Successful travel blogging has become increasingly difficult over the last year thanks to Google crackdowns, Facebook algorithm changes, and of course the overwhelming extend of so many amazing new travel blogs. While the latter only affects, well, other new travel bloggers, all except the few big bloggers whom don’t mind paying for Facebook advertising can relate to these overwhelming feelings that many of our fellow travel bloggers struggle with.
The Best New Travel Blogs Awards: March Edition
There is no shortage of social media platforms out there but the core topic today is understanding how to evaluate them and determining which provides the best ROI. After all what works best for one person might not for another. Once that is done it becomes easier to focus attention in the most rewarding places and maximize you (and your blog’s) potential.
Evaluating Your Reach
While most of us bloggers are used to keeping an eye on our Google Analytics and Alexa stats, how does one properly track their reach via social media? Sure, there are several expensive paid services — which again only help the fat cats, not the less profitable and lesser known travel blogs — but free is always better.
SumAll literally does what the name suggests: summarizes it all. It allows you to connect all of your traditional social media profiles as well as additional services such as MailChimp, PayPal, bit.ly, Google Analytics, and yes even Bing Ads, among others — but whom am I kidding, no one uses Bing, much less Bing Ads 😉 The fact that this service is free is mind-boggling.
|New New Subscribers
|Track By Hashtag
Track By URL
All data can be graphed against all other data sources in thousands of combinations to highlight things that before were impossible to track. They can also send you weekly emails detailing all of your stats for the most recent week in comparison to the week prior to that.
After all, the number of Twitter followers or Facebook likes you have means practically nothing. It’s a vanity number. However the number and frequency of interactions is what really counts. SumAll allows you to easily track, analyze and compare this.For Example…
These two graphs display @the_HoliDaze stats from the last two months on a weekly basis. However, as both screenshots were taken on April 24th, the newest stats for “Week of Monday, April 21st” only reflect three days: April 21st-24th.
Analyzing These Graphs
Immediately the two dips in the graph are evident. I like seeing this because then I can evaluate them and determine what happened. Obviously there was a dip last week, the week starting April 14th, because I was severely sick and didn’t tweet for four days — my longest Twitter absence since I joined nearly three years ago. And the dip the week of March 3rd? Well March 4th was my birthday and I was busy celebrating all week instead of tweeting and blogging.
The second graph is easier to read. Once you remove retweet/mention reach from the graph the numbers are scaled down considerably and easier to digest. From this we can determine a lot:
The number of mentions loosely follows my number of tweets. When I tweet less, fewer people tweet me. Proof positive that being active on Twitter generates better engagement.
The ratio of my tweets to retweets is 3:1. However I chat a lot on Twitter and if I didn’t this number would be much higher as I frequently have tweets that are RT’d a dozen times or more.
My mentions never exceed my tweets. Why? Because I don’t treat Twitter like a “one-way” street, as some bloggers do. I respond to everyone. This is a tactic I recommend for all travel bloggers. Regardless of which country you are in buy a local SIM card and tweet when you are in a taxi/bus/train or waiting on a taxi/bus/train. This engagement will do wonders to increase your followers and readership, which is worth far more than the SIM cost.
| Tweets to Google Analytics traffic / unique visitors
Google+ publishing activity to site traffic
The list goes on and on…
| MailChimp newsletters to site traffic
Facebook engagement to site traffic
Twitter hashtag activity to site traffic
Now that I have provided a few examples of just how versatile SumAll is and the useful information you can extrapolate from it, the challenge is on you to see what all you can learn from it. Visit the SumAll web site to get started.
Know how when you hover over images and the Pinterest button appears? Well this one line of code does that and much more. For starters it offers not just the Pin It option but also the ability to post the image directly to Twitter or Facebook.
It also works with highlighted text. Try it right now, highlight a sentence in this article, any sentence. Whatever is selected can be shared on Twitter or Facebook, even emailed to a friend — especially usefully when you read an article that has a really good quote or excellent information in it.
Every week I receive an email detailing:
- Popular Content Phrases that have been highlighted, whether or not they were shared.
- Popular Images Top images and the total number of times they were shared.
- Trending Pages Popular posts/pages and their ‘engagement score’ — although to be perfectly honest I never bothered to look into how this number is calculated.
To try Markerly for yourself just hover over the image above and click the red Markerly logo on the left side of the overlay.
With SumAll it is very easy to see which social media platform drives the most traffic to your blog. After knowing that it’s much easier to invest your time more wisely and achieve the best results. However Markerly is also an interesting tool for determining which sentences and photos have the biggest impact with readers, not to mention how they most prefer to share your content: via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or email.
More Advice: WordPress Plugins Every Travel Blogger Should Use
Coming Tomorrow: How To Understand, Embrace And Maximize Google+
35 thoughts on “Travel Blogging Advice: How To Evaluate Your Social Media Reach”
Great advice Derek! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks Aggy, hope it helps! Let me know if any further questions. BTW gw kmbl k Jkt senin dn plng k Jogja 1 Mei. Kamu disana skrg?
