Trending February 2024 # How To Track Social Media Campaigns Using Google Analytics # Suggested March 2024 # Top 9 Popular

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Understanding how GA ‘UTM’ values can give you more insight into your social media marketing

This form of media has now become an integral part of our lives and continues to evolve. A few years ago the emphasis was on B2B companies being active and creating pages on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter… now the conversation has swung and is moving towards the idea that every marketing campaign must be social.

With every month that passes, there seems to be an endless stream of new channels, terminologies, and the dialogue can be fascinating. But it can be very easy to get caught up with the new innovations and forget about what you’re currently doing. It seems that before you have got to grips with one channel there is another one to topple that, and it requires your undivided attention.

The evolving digital landscape

The latest research on the use of different social networks shows that there is a huge choice of existing social media channels and a stream of new channels. We need to keep an eye on the new options, but this can sometimes get in the way of making social media marketing measurable in a meaningful way. We are too busy ‘doing’ social and trying to figure the best way of using them so measurement can be neglected.

As the digital world keeps expanding (let’s not forget you are dealing with email, website, PPC, SEO, remarketing, and content to name a few) it is very easy to get overloaded and overlook the key reason you attempted social in the first place.

Interestingly the ‘social’ nature of these channels are really useful for engaging prospects and customers (here’s a really interesting infographic summing up the 6 major social channels). Rather than the dodgy reputation that haunts sales departments (‘why are they not listening to me? Maybe it’s end of the month and they need to hit their commission’), social media allows you to build a relationship in an informal, personable, low-pressured way. Sounds like a good thing to do right….?

Measuring social engagement

So you need a way to measure engagement and how this translates to business results on your site.

When we talk to customers we find that most B2B marketers are naturally cynical and fall into one of two camps when it comes to social media marketing:

1. Those not doing it and thinking it is a waste of time and

2. Those doing it and wondering if it is a waste of time.

There’s that niggling feeling that there must be a way to make social media work that just won’t go away. In our experience that uncertainty is born out of a total lack of meaningful measurement.

Social media has a whole range of self-fulfilling metrics that enable those charging for their social media services to justify their own existence. The value of a retweet to the bottom line of your business is quite intangible.

Like any marketing activity, we must be able to track and measure its ROI. What is it delivering to the business in terms of opportunities? You cannot improve what you cannot measure after all.

Introducing how to use Google Analytics UTMs for measuring social media marketing

Do you know what UTMs are and do you use them? If you answer ‘no’ I would suggest you’re missing out since tracking campaigns with them is one of the most underused and undervalued things in digital marketing.

At a practical level UTM parameters are bits of text added to the end of your URL, technically called a query string since they’re separated by a question mark from the web address.

For example, a URL with UTM values from this post taking you to CommuniGator’s GatorSocial page could be tagged as:

It helps you track where your links are coming from but more importantly the actual source and content. Once you have goals setup in Google Analytics you can use them to track all of your links and measure the success of marketing activities, like social media and guest blog posting.

To explain the full details of measuring social media, download our social media measurement whitepaper which will help you get the most out of you social media and make sure you are able to ascertain what value it is providing to your business.

The paper covers the five key areas below – I hope you enjoyed the read and find it useful.

1. Social Profiles: First Impressions Count

2. Audiences: Follow You, Follow Me

3. Content: A Kingsize Challenge

3. Analytics: Meaningful Measurement

4.Conclusion: Managing the Marketing Mix

Image Credit / Copyright: Marcel De Grijs/ 123RF Stock Photo.

Thanks to Simon Moss for sharing his opinions and thoughts in this blog post. Simon Moss is a Chartered Marketer with over eight years’ marketing experience gained primarily in the B2B marketplace. He currently looks after the marketing for CommuniGator and WOW Analytics, a leading digital marketing agency providing email marketing solutions and cutting edge technology that enables you to maximise the value of every visit to your website – identifying and naming prospects visiting corporate websites. You can follow him on LinkedIn or connect on Twitter. For more information on lead scoring and to receive a demonstration and trial, visit the WOW Analytics website or call us on 0844 880 2899.

