Want to find out your online influence?

Originally posted on Oct. 8, 2010 on the Olson Communications company blog. Republished with permission. See original post here, and follow Olson Communication on Twitter: @olson_comm

We have the magic bullet for tracking your social media ROI. Well not exactly, but almost — and it’s free! If you have been wondering who’s paying attention to you on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else, check out tiny.cc. Tiny.cc is a site that shortens your extra-long URLs for easy tweeting and then provides real-time analytics, allowing you to measure exactly how much influence you have!

Here’s how it works: I tweeted a CNN article the other day, and tiny.cc shows that my Tweet link received 103 clicks, including at least 11 from outside the country:

Check out the full page of analytics here: http://tiny.cc/5wze4~

Is tiny.cc breaking news? Not quite, click-tracking has been around for a while. Plus, if you’re linking to your website, you should already have detailed statistics about the sources of your web traffic.

However, tiny.cc is currently the best in the business for click-tracking analytics on social media, even if you’re linking to someone else’s site. Alternatives? Well, http://bit.ly/ used to be a fantastic click-tracking option, but not anymore — the site’s software appears to have some serious bugs. Case in point, check out how many clicks bit.ly says the Phoenix New Times received for an account with 4,800 followers:

Check out bit.ly’s analytics here: http://bit.ly/di6crU+

I’m almost certain that number is wrong – only 12 clicks for 4,800 followers? Yeah, right. Obviously, it’s difficult to be sure. However, I did a casual survey of big news websites and found most of bit.ly’s numbers to be questionable.

Want to try it yourself? Find any bit.ly link and add a “+” so you get links like this:

The Economist

CNN

FOX News

New York Times

How did that FOX News tweet get 1,500+ clicks and CNN’s tweet only received about 300? Maybe those numbers are correct, though the FOX Twitter account has 300,000 followers and CNN has 1.3 million. Probable answer: bit.ly is unreliable and inconsistent. It works sometimes, it doesn’t work others.

In short, if you just want a shortened link with fuzzy-at-best analytics, use bit.ly.  If you want reliable, real-time analytics, use tiny.cc. And if you want to see analytics for anyone’s tiny.cc links, add “~” at the end of the link. Like this.

Finally and for kicks, we’ll update with how many clicks I get for tweeting to this post. What do you think? 50? 100?

Update: With a few tweets & Facebook posts, our tiny.cc link received 169 clicks by Monday morning. 166 of those were unique, 3 were return visits.

Update #2: Tiny.cc appears to be having a few bugs today in its real-time analytics tracking. Namely: some charts aren’t showing up properly (though the basic click tracking works). Ah, the irony.

Editor’s note: Matt Culbertson is an intern at Olson Communications. Follow him on Twitter: @mattculbertson

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