Thursday, March 11, 2010

Social Media Metrics. Plus the right way to use social media vs. the wrong way to do social media. {DesaraeV | Social Media Strategy | Agency Couture}

An effective social media campaign requires some form of ROI {Return on Investment}, if not how does the business stay afloat?

According to 2009 Mzinga & Babson Executive Education study, over 80% of professionals do not measure ROI for their company’s social media programs.
Are these the same companies who spam me that they are hot and horny via Twitter, or just the ones who tweet twice and never return? I'm guessing it is the ladder, you know those of you who hop on social media and tweet a ton but it's 20% retweets, 40% selling me something, 20% marketing, 20% your blog,  and 0% monitoring the conversation, listening or talking to potential prospects. There is no perfect way to do this, but their is the wrong way.



The wrong way to do social media includes:

  • Spamming, bots, or porn references
  • Broadcasting or if over 50% of your posts include links to your site, blog or sales page (unless you set up a secondary twitter for that and that twitter has more content than just YOUR stuff).
  • You never talk to anyone, ever. I don't care if you don't follow anyone but your mom and have a big tattoo of her on your right arm. You have two ears and opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.
  • Following people just because you want to feel popular. If you never talk to that person, or if that person is a bot what good are you doing them? Build a damn relationship, doggonit!
Social Media Metrics, What Can I Monitor?

According to SocialTimes, Marketing Sherpa’s survey of 2,000+ marketers shows the following three social metrics at the top of what’s being measured:
  1. Visitors and sources of traffic
  2. Network size (followers, fans, members)
  3. Quantity of commentary about brand or product
This is followed by sentiment, SEO, leads, achieving pre-set objectives, engagement with bloggers, journalists, Twitterers, sales conversions, social media coverage, profile audiences. Might I add your database and connecting the dots on how you met someone. We could also include offline press coverage, number of real life meetings, "viral" content including retweets and video viewership. Links being clicked may be another easy source.

Let's break some of these down.

Top Social Media Metrics + Tools to rack Social Media Metrics
Social Media Monitoring: Track. Analyze. Improve.

10. Social Networking: Increase in Profiles and Usage

Is this NING, Facebook or a custom social network? You can tell how many people are part of your network, fan page or group and which ones are actively participating by commenting or just showing up. This is called engagement.

Their is more than one way to monitor engagement including duration, membership increase, and what the members are interacting with.

To reword that:
  • How long are people on your site or Facebook Fan Page?
  • How many people are follow you on Twitter or are friends with you on Facebook? Are they telling their friends and how quickly are your friendships increasing without you spamming them. Are people befriending you because of a link on your website? As your network grows is site interaction growing?
  • Are your friends or followings chatting with you on Twitter, commenting on Facebook wall posts and when they go to your website what are they looking at?

Tool for Social Media Engagement Monitoring:
If you are looking to track, measure and engage sites like Twitter, YouTube, blogs, videos, forums, boards, Flickr, Google Buzz, LinkedIn, Facebook fan pages, public discussion groups, and mainstream news sites then Radian6, is the leader with their Engagement Console.    You can custom organize your conversations into stacks of broad or specific topics, tagged customer lists, media types or user assignment.

You may also want to check out:
  • Techrigy
  • Hubspot
  • Google Alerts - this will help you monitor your brand name, your name and related keywords. It's also FREE.
  • Scout Labs 
  • Visible Measures 
  • Viralheat 
  • HootSuite -- FREE
  • PeopleBrowsr

9. Social Media Monitoring Sentiment

 There isn't really a tool that can cut through the bullshit and flat out tell you if a comment or blog post about you is positive/negative/neutral. Heck, just that I said bullshit in this post twice will probably flag Radian6 that I may be talking negatively about them, when I'm clearly singing their praises.

Just think about how many times you've had a conversation and can't tell if someone is joking with you or not. You can't see their emotion or facial expression. If you can't figure it out, I wouldn't expect a computer to be able to either. There are some tools that will help make it easier for you though and a blog post to help you determine what is good, bad, and neutral: Sentiment Tagging Guide.

Monitoring Tools:
  • Radian6
  • ReputationHQ -- Local
  • Sentiment Metrics
8. Social Media Monitoring SEO (search engine optimization) + Page Rank

Search engine optimization is normally tracked by referral sources, bounce rates, time on site, keyword visits, and content reports by page (top content, content by title, top landing pages). In the long run your main goal in tracking these golden eggs is to receive a high and ever-coveted Google PageRank. Meaning when someone searches for your website organically you show up high on the list and lots of people can easily find you.