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A Complete Guide To Social Media Campaigns In 2023

Do you want to establish a social media presence that will help you form a profitable relationship with your target audience? Create a social media campaign strategy! 

I realize it’s easier said than done. It’s as raucous as it’s ever been on social media. How can you get your message heard over the din? 

There are three factors to consider for social media campaign: 

Publish social media content regularly. 

Create social media material that your target audience would enjoy. 

Manage your social media profiles effectively. 

If you’ve spent enough time working on social media, you’re well aware of how difficult it can be to accomplish all of the above, at least in the long run. 

But, like with so many things in life, all you need is a plan to deal with the turmoil. To be precise, a social media marketing strategy. 

A Complete Guide to Social Media Campaigns in 2023 article consists of

How to create a successful social media campaigns from the ground up 

How to Maintain a Consistent Posting Routine 

What’s the best way to keep track of all of your social media accounts? 

How to track your social media campaign’s progress 

What is a Social Media Campaign, And Why is it so Important in your Marketing Plan? 

A social media campaign is a marketing strategy that uses social media to achieve a business goal. 

It’s not only about sharing social media stuff on Facebook or Twitter. It’s also a question of strategy. It’s not just about getting a core brand message across. It’s also about forming bonds with others. 

It guarantees that your company’s vision, mission, and fundamental values are reflected in your social media marketing efforts. 

It assures that all of your social media activities will result in a positive return on investment. 

The Fundamentals of a Successful Social Media Campaign

The best social media campaigns are:

Consistency 

Building brand trust and making your brand stand out requires a consistent experience. Publish social media updates that are consistent with your brand’s core values, mission, and identity to let your brand’s personality shine. Staying on brand is critical to making your brand more identifiable in the cluttered world of social media. 

Dedicated to a Particular Plan

You’ll hit nothing if you shoot at everything. Take it one step at a time so you can devote all of your resources to reaching your objectives. 

Exactly on Time 

If you want your target audience to take you seriously, you must stick to a timetable. It’s like dating when it comes to marketing. Would you want to pursue a relationship with someone you like if he or she dates you often for a few weeks and then vanishes for a month? Yes, I believe that is correct. 

Relevant

If your posts and tweets aren’t getting your attention then you should need a relevant post to get them to engage 

The Steps to a Successful Social Media Campaign 

How can you create effective social media campaigns now that you know what makes one? Here are the stages of creating and implementing an effective social media marketing strategy. 

Step 1: Make a Goal

What is the first stage in planning and executing a social media campaign? Set a specific objective for yourself. 

Before you start a social media campaign, think about why you’re doing it. 

The most successful social media marketers create objectives. 

Marketers who set targets are 376 percent more likely to succeed than those who don’t, according to a Coschedule study. 70% of goal-setting marketers were successful in achieving their objectives. 

Among the objectives you can set for your social media campaign are: 

To create Sensible social media campaign goals, make sure they are: 

Specific, Precise and Well-defined 

Measurable: social media analytics can be used to measure it. 

Achievable: within the limit of your resources, it is achievable. 

Relevant: realistic and pertinent to your current business. 

Time-bound: this will be completed in a specific amount of time. 

Determine where your brand stands about its brand mission before deciding on a goal for your social media strategy. Make a list of all your resources and determine which ones you can put to use to help you achieve your objective. If you must, go for immediate wins, but don’t forget to look at your social media campaign plan in the long run. It’s not worth it if it’s not in line with your brand’s mission and vision. 

Step 2: Select Smart KPIs to Monitor 

Choose smart KPIs to track once you’ve agreed on a specific aim for your social media campaigns. This gives you the benchmarks you need to track your campaign’s development and determine what needs to be improved to guide it in the proper direction. 

Too many KPIs might be unproductive. Choose the correct KPIs to track and measure based on the goal of your campaign. 

KPIs for each social media campaign target are as follows: 

Most social media networks include a free analytics tool that can be used to measure critical metrics for your campaign. However, you’re better off using a dedicated social media analytics platform if you want more insights and a larger picture of your metrics. 

Below are some of the social media analytical tools which you can use for your reference.

