.

A huge thank you goes out to the CSAE Trillium Chapter for giving us the opportunity to share our insights and knowledge on social media and associations. Take a look at the presentation below and feel free to ask any questions or give some feedback in the comment section!

How To Treat Current Events And Trending News On Your Organization’s Social Media Platforms

Navigating the news on social media is a tricky business. Not only is there so much of it to wade through on a daily basis, but because of the 24-hour news cycle and the way we use technology, one story might be popular for what seems like a split-second before another takes it place.

The pace by which news is delivered these days is enough to make you throw up your hands in frustration and declare that you’re over it all. Not so fast! Capitalizing on current events and trending topics can be an important part of content marketing for your small business, association or non-profit. However, it has to be done right or your efforts will be in vain, or worse, backfire on you.

We’ve put together a list of newsy dos and do-nots to help you find your way among the maze of current event topics and use them to your advantage on social media:

DO keep tabs on current events and trending topics

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in routine and miss something that your organization can comment on or use for its blog, Twitter account or Facebook page. Look at at least one national and one local newspaper a day and keep your eyes peeled for interesting pieces on the trending topic sections on Twitter and Facebook.

DO NOT post about a current event if it doesn’t relate to your organization at all

Your organization’s online community listens to you for a reason; you provide good quality content on topics that they are interested in. They find the information you put out valuable because it is information they can use or relate with. If you are posting about news simply because it’s popular, but it has no ties to your organization, it can leave your audience confused, disgruntled, frustrated and bored. You might get away with it once, but don’t make it a frequent practice.

DO set up a keyword alert on Google News

Google: The ultimate tool for newsies everywhere. The Google News tool is a great source for news from around the world. Setting up a keyword news alert will help you and your organization find articles to share and ideas for blog posts and videos. It will also keep you in the know about the latest trends and topics. As a bonus, the alerts can also help you find mentions of your organization in the news that can be shared or addressed.

DO NOT have a knee-jerk reaction to negative news on your organization/industry

The news you find online about your organization or your industry may not be all sunshine and rainbows. There will always be negative reviews or an opinion piece that throws criticism in your general area. Firing back right away is always the quickest way to create a PR nightmare. Instead, take some time to build a well-thought-out social media response and ensure everyone in the organization is on board with it. Don’t wait a long time to make your case, but have a strategy in place before you do.

DO be respectful when considering a social media post about a tragedy

Tragedies in the news are a sad reality and our first reaction is often to join the many others who are sending messages of support to victims on social media. However, many companies have seen a backlash against social media posts mentioning tragedies, such as 9/11. Before you post about a tragedy, think very hard about how appropriate the message is and its relevancy to your organization. Consider if a day of social media silence is better or if a post from your personal account would be more appropriate.

DO NOT wait too long to post about relevant news

In the sections above, we’ve mentioned that you should pause before posting about current events. However, this pause shouldn’t be too long. The 24-hour news cycle makes it easy for you to blink and miss a trending topic. Create a framework for dealing with breaking news on social media so that when it happens, you can cut down on the time you spend weighing the pros and cons of posting about it and get in on the action.

DO give a fresh perspective on a piece of news that has been trending for a while

There’s only so much of the same basic run-down of a news story that people can read. If there is a trending event that has been popular for more than a day, brainstorm a fresh way to cover it. Tackle it from a different perspective, find a different angle, make it relatable to a different audience and talk to people who no one has talked to before. Being fresh will give your audience a reason to read your material over the same old stuff.

DO NOT hesitate to break news yourself

There’s no rule saying you can’t make the news! If your organization has a newsworthy point of view, tidbit of information or an innovative new way of doing things, make it known to the world. Develop a strategy to market the news through social media, including which platforms you’re going to use, what your message is going to be, how you’re going to keep it fresh, which audience to target, how you’re going to make it newsworthy to the media and how you’re going to handle any potential criticism.

5 Places To Find The Best Content For Your Social Media Accounts

There’s a common phrase used to explain a basic principle of social media that says content is king. However, the platitude doesn’t mean a whole lot if the throne is empty. In other words, you have to find content first before you can think about how you’re going to use it to rule social media.

