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Use analytics to make actionable change

This is a good time to set a few social media goals. The cool thing is that social media platforms all have built-in analytics that helps you track your growth and progress. If your eyes just glazed over, I get it. But this is actually pretty simple. 

Here’s what Twitter’s looks like:

From this view, you can see your most impactful posts, new followers, and an overview of your impressions, mentions, followers and views to your profile. A good metric to keep an eye on is your impressions which basically tells you how many times your tweets have been seen. The more people see your tweets, the more engagement you’ll have.

Here’s what Instagram’s look like:

Pay attention to your engagement insights closely as you build your community. Take a look at what posts get the highest engagement, and explore your audience to see who they are, where they live and what their age demographics are. 

Here’s a quick break-down of analytics to keep an eye on for both Twitter and Instagram:

Social media goal

Insights to track 

Grow a following

Reach will tell you how many accounts see your content. This is generally impacted by how active you are on the platform.

Find an audience

Engagement will tell you how many accounts actually interact with your posts by liking, sharing or commenting.

Building a community

Follows will say a lot about whether or not you’re actually creating a community, i.e., people are sticking around. Pay attention to overall follows which will account for both follows and unfollows so you can track sustained growth.

When I started taking my social media seriously, I paid close attention to my engagement analytics. I noticed that posts that got a lot of engagement were those that focused on self-care, healing, and writing tips. I noticed these posts got shared and commented on the most, resulting in a boost of followers every time. So, I posted less selfies and lifestyle content, and more of what grabbed engagement. 

Over the course of about six months my follower count grew from less than a thousand to over five thousand — and these were engaged followers, not bots, not fair weather followers, but people who have stuck around, shared my content and helped me grow my reach as a writer. 

Let’s review:

  • You have a grasp of the analytics tools on Twitter and Instagram.

  • You know who your audience is and can track how and what they engage with.

Wrap up

I hope this playbook has helped to demystify the process of pitching and growing as a freelance writer. I hope you feel less intimidated by the pitch process, because as an editor I can tell you — we always want to find fresh voices. And finally, I hope that you feel empowered to use social media not as a consumer, but as a creator and a means to grow. 

As a writer, there’s so much power and autonomy available to you in the freelance space, as soon as you decide to stop approaching it passively. Success doesn’t happen by chance, no one will discover your genius and your creative ideas if you don’t actively put them out into the world and inherently know they are valid and needed. 

So, what’s next? Start pitching and start writing! And don’t forget that growth is a process. There will be setbacks, feedback that stings, rejections that feel like they define you (they don’t) and lots of lessons ahead. But I know that if I can do it, you can too. 

Good luck + happy writing.

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