Want a more comprehensive guide on how to select the right KPIs based on each specific social media campaign goal? Check out our blog post-Smart

Step 3: Get to Know your Target Audience

Yes, content is king, but only if it is relevant to your target market. 

Your social media campaign will fail even if you have the most refined content, the most well-written blog post, and the most entertaining videos if it isn’t helpful or relevant to the individuals you’re targeting. 

Understand your target audience before posting relevant social media content. Get to know them thoroughly. 

This can be accomplished by: 

Customer or prospect interviews 

Obtaining information from your sales teams 

Use surveys to delve into your client database for hints and insights into how customers locate and consume your content 

Using audience insights from Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to get demographic data. 

Create a buyer persona to make the most of the psychographic and behavioural data you’ve obtained. 

A buyer persona is a fictionalized version of your target demographic. Here’s an example of a buyer persona in action. 

Step 4: Select your Social Media Platforms. 

There are approximately 15 social media channels available, according to my research. It can be tempting to promote your brand across all channels, but this is a recipe for disaster. 

For starters, you’ll end up overstretching yourself (and your team). Second, you’ll end up wasting money on social media platforms that don’t generate revenue. 

Choose your social media platforms wisely if you want to run successful social media campaigns. 

To begin, choose the ones where your target audience congregates. This is the most crucial criterion. 

Let me show you how to quickly pick your most important social networks that help us to check out the competitor’s performance.

Tools to Choose your social networks by analyzing your competitors.

By evaluating your competition, you may choose your social networks. 

You should be able to choose the social networks that best suit your brand using this easy trick. 

There are a few things to keep in mind, though:  

What kind of content do you enjoy making? Use Instagram if you think photos will help you spread your message the best. Use Twitter if you enjoy posting informal, lighthearted, and succinct content. 

If you can easily tailor your content based on the social platform you’re posting to, you can use both at the same time. 

You can do it with the tools I mentioned. It allows you to customize your social media material on a more granular level, making it easier and faster to maximize the strength of each platform. 

You may schedule or publish material to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google My Business all at once. 

Finally, don’t overlook social media outlets that are underutilized. Go for it if you sense your audience being underserved by competitors on a particular platform. “The rewards for being first are enormous,” wrote Seth Godin in Purple Cow. 

Types of Social Media Ad Photo Advertisements 

Source:thesherewoodgroups

Simply match your images to the style of your articles and stories so that people immediately recognize the ad as belonging to your organization. 

Because images with little or no text usually give a better audience experience, Facebook will only serve your ad if the image contains text in less than 20% of the total area. 

Book covers, music covers, and product graphics are usually exempt from this rule.

Video Ads

Digital video climbed by 20.6 percent year over year, increasing its share of overall internet ad revenue by 1.3 percent to 18.7 percent. 

If the video is under one minute long, more than half of all social media users will watch the entire thing, but this number diminishes as the video becomes longer. 

It’s best to think like a silent film director when making a video ad. This is because 63% of LinkedIn (mobile) videos and 85% of Facebook videos are seen without sound. 

Source: Biteable

Carousel Ads

The majority of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network carousel ad types allow you to display up to ten photographs or videos in a single carousel, each with its own link and CTA button. CTAs might be removed totally for a cleaner look. 

Facebook will even adjust the order of the carousel photos based on how well each card performs. 

Source:creptopy

Stories Ads

Interactive Stories Ads encourage users to stay on the ad longer and engage with the brand more. 

A photo can be shown for six seconds on Facebook Stories, while a video can be played for up to 15 seconds. 

Instagram Stories, on the other hand, can run up to 120 seconds, depending on whether you’re using photos or videos.

Source:insightsplatforms

Social Media Which Rules the World Facebook

By raising brand awareness, you can expand your reach and put your items in front of more potential customers. 

Setting up a Facebook Shop to provide customers with a more seamless shopping experience and drive traffic to both your online and physical locations is quite simple. 

Instagram

Instagram was created with a focus on aesthetics. Simply scrolling through your feed will reveal unique filters, great Reels, and lovely stories. 

Even if they don’t buy right away from your ad, the unique style will linger with them and remind them of your company. 

Twitter

Since its inception in 2006, Twitter has grown to become one of the most popular social media sites for discovering breaking news and engaging with a wide range of influencers. 