Finding good content to post to your organization’s social media accounts is often not an easy pursuit. It takes time, know-how and a keen eye. You also have to know where to look. With the mountain of information that is readily available online, finding the content that provides the right kind of value to your target audience can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Luckily, we’ve taken some of that hay out of the equation by putting together some suggestions for where to look when searching for good content. Hopefully with these five tips, you can find that needle much quicker.

Hashtags

When you want to know the latest on a certain topic, issue or industry, a hashtag can go a long way. If you’re not familiar with the power of hashtags for finding content, it works sort of like this: Twitter is a huge ocean of information being put out by millions of people. If you try to go fishing in that ocean, the chances of catching a fish are slim. Hashtags are like the streams, rivers and ponds that flow from the ocean. They are smaller and more contained, meaning you’re more likely to find a fish if you go searching there.

Find a hashtag that relates to the sort of content you are looking for and explore the content that people are posting to that hashtag. For example, we like to monitor the Association Chat hashtag (#assnchat) for all the news and views on the association industry. People are always posting blogs, articles and expert opinion on this hashtag, the best of which we share with out followers. One of the best ways to find a hashtag that fits your purposes is use hashtagify.me, a site that allows you to type in one hashtag and discover the most popular hashtags associated with it.

Magazines, Newsletters and Other Publications

There is no shortage of specialized publications for the industry you are posting about. If you look hard enough, there are magazines and newsletters and just about everyone, from pet grooming to turfgrass management to hair styling and everything in between. These publications usually contain well-thought-out insights from experts and often include new studies, perspectives and opinions. Many of these publications have online editions as well as hard copies, meaning they can be a source of content for your social media channels.

These magazines, newsletters and other publications are not hard to find. Many trade associations publish their own magazines that they make available online as well. Check out the national or local association to see if you can get access to their publications. Businesses and bloggers often send out weekly or monthly newsletter that you can sign up for as well. Put together a list of publications that you can subscribe to and a list of others that you can check on a weekly basis. Combining the two lists will help keep your content cupboard stocked.

News and Trending Topics

Chances are, over the course of a week or month, there will be more than a few times the news and your organization’s interests intersect. That’s why it’s important to keep on top of current events. When you can share interesting news, whether it’s hard-hitting journalism or a human interest story, your audience can relate to or can use in some meaningful way, they will find both the information and your organization valuable.

There are a few great ways to keep tabs on current events. The first is to set up a Google News Alert. Set an alert that will notify you every time a certain word or phrase is found in the news. This can be more basic, such as “golf” if you are in the golfing industry, or more specific, like the name of your organization. Another way to keep up with the news is through the trending topic section on many social media platforms. For example, keep an eye on the Twitter trending topics. Over time, the trending topics are often configured to match up with the content of your tweets. By keeping an eye on these topics, you can see what everyone is talking about and get in on the action. This way, you won’t be lacking for content.

Your Staff, Board or Customers

Two heads are better than one, so imagine how great five, six or 20 heads would be for finding quality content! You have a lot of great resources at your disposal in the form of your colleagues, board of directors, customers, staff or others that you work with. Most of the time you’ll find that if you simply ask, people will be more than willing to brainstorm with you, point you in the direction of content or pass on some of their own ideas. These ideas are some of the best because they help you find a new perspective that might be lacking in your current content line up.

The best way to go about finding this type of content is to simply ask. Section off half an hour or an hour every week to gather your staff or colleagues together and brainstorm ideas or share content they found during the past week. Create a document on a program such as Google Docs that allow your board of directors to jot down ideas or share blogs, articles, opinions or other forms of content. Create an Idea Box at your store, office or headquarters where customers, members or volunteers can drop off suggestions on which content to cover. All these methods will help keep your content calendar full for a long time to come.

Make Your Own

Whether you have exhausted all your resources and are still lacking content or are just trying to supplement a full schedule with your own take on things, creating your own content is a great idea. Not only do you have full control of original content, this type of social sharing helps drive traffic to your website, increases awareness of your brand and lets you share information that is most valuable and most important to your target audience.