You can tell if lots of people are coming to your website via social media by looking at the referral sources. Then you can see what interested them by looking at your content reports. You can also track if they came from social media by always using a tool like bit.ly whenever you put out a link via a social network.

The next step is to optimize your site if you ever want to make a sale. Remember your index page is not always going to be someones main landing page for your site. You can tell if they hate it or if they content isn't self-explanatory by how high your bounce rate is. The bounce rate is when someone lands on a page of your site and leaves very quickly. If this happens your page may just need better content. An easy way to get people to stick around longer is to develop a video or two. The best thing you can do is to hire a good copy writer or SEO team.

A free tool you can use to track all this SEO data is Google.com/Analytics and a free optimizer is Google.com/optimizer you can find words and trends you should write about in your blog using google.com/trends, google.com/news, google.com/insights, or google.com/keywords.

7. Social Media Monitoring Leads + Sales Conversions

If you allow your friends and followers to become an affiliate of your site and offer them any percentage they may start using that link to refer people back to your site, and thus making it easier to track where your leads are coming from. Another easy way is to just ask people how they found you, but please don't make it a big long annoying form with 50+ drop down menus. Usability is key, meaning ease of use is important.

If you are already tracking your site referral sources thanks to Google Analytics and everything I wrote in #6 than you should know which sites are sending you the most traffic. Based off that information, if you have one clear winner I would probably recommend putting more energy in the winner. Keep in mind social networks come and go so don't put all your eggs in one pretend social media basket. Be flexible and always looking ahead. You can also use Google Social Circle to see how you are connected to people. This tool will let you know which of your friends know each other and are on similar networks.

Consider setting up a database to track how you know people, ways to contact them, where you met, their preferences, favorite food/wine, and their favorite method of being contacted. Batchbook is one option for tracking your social CRM.

Social Media Conversions. Meaning sales, the true test of your return on investment. What do you need your users to do? Plan ahead for your goals, because if you are hiring a community manager this will be the quickest test if they are winning or failing for you. If your company is a blog and you run off Google Adsense then you need subscriptions. If you own a Facebook application then you need to track how many people use it. Sales maybe tracked from an eCommerce website, or CRM. You may even track contact forms. This all depends on what your product is.

6. Achieving Pre-set Social Media objectives

Set up goals. This whole list gives you examples of goals. The important part is why you are setting them. Having a million followers on Twitter is great, but why? Now having a million people genuinely fawning over your brand's every tweet or wanting to see what MacHeist is up to, now that is a bird of a prettier feather.

How do you get there? Well you start with a genuinely interesting  product or brand outside of that social network, one that people can fall in love with like MacHeist, WineLibraryTV, Target or Zappos and then add value using Twitter. Offer them insight into your brand, the first chance at buying newly released products, giving them weekly contests for freebies or just all around sucking and needing to have an entire group of social media strategists monitoring the entire web for someone to say that they need ComcastCares for immediate online support because offline is too hard to talk to a person.

Keep in mind that social media strategy isn't perfect, but it's not that much different from business strategy. Be flexible and be prepared for failure, but don't settle for failure.

5. Social Media Monitoring: Engagement with Content Creators including Bloggers, Journalists, Twitterers, the Media, Vloggers and Photographers

Who have you met lately, how many people have you talked to and how many bloggers can you get to write about your brand, product or service? If you skipped down to this section then you need to go back and read #10 first because it offers a list of tools to help with this.

If you want people to make videos of you or blog about you, you either need to hire them or inspire them. Either way it's probably going to cost you something. In many cases a sample of you product is more than enough. I've happily blogged about free books that publishers have sent me and gadgets that come my way, even if they are just trials. Keep in mind though, once they have your product their is no guarantee the feedback will be positive. You can't force someone to love you.

Inspiring someone can be as easy as making a nice video or commercial. You can have a contest or you can simply ask someone to blog about your company. Generally $50-$200 per post helps. Keep in mind if you give someone something (a sample or money) that they legally have to disclose that information somewhere in their blog post, it's an FCC rule that came out this year. If you inspire them of their own free will, no disclosure needed.

If you have a specific link, picture, or other information you'd like them to add to their post be brief and put all of that in your introduction email to them. I write more about this here: How to Request Bloggers to Write Product or Service Reviews

4. Social Media Coverage + Content Creation

If you are looking to have people read your tweets a lot and retweet for you than you want to not overwhelm them as an over-tweeter. I'm a ton more likely to follow someone on my phone who only tweets a couple times a day. That being said, I over tweet daily and people still read my stuff, God only knows why.

