Measuring Social Media


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This is an ebook I created for a strategic social media class at the University of Oregon. It breaks down how to measure and communicate the importance of social media initiatives.

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Measuring Social Media

  1. 1. Measuring Social Media Mariah Lincoln Herman University of Oregon @Marlin23 School of Journalism and Communication
  2. 2. Intro to Measurement A problem that a lot of companies are having right now is measuring the success of social media campaigns. An issue that may arise for up and coming public relations and marketing professionals is explaining to a boss that social media is important and beneficial to a company. I have gathered some information that might help if you are asked to explain how to measure social media and why companies should invest time and money into it. Hopefully you will find it helpful.
  3. 3. Why Measure? If your boss asks you to qualify your social media initiative, you can use measurement to concretely show how your time is being spent and why social media is valuable to the organization. “The main reason to measure objectives is not so much to reward or punish an individual communications manager for success or failure, as it is to learn from the research, whether a program should be continued as is, revised, or dropped in favor of another approach.” -James E. Grunig, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland
  4. 4. Getting Started In order to be successful in measuring social media there are six essential steps that need to be clearly defined before implementing the measurement strategy and using the measurement tools. 1. Define your mission and objective. Figure out what it is that you want to accomplish. 2. Define your audiences and find out what motivates them. 3. Define the metrics your company is going to use, these become what you measure (qualitative or quantitative, but preferably both.) 4. Figure out the benchmarks for your data (over time, against competition.) 5. Establish what measurement tools to use. 6. Analyze the results. Data are trivial unless you can do something with it.
  5. 5. What to Measure When implementing a measurement strategy, Katie Paine, expert on measurement, explains that it is important to establish what it is exactly that you need to measure. To figure this out you need to come up with answers for the following questions: Outputs: • Did you get the coverage you wanted? Outtakes: • Did your target audience see the messages? • Did they respond to the messages? Outcomes: • Did audience behavior change? • Did influential members respond? • Did your relationship change? • Did sales increase?
  6. 6. Qualitative It’s important to determine what you want to measure, whether it’s corporate reputation, conversations or customer relationships. These objectives require a more qualitative measurement approach. If the objective is to measure ROI for conversations, start by setting benchmarks with questions like: • Are we a part of the conversations about our product? • How are we talked about compared to our competitors? • Were we able to build better relationships? • Were we able to participate in conversations where we previously had no voice?
  7. 7. Quantitative If the goal is to measure traffic, sales or search engine optimization (SEO) ranking, you can take a more quantitative approach. Look at how many people join your social network in a given period of time, how much activity there is in your forum or what the click- through rate is to your product pages that result in direct sales. By searching for keywords in different online communities, you can create a detailed “blueprint” for engagement, which will be useful for demonstrating success to your boss. The diagram on the right is an example of Brian Solis and Jeff Thomas’ blueprint, called the “Conversation Prism.” Among Many. (2009, April 2 2009) picture posted to
  8. 8. Explore Tools To measure how effective a social media campaign is, the company must observe, listen and engage. There are a variety of tools available that can help your company in measuring different objectives and figure out where your organization is being represented. The Tool Delicious: Delicious is a bookmarking utility that lets you share, organize, and save your bookmarks across the web. What should you measure How many times people bookmark your content
  9. 9. The Tool Google Analytics: This will allow you to track your traffic levels and will allow to identify where your traffic is coming from. What you should measure • Overall traffic increases • Where your traffic is coming from, i.e. digg, twitter • Most trafficked key terms or phrases The Tool Feedburner: Feed burner allows you (and your visitors) to subscribe to your blog via RSS or email. What you should measure • RSS subscribers • Email subscribers The Tool Blog comments: Pretty self explanatory, these are just the comments/feedback users leave on your site. What you should measure • Amount of comments • Quality of comments • Influence of commenter
  10. 10. The Tool Twitter Search/Tweetbeep: Twitter search allows you to search for keywords or phrases in real time, Tweetbeep sends you alerts when someone mentions your particular keyword/phrase/product/etc. What you should measure • How many times your product/company/article/etc. is mentioned. Trend this over time to see progress. The Tool Google Alert: Google alert gives you email notifications when someone mentions a particular keyword or phrases. What you should measure • How many times your is mentioned daily, weekly, monthly. Trend this over time to see progress. The Tool Tweetburner: Tweetburner allows you to track how many times people click on the links you share via Twitter. What should you measure • How many times people are clicking on the links you send out via Twitter. • Track the most popular categories and types of links people click on the most. • Track how active your twitter followers are with you content.