Creating your own content can come in many forms. You can start a blog, a YouTube channel, create infographics, post a Facebook album or make an Instagram account. The best part about using this method of content creation is that it offers the opportunity for so much variety. With a YouTube channel, you can share how-to videos on your Twitter account. With a blog, you can share an interview with a member or an infographic on your products on your Facebook page. There are countless chances to be creative and share great content by creating your own!

Three Ways to Maximize the Potential of your Organization’s Facebook Posts

A good Facebook post is like a work of art. It’s like a great meal or a stunning piece of architecture; perfectly formulated to not only meet the needs of the community, but also spark the imagination. But just like great chef or architect, a social media manager has to endure a few misses before they can hit on the recipe for success.

All this might seem a little too fanciful and poetic for a social media platform. It is Facebook, after all, a place where memes rule and pictures of your friend’s dog manages to get 98 likes. However, if you pay attention to a few details, the random nature of Facebook engagement becomes a little clearer for those using the platform as a marketing tool.

Although there’s no scientific formula for success on Facebook, by utilizing certain data points, your small business, association or non-profit can turn your plodding, unmotivated posts into fit, focused messages that have the potential to win the hearts of your audience.

Stat #1- Length of Post

Unlike Twitter, Facebook has no maximum character count, which could leave you curled up under your desk, rocking back and forth, worried about what to do with so much freedom. Fortunately, there’s a way to give yourself a framework for the most effective length of post (LOP) on Facebook, just as long as you have some previous posts to look back on.

The first step in putting together a LOP framework is to determine which Facebook Insights matter the most to your organization. The data we usually work with to determine the impact of our efforts is reach and interactions (likes, comments, shares and clicks). These numbers tell you how much awareness is being generated by your post and how valuable your audience is finding the content you post. The insights you track should be based on the goal you’re trying to achieve. For example, if your organization wants to reach a lot of people, it might focus on reach and shares.

Now that you have determined the insights to analyze, the next step is to look back on the success of your previous posts. Pick the top-performing posts from among the month’s, quarter’s or year’s posts (perhaps those in the top 25%) by looking at the performance indicators you have chosen (such as total reach).

The final step is to determine the average LOP from those top-performing posts. For example, if posts averaging 100-125 words gain more reach than those posts with 50-75 words, there’s higher likelihood that future messages containing 100-125 words will achieve similar success.

Stat #2- Content of Post

Now that you know how long your post should be, it might be a good idea to figure out what you’re going to squeeze into your word count. The content of your post is the most important factor in drawing engagement and increasing Facebook’s ROI for your organization. If people don’t like how a home is decorated, they’re less likely to buy the house. The same concept goes for Facebook posts; if the content of your message doesn’t catch the eyes of your audience, no one will interact with it.

The first step in finding the content construction with the highest potential is already done for you, thanks to your work on the most effective length of post. You know your Facebook page’s top-performing posts and now you must determine what content they have in common.

First thing’s first, how are these top-performing posts written? Look to see if there are jokes in many of them or questions or a story. This will help you figure out if your audience reacts to a certain style of writing that sticks out amongst all the posts on their timeline. For example, if your association’s members engage more with a post that tells a story about another member, you can assume that using a storytelling bent to your posts will be more likely to yield favourable results in the future.

The next element to be aware of is the inclusion of media in your top-performing posts. If you see that eight of your top 10 posts have photos included in them while the posts that didn’t perform so great were without visuals, you can deduce that using pictures, infographics or videos will help your organization gain more engagement and increase its reach.

Stat #3- Timing of Post

If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one around to hear it, there is a noise (because science), but the same cannot be said for a Facebook post. If no one is on Facebook when you send out a message on your organization’s wall, it is not going to receive its full potential for engagement or reach. That is why you need to determine the best timing for your posts.

The process of determining the best time to post to Facebook is a little less work than the previous two exercises. There is a tool on Facebook Insights that allows you to see when the peak usage times are for your page’s followers. This tool lets you see the most effective date and time for your posts, including a day-to-day look at which hours see the most traffic hit Facebook.

With this information in your back pocket, it’s now time to determine the timing of your posts. If your organization only posts three times a week, analyze which days more of your followers are on Facebook. For example, if Monday, Wednesday and Thursday are higher traffic days, post on those days as there is a higher chance of your message being seen.

