My Name is Carlos Castro Miranda and I am serving as a social media intern at Slice Communications. Slice Communications is a Philadelphia based social media and public relations firm consisting of approximately ten full-time employees. Currently, I create social media content and conduct research for several clients in various industries including:  recycling, investing, retail, engineering, and more.

Before I began my internship, I had no prior knowledge of how social media firms generated revenue or tracked the progress of their efforts. Tracking the impact of social media is an integral aspect for social media departments to show clients the return-on-investment (ROI). The results can be the number of unique visitors to a site, the time that was spent there, or the route the visitor took to reach a client’s site. In order to track their work, firms must tag links, keep an organized database, and have a very good understanding of Google Analytics.

What is link tagging? Link tagging is basically making a regular URL much longer by adding:

“?utm_source=MEDIUM&utm_medium=social&utm_content=ARTICLE-TITLE&utm_campaign=TYPE OF CAMPAIGN”

to the end. This tag basically tells Google how it should code the visits generated from this link. The tag has the source that triggered a visit to the site. This source lets Google Analytics sort the visit into the right pile for the owner of the website. By knowing which sources bring traffic to a client’s website, the ROI can be calculated for advertising dollars spent via specific websites. Of course, the rest of the tag allows Google Analytics to filter even further.

At Slice Communications a lot of the links that are uploaded to clients’ social platforms must be tagged. Tagging counts the number of clicks a social media post can generate. Using tagged links allows Slice Communications to measure the effectiveness of the campaigns it is implementing. What’s even better is that it also provides quantifiable data to the client. Clients love numbers proving that their money is invested wisely to generate revenue. This year the social media landscape has started to change even more. Pinterest and Twitter are implementing a “buy button” to show advertisers and users the amount of revenue each site is generating.

Being aware of all these options and staying organized is the way firms measure the success of their efforts. In the constantly evolving social landscape it’s imperative to track clicks and have data available. Learning to read Google Analytics is a very valuable skill that advertising, public relations, and communications students should learn. It will make you far more marketable in the search for employment after graduation.