Social media analysis: Understanding keywords

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You should now know how to set up goals and use the measurements provided by social networks like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to start a social media campaign. The next step in creating your social …

You should now know how to set up goals and use the measurements provided by social networks like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to start a social media campaign. The next step in creating your social media program is to establish regular monitoring about your company and/or the topics your program will address. To do so you need to understand keywords.

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  • 1. © Heather Read Page 1 of 3Social Media Management@heatherreadSocial Media Analysis: Understanding Keywords04/20/2012Adapted from article originally published at PRSA Philadelphiaby Heather ReadYou should now know how to set up goals and use the measurements provided by social networks likeTwitter, Facebook and YouTube to start a social media campaign. The next step in creating your socialmedia program is to establish regular monitoring about your company and/or the topics your programwill address. To do so you need to understand keywords.Inclusive KeywordsSocial media language isn’t always straightforward when it comes to setting up a search. Before you canmeasure, you need to understand how your company is being discussed. This is especially difficult if youhave a very common name. Say for example, Orange. If you were to just search for “Orange” on Twitter,you’d get posts about the telecommunications company, about people enjoying an orange they ate,orange juice they drank, locations with Orange in the street name, or links to Amazon.com with everyorange-something product under the sun.To get the best keywords, identify if there are regular words that people include with your companyname that could narrow the search. For example, if your company is actually called Orange Baskets andyou sell fruit baskets, in your keyword set you will always want to include the word “basket” or“baskets.” To best identify inclusive terms, think of all the possible ways users could talk about you-whether its product names, how they use your product, categories, industry terms, etc. List them out ona page and see how they fit together. Get rid of those that overlap or are too broad. Be careful in howyou select inclusive terms, especially for Twitter, as using too many terms or being too narrow in yourfocus can result in missing something. Using a phrase is also a good approach, but be simple and limityourself to just a few words.Exclusive KeywordsJust like inclusive words are used to narrow the search, excluding certain words can also help refine theresults. To identify the right words, pick the words that appear most often in irrelevant posts. Even if wewere to see examples of someone talking about “my Orange contract,” which discusses their cell phoneplan with the telecommunications company named Orange, “contract” may not be what you pick toexclude. Excluding this one term could make you miss a tweet from a supplier talking about a contractthey just signed with Orange the fruit company.In this example, I’d recommend these words as exclusions: cell phone, wireless, juice, street, st(abbreviation for street), and everything on www.amazon.com. I did not pick terms like “ate” or “cell”
  • 2. © Heather Read Page 2 of 3Social Media Management@heatherread(also short for cellophane) to exclude because they are too closely tied to the kind of products OrangeBaskets sells.To move forward with your exclusions list, jot down all the commonly irrelevant words, and comparethem to your inclusive list to make sure combining them won’t exclude a relevant conversation. Beprepared to add to your exclusions list regularly, but be aware that Twitter and even advancedmonitoring vendors have character limits which make very long exclusion lists problematic.Setting up the searchNow that you have a list of inclusive and exclusive terms, you need to know how to put them together.With most search tools, either basic or advanced search operations are used. This means pairing AND orOR with the set of keywords, including words together through the use of quotation marks andparenthesis. Exclusions are typically added by using AND NOT or simply a minus sign.In our example above, our initial search would likely look like:“Orange Baskets” OR (“Orange AND Baskets” OR “Orange AND Baskets” OR “gift AND OrangeAND produce”) -”cell phone” -wireless – juice -street -stRecall, we also wanted to block things from Amazon.com. Some monitoring tools will allow you tocreate a source filter list where you would add in http://www.amazon.com as a source and then add itto what you want to block. If that is not an option, you can try simply using: AND NOT amazon.com.The basic search that we have above may not always be entirely useful as it’s still very broad. Somemonitoring tools also allow you to use proximity search, which means that you can include or excludekeywords within a certain number of words of each other. In our example, if the mapping of inclusivekeywords indicated that for purchases of Orange Baskets products people usually will use the wordsorange, basket and gift within five words of each other, we would be better to use a proximity search.Social network specific nuancesTwitter, unlike any other social network, has the most peculiarities to consider when setting up socialmedia monitoring. The biggest issues to keep in mind are hashtags. Just because you use the word “gift”doesn’t mean that you will pick up mentions of “#gift” which uses a hashtag. You need to be very clearabout how to use your monitoring tool and how it treats instances like that. The result could be a lotmore keywords to include up front. To capture twitter conversation, in most cases you should also addkey phrases as one-word hashtags.Also keep in mind that hashtags evolve and can be seemingly unrelated to the actual topic. You mayfollow #socialmedia as a hashtag on Twitter for general updates, but if you were interested in watchingthe conversation about emergency managers’ use of social media specifically, you would need to add#smem as an inclusive keyword to your search. Often you will pick up these new hashtags by reviewing
  • 3. © Heather Read Page 3 of 3Social Media Management@heatherreadthe post text from the main set of monitoring, or from blog posts that provide instructions to users onhow to communicate about the topic.The use of location check-in services like FourSquare also has a serious effect on your search for Twitter.Locations with street names that are similar to your name can often fill up your search results. If this isthe case, you need to be more specific about the keyword exclusions you are using regarding addressnames.Finally, both Twitter and Facebook have the problem of trying to block usernames that contain yourkeywords in them. By this, I mean an example such as Orange Baskets blocking a Twitter user called@Orange_Smith who frequently posts about gift baskets she buys. Some monitoring tools allow you toadd Twitter or Facebook usernames to a source list for blocking. But this doesn’t mean it will blockmentions of that user by others-specifically, on Twitter this means @replies, mentions and Retweets.Overall, monitoring is a critical piece in measuring the success of your social media program andknowing whether you are meeting your goals, as well as calculating your impact on the overallconversation. I highly recommend investing in a professional social media monitoring tool, as there isonly so much you can analyze by creating a Twitter search on a hashtag or single keyword.