The next step is to establish which hours on those specific days are best for posting. The same tool that told you which days offer peak usage will also help you determine the hours during which the greatest amount of your followers are on Facebook. If you see that the activity of your followers peaks at 10 am on Monday, take a note of this trend and start posting between 9:50 and 10:50 on Mondays, instead of at noon on Mondays.

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Although there is no magic formula to increase engagement on or the reach of your Facebook posts, there is a way that you can increase the likelihood of this happening. By analyzing the three statistics above, you can construct Facebook posts that have the potential to increase the impact of your social media strategy and the ROI you are gaining from your efforts.

A Few Simple Ways to Analyze The Success Of Your Organization’s Blog

Your organization’s Twitter account is pretty good, the Facebook page is decent and its Instagram account is no weakling, but the blog you help run, that’s the crown jewel of your social media strategy. It’s updated frequently, is always stocked with creativity and novel approaches to conveying information and never runs short on visuals. Your proud of it and rightfully so.

However, there’s one thing that’s bothering you. It’s just a little worry tugging at the back of your mind, but you can’t dismiss it; you don’t exactly know how well the blog is doing. You publish quality stuff and it should be attracting all kinds of great statistics, but you can’t really be sure because you have never measured it. The problem is, you don’t know where to start and your organization can’t spend weeks collecting data and a small fortune on tracking software.

If this sounds like you, stay calm and read on. We’ve put together a few ways you can track the success of your association or small business’s blog that are free and easy to use.

Twitter Analytics

You can tell a lot about the success of your blog posts from the attention they receive on Twitter. Twitter Analytics is a free and easy-to-use tool that will help shed light on the way people are interacting with your blog posts.

The first step is look at the number of impressions your blog posts are generating. This will help you define the reach of your blog posts. The more impressions you receive, the more people who are seeing your tweet containing a link to you blog. The more people who see it, the more likely they are to interact with that tweet view your blog. If you discover your reach is low, try tweeting your blog post out several times a week and using different hashtags to reach a larger audience.

The next step to take is to record how many times your Twitter users are clicking on the link to your blog. This number will tell you how successful Twitter is at directing traffic to you blog/website and how much traffic in general is landing on your blog. Calculating this number can be done through Twitter Analytics or through a link-shortening site such as bit.ly.

Facebook Insights

While Facebook Insights don’t provide the mountain of data that Twitter Analytics do, it does give some fairly valuable information on how much attention is being paid to your blog posts.

Just like with Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights can give you an idea as to how many people are seeing your post about your blog and in return, how many people are interacting with it. The reach of your post notifies you about how many users have laid eyes on your post. The bigger the reach, the more people coming across your post. The next step is to take the number of interactions you received on these posts (likes, shares, clicks) and figure it as a percentage of total reach. This will help you conclude if your blog posts are being passed over or if they are drawing people to do more than scan words on their Facebook timeline.

One of the best tools to boost your reach (and therefore give you a better chance to increase engagement and traffic to your blog) is to analyze the time your audience is online. Facebook Insights provides a tool that allows you to see when the people who like your page are online. If the peak time for Facebook use is noon on Wednesday among your audience, that’s when you should be posting blog updates every week.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a treasure trove of information about your blog’s performance. It is so useful that it deserves its own post, but for now, we’ll just give you two very crucial metrics that will help enhance your understanding of your organization’s blog.

The first number to keep your eye on is plain, old page views. This number simply tells you how many times your blog has been viewed. This is a good place to start, but the number doesn’t tell even half of the story. From page views, you can examine average session duration. This is the average time spent on your site for every visit. This number can tell you if people are actually reading your posts or if they reading the first line and deciding it’s not worth it.

Another important number from Google Analytics that’s worth paying attention to is pages-per-session. This is the average number of pages that each visitor to the blog will click on through the course of their visit. One of the main goals of your organization’s blog is to drive traffic to other parts of the website. This metric will give you a good idea of how well your blog is accomplishing this goal. If the pages-per-session numbers are low, try putting a “suggested reading” section at the bottom of each blog post. This will direct readers to another post or part of your organization’s website that relates to the content in the blog post and that your audience might find interesting.