Ada, nanti gw DM nomor hape untuk Whatsapp ya 🙂
Akan DM kamu nomor gw ntk WA….my WA gives me an error when trying to sync new contacts so I cannot add anyone anymore (too many contacts maybe???) :/
Ryan Brün Here is the article I mentioned to you via Twitter…hope you find it useful 🙂
As usual you’re my go-to guy for all things tech-y! 🙂 Great post. Thank you for sharing!
I aim to please Jessie 🙂 Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any further questions.
I’ve using SumAll for a while but I have never heard of Markerly and at first glace it looks awesome. I might dive into that one.
Markerly isn’t bad, but its nowhere near as illuminating as SumAll. I really do like being able to see what most people highlight though. That and the ability to share photos not just to Pinterest but also to Twitter and FB is kinda cool 🙂 I don’t remember how I first heard about it but I’ve never seen it on another travel blog; I like having something different on mine, rather than just being exactly like every other blog.
Interesting Derek . I will have to look at it when I am back on my laptop.
Can’t believe I hadn’t heard of SumAll before. Thanks!
I know, I was surprised by a couple of the recent GBN threads…thought more people knew about SumAll. Really hope that it doesn’t switch to a pay site once it gets more popular, as some other sites and services have done in the past…
Okay Derek I signed up, but having issues. Said my Instagram page was ready, but just had info and stated “Still Importing”. Is that normal? Does it take a while to collect all the info?
Kenin Bassart you should read this!
Yes Mike, it takes up to 12hrs to import some stats, no worries 🙂
In the end its worth it!
Keep bringing the great stuff Derek! Thanks for the tips 🙂
Always happy to help Kenin. Let me know if you have any questions. Hmmmm seems my blog is slowly evolving into half advice for travelers and half advice for travel bloggers lol.
If you keep giving good advice we’ll keep coming for it 🙂
Great stuff Derek I’ll have to add this to my arsenal.
Excellent information! You are a man of many talents!
Thanks, I try Susan. Regardless of what I do, I aim to please — and to help others 🙂
Thanks for the tip! I’m really terrible with the techier (that’s a word right?) aspects of my blog. I’m off to check out sumall now!
Oh its definitely a word. Well I’m a former technician and web site designer turned permanent nomad so if you ever have any questions or need any help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Always happy to help out fellow bloggers 🙂
Sweet dude! Thanks! Checking it out today!
I absolutely needed this post! Thanks Derek for writing this!
Happy to help Pepe — let me know if you have any questions as you analyze your statistics. Greetings from Indonesia and best wishes bro!
These look great! I’m doing some updates this week anyways, and checking into both of these definitely just got added to the list. Solid info.
They are great Stephen 🙂 I’ve never been much of a “check Alexa every week to see my numbers” type guy as some bloggers are. However I love taking a few minutes every week to check SumAll and compare my tweets or hashtags to site traffic, seeing whether there is a noticeable visitor increase on the days one my newsletters goes out, and other such things as that. Hope they shed some interesting revelations on your site as well. BTW, although Markerly doesn’t provide near the level of analytics that SumAll does, it’s biggest factor is it’s simplicity and small size. Just one line of code is all it takes. As someone who is constantly trying to lessen the number of plugins he has and further reduce page load speed, being able to ditch the bulky Pinterest plugin I was using in exchange for one line of code that not only does Pinterest but also Twitter, Facebook, and emails, well now that was a dream come true!
Well, so I’ve had some Instagram “Pin It” plug-in on for a bit but since I never have really gotten fired up about the network. So, Markerly seems like a much better alternative to bring in other social networking as well.
SumAll I’ll need to look more into, but it seems like the extra info on what social media sources are providing the most traffic and exposure would be quite useful info to have. But, like all things, just need to find time to sit down and play with it!
This sounds like a great tool Derek and I’ll be checking this out now.
There seems to be more and more tools on the market now, it can all get very confusing. At the moment I’m getting at least weekly updates directly from facebook, twitter and klout of how my interactions and social media is going. I also use HootSuite too.
The market seems crowded and it can be hard at times to know which is the best one for you (or as in this case, me).
Thanks again for sharing your experience.
Definitely agree. I don’t invest any time or money with FB so I stopped getting weekly page updates from them, and I’ve never gotten them from Twitter or Klout or anywhere else. However I love being able to put every profile into one site (not just SM but also MailChimp and Analytics and everything else) and then viewing that weekly summary. My email is already flooded enough, I don’t need a dozen email updates a week, just one clean one with the ability to break all the numbers down and compare them in any way, shape or form I please. And that is why I love SumAll.
Seriously I never know about sumAll. Now I am looking at it 😀
And I am really looking forward for the horror trail!
Glad to hear I was able to help Khai…hope you like it as much as I do. Oh and speaking of the Tour de Horror I fly out to Bali tomorrow to meet Jenny (my partner in crime for this endeavor) and after a few days of slaving over a computer working we will be hitting the road in search of ghosts. Don’t forget to follow along on Twitter using hashtag #tourdehorror 😉
Thanks for sharing!