If you want people to interact with your blog posts, ask questions. If you want them to tweet your blog post use addthis.com for any blog or disquis for wordpress. Also consider adding tools that allow them to share your blog posts with stumble upon, digg, reddit, Propeller, Mixx and delicious. Make commenting easy and convenient. 

Cross promote your content on Facebook, Linkedin, and other places like Twitter. If you know a particular post will interest someone, let them know. Make it easy for people to get your content. Encourage people to subscribe to your blog by making the subscribe button big and convenient. Not everyone realizes that the RSS button is also always at the top of their browser next to the url.

People inherently like to be talked about positively. Talk about cool and interesting people in your industry who are smart, funny and innovative. Then tell them that you wrote about them, or tell them ahead you want an interview. I bet they read that post and probably even share it.

If you want something to go "VIRAL" than consider doing something outrageous, unique, funny and eye catching. You want someone to easily recognize it as cool, to do this you need it to be skimmable. In the first 30 seconds of looking at it, it should look interesting.

Vlogging:
If videos are your thing, consider using TubeMogul. This way you can track multiple video sites at once and upload your video to multiple sites at once. YouTube has built in metrics and is the second most used search engine (second to Google). You want a lot of eyes? Make a video or two. If you blog add those videos to your blog. Use your content.

#3 Social Media Monitoring: Quantity of commentary about brand or product
Quality vs. Quantity is not an argument I want to get into anymore in this post. Every brand wants to be talked about, some don't even care if the PR is negative. Now that word of mouth rules the earth, you may want to rethink no PR is bad PR. Your brand may be the next infamous Toyota with bad brakes. Then again, if you want a ton of hits on your site in a really short period of time that is one way to do it.
If you are already tracking how many people interact with your brand, and it's a significant number than you may want to also measure sentiment and quantity of mentions. While you are doing this consider tracking what time of day and what day of the month someone mentions you. I bet when your blog posts go out there is a significant increase, any press release, any negative news, new product launch, big event or newsletter release.  You can track all of these by using Google analytics and just writing down important events or using tools like Radian6 or Hubspot.

A few more top twitter tools: summize, hootsuite, tweetie, and tweet deck

The Second most Monitored Metric for Social Media: Social Network size (followers, fans, members)

How many people are members of your Ning site? How many people are fans of your Facebook Business Page? Who is tweet stalking you, I mean following you on Twitter? Now use something like Radian6, BatchBook, Google Social Circle, Plaxo, Multiply or your own database to merge names and get rid of duplicates to find out how many fans you truely have.

Consider what percentage of those people actually visit your site regularly, read your blog and then are inspired enough to comment, retweet or email you a quick reply. My friend Mark Drapeau says you should track Thank You's. More information on that post is here: @Cheeky_Geeky Social Media Metrics: Count Thank You's, Not Click-Throughs 

Remember you get out of social media what you put into it. So if you want people to interact with you, you may need to do a little initiating. Court your followers.

The #1 Metric for Social Media Monitoring: Visitors and sources of traffic

The number one metric that companies are using is monitoring how many visitors visit their sites, accounts, profiles or blog. Then they track where they go, just like they normally would with SEO and their CRM. Read more about that in #8.

If your company is a Facebook application it is easy to track this using Facebook analytics. If they are meeting up with your company by watching your YouTube videos, then you have YouTube Insights. For every site their is a tool and if not start using bit.ly

More tools:
  • AnalyticsApp on iphone by analyticsapp.com  
  • filtrbox 
  • trackur (Free version available)
  • TweeBeep
  • SocialOomph

Was this post helpful or insightful? Now it is YOUR turn to help ME out. If you like my posts, I want to hear from you. Please comment on my blog, retweet this post to your friends or add it to Digg.

Photo credit: by Esparta

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2 comments:

Dave Folkens said...

I think one of the misconceptions around SM monitoring is that you need to have a monster program set up to do so. It can easily seem imposing but there are a lot of ways for companies of all sizes to measure their investment (time, funds, promotional outlays) in social media and many of them are simple. You hit on some good ones like having a specific goal in mind for the program, measuring new leads/signups, and the seemingly obvious point of traffic patterns. All of these can be set up with simple, free tools.

Whatever the business, there should be a reason for participation in social media. Once that's defined, spend a few extra minutes each day to measure the progress made, and just as importantly, catch anything that isn't working early. Those learnings are often as important as the wins!

Katie said...

Dave took some of the words right out of my mouth! He's correct that there are a variety of great ways for companies of all sizes to measure their investment and returns from social media efforts. The first steps are often the ones that you defined, such as knowing what your goals are before you begin.

Cheers for the kind words and the Radian6 mention.

Katie Morse
@misskatiemo | Radian6

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