Pinterest

Pinterest, like Instagram, is a visual social media platform. Pinterest is primarily aimed at women, with more than 71 percent of its users being female. 

The majority of Pinterest users use the site to look for and buy products. Instead of distracting customers as they do on other sites, promoted pins blend in seamlessly with Pinterest boards. 

85 percent of weekly Pinners have purchased after seeing a brand’s Pin. 

LinkedIn

As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn has a large professional user base and may be able to target clients based on job qualifications. 

As a result, service and B2B product companies outperform other platforms on LinkedIn. LinkedIn promotional content is divided into four categories: 

Step 5: Craft a Social Media Content Strategy

Now it’s time to look at your objectives, key performance indicators, and buyer personas to see how you can combine them and create a social media content strategy. 

Communicate one clear message that resonates with your audience to make your social media material successful. 

What kind of material should you publish to fulfil the single goal of your campaign? How can you ensure that your material remains relevant to your target audience at all times? How can you deliver your main message in unique ways? When is the optimum time to post for your target demographic? 

Here are a few particular recommendations to help you develop a successful social media content strategy: 

To keep your messaging and brand voice consistent, create a brand style guide. 

Conduct a social media content audit to discover which posts or tweets were successful and which were not. 

Conduct a competitive analysis to detect content gaps and determine which forms of content are effective and how to improve them. 

Gather your marketing (and sales) teams and ask them to come up with social media content ideas. 

Step 6: Make a Schedule for your Social Media Posts 

Having a schedule is a wonderful place to start if you want to be consistent with your social media material. 

After all, a calendar holds you accountable to your objectives while also allowing you to prioritize vital chores over less important ones. Plut it relieves the stress that comes with not knowing what to do next. 

But how frequently should you update your social media accounts? 

Here are some numbers to help you determine how frequently you should publish on each social media channel. 

Keep in mind that the preceding are merely suggestions. The optimal times to post material and how frequently to do so are determined by your services and target audience. 

Source:lyfemarketing

So you’ve decided on your posting schedule’s frequency. Now comes the difficult part: sticking to the timetable. 

Here’s a productivity technique for you if you want to stick to a schedule: time batching! 

The goal of time batching is to arrange comparable jobs together so that you may avoid the productivity killer that is context switching. 

Even if you’re sleeping or on vacation, Tweetdeck, Recurpost, Crowdfire, and HootSuite can help you batch your duties by allowing you to schedule posts ahead of time so you can reach your audience when they’re most engaged. 

You can relax knowing that your entries will be published automatically at the appropriate time. 

Step 7: Take Care of your Social Media Accounts Like an Expert. 

You’ve decided on social media campaigns goal, narrowed down your target audience, chosen your social media channels, devised a campaign strategy, and finalized a content calendar. 

Now comes the difficult part: keeping track of your social media profiles. 

Jumping between tools and social sites, let’s face it, can be exhausting. 

Thankfully, using the Instagram tool can help you manage the chaos. 

InstaChamp, for example, lets you manage multiple social media accounts from different platforms in one place, helping you cut down response time by 90%.

The application also has an Auto-Moderation option that allows you to set up automated responses to the most common message kinds. 

Final Word

Remember this as you develop your social media campaign: social media marketing is all about building and nurturing relationships

On social media, conversations are already taking place, and you must listen to your audience to gather the information that can help you plan your social media campaigns. 

To know more about how to do Instagram automation check on the link and enrol for free.

Want to learn digital marketing then get onboard to online 3 months digital marketing course in Chennai and get 24+ certificates with paid internship.

Using Social Media: The Small Business Experience

I’m hoping to offer some insight into how a small but growing and ambitious multi-channel retailer intends to use social media to promote our online brand, The Emporium Direct – I am by no means an expert in social media nor is my organisation’s present social media activity up there in comparison to the big brands.  But I do run our marketing, therefore I can share hands-on experience on what has worked for us and what we’re planning.

Before I get to how we’re using social media, here is a brief snapshot of our organisation.

Company Background

We have a large High Street store in Maldon, Essex and a growing e-commerce business, The Emporium Direct.  Like many, we originally started trading on eBay, then moved onto Amazon and eventually our own website.

