It’s so easy to feel defeated amidst all of the “Get 1,000 followers in 30 days!” blog posts and courses out there, so I thought I’d share my tool for tracking my social media growth. At the end of every month — usually the same day I’m working on my bookkeeping because it’s a “numbers” day — I log my followers into a Google sheet.

At first, it seemed silly to do, especially when my Facebook page had 20 followers who were supportive friends and family. But as the months wore on, I realized how valuable it is to reinforce to myself that my following is growing, even if it feels slow at times. My goal for 2016 was to establish a business (not personal) presence on each of the networks, and I’m fairly happy with my progress.

You can see that I fell far short of my meager goal for my newsletter list, so it’s definitely becoming a priority for 2017. I’m also happy to say that I’ll be focusing more energy and time on the social networks where I make the best connections.

how to track your social media

What I’ve learned by tracking my social media stats:

1. Your follower count doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. If you wanted to, you could easily boost your numbers by playing follow-for-follow games on Twitter and Instagram. But an engaged audience is more important, so I focus instead on sharing valuable content and replying to comments.

2. Tracking followers is just the first step. There’s so many more stats that are useful to know: how many “likes” you get compared to how many followers you have or how many clicks come from your bio link in your Instagram profile.

3. It’s better to focus on one or two social networks rather than all of them. I knew this going in, but I wanted to establish a baseline for my business accounts in case anyone should stumble upon them. When I worked really hard on Twitter for a few months (look at the jump between April and August), I saw amazing results in terms of followers, but it was quite a bit of effort for minimal follow through.

Get my social media tracker:


4. It’s OK to use automation to keep your accounts active. I use IFTTT to automatically share my Instagram posts on my Twitter feed, for example. I don’t advocate doing this for everything, since you should share content specific to each of your audiences, but it helps to keep your social accounts from getting stale or looking abandoned.

5. Your social profiles aren’t all about you. Engaging with other businesses and communities is just as important as consistently sharing relevant content. One of the best ways to expand your audience is to tap into someone else’s existing audience. By sparking conversation with other business owners, you form connections, find friendships, and slowly gain referrals.

Real social media numbers from my first year in business! Plus, a free tracker for 2017.