  11. 11. The Tool Yahoo Site Explorer: Yahoo site explorer is a tool created by Yahoo that allows you to track links. What you should measure • The amount of incoming links you receive over time. Other sites that are useful: HowSociable? - Free tool that measures the visibility of a brand on the web across 22 metrics. Technorati - Technorati search page allows you to search for blogs based on tags. Alexa - Comparative site traffic reports. Includes estimated reach, rank and page views. Google Insights - Compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, and time frames. Flock- is a web browser that provides social networking and Web 2.0 facilities built into its user interface. It’s a feedreader supporting Atom, RSS and Media RSS feeds. Blog editor and reader, allowing direct posting into any designated blog. - URL cruncher with dashboard metrics enables measurement of number of clicks, countries clicked from, conversations around the site etc. Adonomics - Facebook analytics and developer application tracks and produces graphs.
  12. 12. Measure By using the tools above you can measure a lot of different aspects of your social media initiative. In order to demonstrate, to your boss, the effectiveness and success of your efforts make sure you measure the following aspects: 1. Traffic: This is one of the more obvious ways of measuring social media. How many people visit your website, Facebook page, unique visits, page views, linkbacks, etc.
  13. 13. 2. Interaction: Participation is a valuable indicator for many brands. It says something about the kind of traffic you are attracting. Remember that an engaged customer is a highly valuable one. Interaction can be anything from leaving comments, to participating in support forums, to leaving customer reviews and ratings. It can happen on your website and on other websites. 3. Search Marketing: A well placed story/video/image on a site like Digg will generate a lot of traffic and a link from Digg itself. Even better it will generate interest from bloggers and major publishers. The more links and referrals, the better your chance of being placed highly on Google, resulting in lots of ongoing traffic. 4. Customer Engagement: Engagement is key to improving satisfaction, loyalty rates, and revenue. By listening to customers, and letting them know that you are listening, you can improve your business, your products, and your levels of service.
  14. 14. 6. Sales: Companies can track sales from Google referrals and monitor customer feedback through sites like Twitter, as well as their own website. Dell discovered that it made $1m from Twitter in 18 months. 7. Retention: A positive side effect of increased customer engagement is an increase in customer retention. Zappos, which is a case study in how to do Twitter, made $1bn in sales, and 75% of its orders are from repeat customers. 8. Profits: If you can improve customer retention and engage customers more often, the result will be that you’ll generate more business from your existing customer base. This reduces your reliance on big customer acquisition budgets to maintain or grow profits. It makes for a more profitable and efficient organization.
  15. 15. One of the biggest worries executive have is negative brand perception resulting from bloggers rants or Tweets. The loss of message and brand control intimidates companies, and often times prevents them from engaging in social media. Companies need to look at these situations as opportunities to engage their customers and communities. By doing so, organizations can turn around negative perceptions and build a loyal following. Take Dell Computers for example. This company has experienced a significant turnaround within the world of social media, transitioning from “Dell Hell” to a very loyal community on its sites. Four years ago Jeff Jarvis bought a Dell computer and was having a lot of problems and got no response from the customer service department. He decided to use BuzzMachine to blast Dell saying “DELL SUCKS. DELL LIES. Put that in your Google and smoke it, Dell.” His first post generated 93 comments, the next few generated more than 1,000. Since then Dell has changed some major operational procedures: • Michae Dell returned to run the company after three years • Overall quality was improved • Dell began participating with bloggers and social media experts. The Dell community has become a strong and loyal forum, and it is working for Dell. The company listens, participates transparently, honestly and openly. They even admit when there is a defect with their products, and allow customers to voice suggestions on Ideastorm. Statistics: • At start of program, 49% of blog posts were negative. Today, overall tonality is 22% negative. • Direct2Dell currently ranked about 700 on Technorati, among the highest corporate blogs. • Direct2Dell gets more than 5 million unique views per month. • Over 7000 ideas have been submitted via IdeaStorm. • Studio Dell is gets more than 200,000 views per month.
  16. 16. Success Measuring and monitoring your social media initiative is an ongoing process. The process has many benefits like lower cost per customer acquisition, because it enables you to be found by customers looking to buy what you have to sell: It lowers the entire cost of the marketing to sales process. It also lowers the cost of market research; because it enables you to listen in on the conversations, you can better tailor your products to what the marketplace wants or needs. The objective of a social media campaign is to participate in the conversation, to enhance your relationship with your audiences and become a trusted member of the community that surrounds your brand. If you have monitored and engaged in the conversation, then your measures should prove that you’ve done those things. If you follow these steps and continue to monitor the conversation, you should be able to clearly communicate the success of your campaign.
  17. 17. Sources Geoliv. (2007, October 23). Dell’s Incredible Turnaround. Message posted to Macnamara, J. (2009, January 11). Measuring Up: 10 Social Media Metrics. Message posted to 109/macnamarasocialmedia1-1-09.asp McDougall, M. (2009, March 26). How Do You Measure Social Media Marketin?-Metrics and Analysis. Message posted to social-media-marketing-metrics-and-analysis/ Owyang, J. (2008, October 16). Social Media Measurement: Dashboard Vs. GPS. Message posted to Patterson, L. (2008, November 18). Measuring Social Marketing and Media. Message posted to patterson.asp Straley, B. (2009, February 19). How to Measure Social Media ROI. Message posted to titled.html?fbid=lQRWsQ5EXlc Uhrmacher, A.(2008, July 31). How to Measure Social Media ROI for Business. Message posted to for-business/ Referenced multiple posts from: Paine, K. KD Paine’s Measurement Blog. Messages posted to
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