Marketplace tips

Our success has been down to the following:

Selling a mixture of niche, general and branded products – this allows us to enter multiple markets, gain additional traffic and custom all year round as opposed to only certain times of the year

Having multiple marketplace accounts – the internet is an ever-expanding net therefore the more stores and/or products you have floating out there the more likely you will sell

Aspiring to the highest standard of customer service – just because you sell online does not mean customer service should waiver – maintain excellent customer at all times

Trading in retail for over 25 years, we have a wealth of experience, contacts and know-how and we apply this to our e-commerce business

Despite being fairly successful on our marketplace accounts, it is increasingly clear that unless you are a large, well-known brand coupled with equally large resources, selling and converting sales online through your own direct website is no easy task.  However, it is a great challenge and one we plan to get to grips with after the busy Christmas trading period.

Why Social Media?

I think it is fair to say that unless you have been hiding for the last few years, the social media revolution is here to stay and is not a force any reputable business can ignore.  We want to use social media to give our brand more personality, to engage more with customers, to create open dialogue with them and promote our business as well other local businesses near us.  Facebook in particular is great for this.

One suggestion of ours is to start including more images and videos of key areas of interest in the historic, market town of Maldon, Essex which is situated on the Blackwater estuary and surrounded by beautiful countryside with myriad places of interest.  Some might argue that doing this is a waste of time and money.  However, and as stated above, we are not using social media to bombard customers with products, it is more about engagement, community and giving our brand the personality we know it has.

Another point to consider  (I read the post on Smart Insights and similar here) is that search engines are now using social media activity as a ranking factor therefore once again, creating relevant useful content becomes increasingly important.

My final point, and similar to the other guests’ posts regarding the travel industry, is that the retail industry is also going through a revolution.  The worst trading conditions for many years, if not ever, coupled with the internet, have transformed the entire business environment.

Using social media is a great way for businesses, particularly SME’s, to engage with customers and promote their brand at minimal costs.  Although the costs may be minimal (free to setup social media accounts and only time to update them), we believe the strategy and use of social media are only worth our investment providing we adhere to the following methods:

Create a community allowing open dialogue between our business and customers

Provide useful content such as: photos and videos of our business and the surrounding area, product reviews, customer reviews, business opinions and any other information useful to our business and customers

Avoid pushy sales onto people – we believe social media is a place where people want to be totally honest with one another and do not want to be bombarded with commercialism

The following are our main social media priorities in the coming year:

Facebook page: We have started adding photos of Maldon and the surrounding area and are promoting our High Street, business partners and anything else related to this lovely area.  We would also like to run campaigns on here too.  Our Facebook page is more for community, open dialogue and genuine interaction, not sales bombardment.  We have Facebook profiles ourselves so respect the fact not many people want to be always bothered.

Foursquare: As the web transitions into web 3.0, we believe we need to look at location marketing.  Foursquare is perfect for this as it allows users to discuss, tag and share our businesses content directly to their phone.  For example, we could run a campaign whereby the first person to check-in at our High Street store through their mobile device receives a discount, a free product or voucher for use in one of town’s lovely coffee shops and cafes. There are numerous ways marketers can promote their business and engage with fans but it is essential that as a business we look into this now so we can gain experience in this new area of digital marketing.

Twitter: We will use Twitter for relevant updates and links to our content.  The popularity of Twitter indicates that we cannot ignore this social media powerhouse even though the two above appear more commercially useful at present.

LinkedIn: We will use LinkedIn to create a professional profile for our business and make relevant updates when necessary.

Hootsuite: Hootsuite is the excellent software that allows digital marketers to manage and populate these channels since this gives a single place to update the profiles with analytics.  And it’s free!

Conclusion

I am definitely not an expert on social media marketing.  However, from the little experience I do have, I believe businesses should provide relevant and useful content to users but not with the sole intention of trying to gain sales.  Using this approach, you can help shape your brands’ personality, engage and interact with customers, give your business a fantastic public relations platform and also improve your website search engine results position.

How To Track Stocks In Google Sheets

If you want to keep track of the stocks and securities that interest you, you can obtain both real-time and historical data in Google Sheets. Using a Smart Chip or built-in function, you’ll always be up to date on what’s happening with your favorite entities from Google Finance.

How to Use the Finance Smart Chip

With the introduction of the Finance Smart Chip in Google Sheets in early 2023, you can quickly obtain details for stocks, mutual funds, and currencies. The data you see comes from Google Finance.

Enter the ticker symbol into a cell in your sheet.

With the cell selected, do one of the following to insert the Smart Chip:

When Google locates the ticker and data, you’ll see the Smart Chip in the cell.

Hover your cursor over the Smart Chip to see the financial data. The details you see depend on the type of entity. For example, below you can see data for Amazon that includes the name, listing index, price, and market cap.

You’ll be directed to the company’s page on Google Finance.

Did you know? if you trade on multiple different exchanges, you can also convert currencies in Google Sheets.

Remove the Finance Smart Chip

If you want to remove a Finance Smart Chip you’ve added to a cell, do one of two things:

To remove both the chip and the symbol from the cell, select the cell and press your Delete key.

How to Use the GOOGLEFINANCE Function

If you want to obtain specific or historical data, use the GOOGLEFINANCE function in Google Sheets. When you use the formula for this function, you’ll also receive data directly from Google Finance.

The syntax for the formula is GOOGLEFINANCE(symbol, attribute, start_date, end_date, interval), where only the first argument for the ticker symbol is required. You should place each argument in quotation marks.

Before we go through examples, let’s take a look at the arguments:

Symbol: Google requires that you use both the exchange and ticker symbols for the most accurate results. For instance, you would enter “NASDAQ:AMZN.” If you only use the ticker symbol, “AMZN,” Google will choose an exchange for you. You can also use a cell reference for this argument.

Attribute: this is the specific piece of data you want to obtain. The default is “price” if left blank. There are currently over 40 attributes that you can select, depending on whether you want real-time, historical, or mutual fund data. While we are providing a few common attributes in our examples, you can view the full list on the

Google Docs Editors Help page

.

Start_date: for historical data, you can enter the start date. If you include the argument but exclude the next argument for “end_date,” you’ll receive that particular day’s data.

End_date: for historical data, you can enter the end date or the number of days from the start date.

Interval: also for historical data, you can enter “Daily” or “Weekly” for the frequency of the data. Alternatively, you can use the corresponding number 1 or 7, respectively.

Now that you know the syntax for the function’s formula along with the arguments you can use, the following are a few examples of the GOOGLEFINANCE function.

Tip: for tracking stocks on the go, look at these Android investment apps.

GOOGLEFINANCE Function Examples

With the following formula, we are obtaining the current day’s price for Amazon (AMZN). Remember that price is the default attribute if the argument is blank.

=

GOOGLEFINANCE

(

"NASDAQ:AMZN"

)

Using this next formula, we are obtaining the current 52-week high price for Amazon.

=

GOOGLEFINANCE

(

"NASDAQ:AMZN"

,

"HIGH52"

)

Now let’s get some historical data for Amazon. With the following formula, we are obtaining the low price for January 1, 2023.

=

GOOGLEFINANCE

(

"NASDAQ:AMZN"

,

"LOW"

,

"1/1/2024"

)

In another example, we are obtaining the opening price with the same start date and an end date of January 10, 2023.

=

GOOGLEFINANCE

(

"NASDAQ:AMZN"

,

"OPEN"

,

"1/1/2024"

,

"1/10/2024"

)

In this example, we are obtaining the closing price with the same start date, an end date of June 1, 2023, and an interval of weekly.

=

GOOGLEFINANCE

(

"NASDAQ:AMZN"

,

"CLOSE"

,

"1/1/2024"

,

"6/1/2024"

,

"WEEKLY"

)

Note: details you receive may be delayed up to 20 minutes. For additional information, review the Google Finance disclaimer.

Frequently Asked Questions Wasn’t Google Finance discontinued?

The Google Finance mobile app was removed from Google Play in 2024, and the API for Google Finance is no longer available to users. However, the Google Finance website was redesigned and relaunched in 2023 with additional features, and the GOOGLEFINANCE function continues to provide financial data in Google Sheets.

What other types of financial functions does Google Sheets support?

You can do everything from calculate accrued interest to the annual yield of a security in Google Sheets.

For a full list of financial functions, head to the Google Sheets Function List. You can leave the keyword field blank and simply select “Financial” in the “Narrow by” drop-down menu to view the entire list.

Does Microsoft Excel have a stocks feature?

Microsoft 365 subscribers can use the Stocks data type.

Enter a ticker symbol into a cell, go to the “Data” tab, and select “Stocks” in the Data Types section. Select the correct entity in the sidebar that displays, then use the “Insert Data” button that appears next to the cell to insert the stock data you want.

For historical data, you can also look into the STOCKHISTORY function in Excel.

Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Sandy Writtenhouse.

Sandy Writtenhouse

With her BS in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She wanted to help others learn how technology can enrich business and personal lives and has shared her suggestions and how-tos across thousands of articles.

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Google Acquiring Bebo & Plaxo Despite Social Media Revenue Challenges?

On top of the buzz of Microsoft trying to buy Yahoo over the past week, Google has been making some acquisition waves of their own : despite these moves currently being rumors.

Google has been whispered to be going after two very different social networking companies : Bebo and Plaxo.

Bebo & Google :

Bebo is a generalized social network, like Orkut or MySpace would be, with a very solid global following. Erik Schonfield of TechCrunch feels that this is almost a done deal and is “51% sure” the deal will happen. As strong as Orkut is in Brazil and Friendster is in the Pacific Rim, Bebo has a very strong following in the UK and its common wealths; Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

Google would be fortifying itself and its search engine in these markets, which it already dominates and does quite well in. Furthermore, with 21 million users, Bebo would double Google’s hold on social networking, as it now enjoys 24 million users in Orkut.

On the other hand, Google has experienced challenges monetizing MySpace with its Google Search & AdWords partnership. Actually acquiring Bebo could help however, since then no revenue split in the ad network would lead to lowering monetization – nor would the threat of a partner pulling out and going with a Google competitor; like Microsoft-Yahoo!

Plaxo & Google :

According to Megan McCarthy at Wired, Plaxo is on the market for $200 million and Google has become its suitor. Plaxo is a social style application but way different than Bebo and more similar to LinkedIn. Plaxo lets its users keep all of their contacts and address books in a centralized location online.

Given Google’s interest in competing with Facebook by delivering its own social map via its open social projects, Plaxo seems like it would be a very relevant fit into the Google model. Furthermore, services like LinkedIn and Facebook continue to grow as business networking clients. Google needs to be in this industry and Plaxo would get it there almost instantly, connecting Google users via their Google Profiles and Google Accounts.

Social Media Archiving For Government: How To Stay Compliant

#1 Social Media Tool for Government

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What is social media archiving for government agencies?

Social media archiving for government agencies is a component of open records laws. Social media is a public forum, and must be archived as such.

How is social media archiving regulated in the government sector?

Social media archiving regulations vary by country, and even by state. The common component is that social media is generally considered a public record.

The requirements for archiving are quite specific and can include:

Collecting social media metadata

Maintaining a record of content in its original format

Keeping social media records for s specific period of time

Maintaining data in a specific geographic location

Each jurisdiction also has its own privacy regulations. These impact what government agencies can post on social media. For example, the Government of British Columbia has Guidelines for Government Use of Social Media. These specify that the following topics are off-limits:

Anything currently going through the court system

Information about identifiable third parties without statutory authorization

Citizen engagement can encourage people to share personal information on social media. This is especially true when people share photos. This is a particularly important area to consider when thinking about data collection and archiving.

How to archive records on social media and stay compliant

Social media compliance is an ongoing challenge for all government agencies. Especially for those involved in active citizen engagement.

You need a comprehensive strategy for social media archiving. This ensures you have all the records you need to:

comply with legislation

respond to FOI requests,

address First Amendment challenges, and

improve transparency in government.

Set up archiving policies and procedures

Like any good compliance strategy, your archiving system must be built on a solid foundation. Your archiving policies and procedures are the supports upon which all of your recordkeeping is built.

As you build your policies, do a thorough review of the legislation applicable in your jurisdiction to make sure you comply with every detail.

For example, Australia’s privacy and public data policies require social content to be archived in Australian data centers. That means Australian government agencies can only work with archiving solutions that have data storage options within Australia – like Brolly, which is built into Hootsuite.

Build your archiving policies and procedures into your overall social media guidelines. That way, all staff who deal with social media have easy access to your most current policies at all times.

Bonus: Get a free, customizable social media guidelines template to quickly and easily create recommendations for your company and employees.

Be sure to include a clear process for approving new social media accounts. The more accounts your agency uses, the more you need to archive. Does every department need its own social channels? Perhaps they do, but there should be a strategic purpose for each new account. Before any new account goes live, make sure to add it to your archiving process.

Capture and preserve all social media content

Like we said above, social media content is considered part of the public record. That includes ALL social media communication on or with your social channels.

You might wonder why you need a special archive of your social media content. After all, it’s publically available on your social accounts. But social media platforms themselves are private-sector companies. They are not subject to open records laws. That means there’s no guarantee the social platforms will preserve your content forever.

Plus, if you ever delete or edit content, you need to keep a record of those changes. Open records laws require you to archive every version or every post presented to the public.

identifying information,

threats of violence,

profanity,

and so on.

You should even keep a record of all content in which you are tagged or mentioned, since this can count as communication. Monitoring content in which you’re tagged or mentioned is a best practice for all social media users. It’s an important way to understand the conversation about you online. For government agencies, it’s critical.

In other words, you need purpose-built social media archiving tools for government. This is the only way to fully archive the conversation with constituents and comply with the law.

As a side note, social’s designation as a public record means you cannot block people from following your government agency social accounts. Archiving is one part of compliance with public records laws, but it’s by no means the whole picture. Check out our detailed blog post for everything you need to know about compliance for government agencies using social media.

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Include metadata and contextual information

Why? Because a screenshot is just an image, and images can be edited. That’s why social media archiving for government must include metadata and contextual information.

What device they used

An archive with complete metadata and contextual information allows you to reconstruct an entire social media conversation. You’ll have details and content that would otherwise be lost.

Make archived content accessible and searchable

The whole point of archiving open records information is that you can access it and provide it to citizens or journalists that submit a freedom of information request. For that to work, your archive needs to be secure but easily accessible by the appropriate members of your team.

Failure to comply with a freedom of information request or legal challenge can have serious legal and financial consequences. A complete and easy-to-use archive helps protect your agency from lawsuits and other punitive action.

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Audit your process on a regular basis

Social media changes fast. Social media legislation doesn’t move quite as quickly, but you can’t assume it will stay the same forever. And the tools available to archive social media content and improve compliance continue to evolve.

That means you need to review your archiving process regularly. You can choose what “regularly” means to your organization, but plan for a thorough social media audit at least quarterly.

For government agencies, that social media audit should include an audit of your archiving process and procedures.

Make sure any new social media accounts have been added to your archiving system. Review the archiving policies and procedures with staff both old and new. Assign someone on your team to monitor any changes in legislation. Be sure to voice these at the regular reviews if they have not yet been addressed.

Social media archiving with Hootsuite

When choosing your social media archiving tools for government compliance, it’s important to work with a trusted and secure vendor. To ensure the security of government and citizen data, the U.S. government requires all cloud services used by federal agencies to pass the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, aka FedRAMP.

Hootsuite is FedRAMP authorized. This identifies Hootsuite as a viable automated government social media archiving solution. Hootsuite also meets the requirements of FCA, IIROC, SEC, PCI, AMF, and MiFID II. This is why more than 2,000 government and public sector agencies use Hootsuite to manage their social media.

Hootsuite integrates with compliance solutions like ProofPoint and Brolly to keep your government social media presence secure. Brolly specifically creates a secure archive with social content, including context, metadata, links, images, and videos.

Inform and engage constituents, and manage archiving on social media with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can schedule and publish content to every network, monitor relevant conversations, and measure public sentiment around programs and policies with real-time social listening and analytics. See it in action.

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