Social media analysis the basics of twitter, facebook and you tube

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What are the basic metrics available from three of the most popular social networks - Twitter, Facebook and YouTube? Let’s take a look.

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Social media analysis the basics of twitter, facebook and you tube

  1. 1. © Heather Read Page 1 of 3Social Media Management@heatherreadSocial Media Analysis: the Basics of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube02/14/2012Adapted from article originally published at PRSA Philadelphiaby Heather ReadWhat are the basic metrics available from three of the most popular social networks? Let’s take a look.TwitterThe main metric for Twitter – the ever-popular network that allows you to post updates to everyone ora specific person in less than 140 characters – are posts. Other measurements include messages you’vesent or received; mentions, when a user mentions you in a post; or direct messages, which are sentprivately.Once a post exists, users have the option to select Favorite, Retweet, or Reply. A favorite merelybookmarks the post; a retweet shares the post on your own feed or timeline; and a reply is a messagespecifically sent to you.One of the most impressive features of Twitter is its ability to direct traffic to links embedded withinposts. Usually this is defined as clicks in a monitoring tool. To make sure your analytics are precise, somesocial media management tools offer reports with filtered clicks, which subtract the known bots (orinhuman clicks) from your total clicks number, giving you a more realistic number.These metrics are what we call engagements, meaning how you have interacted with a user on thesocial network. In my opinion, you can classify mentions, replies, and direct messages as “active”engagements. Retweets, clicks, and favorites are “passive” engagements showing users’ differentintents. If you want to build an active and engaged Twitter community around a certain topic, it is moreimportant to have many replies and mentions that indicate you are part of a specific dialogue. In thiscase, I recommend segmenting your reports to compare incoming versus outgoing replies, mentions,and direct messages. This way you can understand how often people are attempting to engage youversus your outbound activity. However, if your goal is to drive people to read content on a blog, whatyou really want to know are how many clicks (or filtered clicks) have there been on the links youembedded. Either way, you’ll want to compare these stats in a few ways: over a period of time, acrossdifferent message styles (pictures vs. links), and with various types of accounts (corporate news vs.customer service).Audience is another major Twitter metric, i.e. your followers. The total impact a message has in theTwitter universe is measured under “reach” (the impressions or audience). The first level reach is thetotal number of users that see a message, as measured by the number of followers of the account thatposted. The second level reach is the amplified audience, combining the original number of followers
  2. 2. © Heather Read Page 2 of 3Social Media Management@heatherreadwith the number of followers of each user that shared the message. For example, @Reuters currentlyhas more than 1.4 million Twitter followers. If the handle posted a story mentioning you and then 100people each with 1,000 followers retweeted the message, your total possible reach (combining first andsecond level) would be more than 1.5 million users. It’s important that you add the caveat that these areonly estimated audience figures because the message only has the likelihood of being in their Twitterfeed. If you do not have a monitoring tool to calculate this number, TweetReach is a good free resource.I also suggest reviewing your follow (or unfollow) growth rate on a regular basis; establish a monthlyaverage and pay attention to whether certain kinds of content result in a significant growth or decline infollowers. Some tools will also tell you the most active dates and times of day for your following base soyou can better understand when to post your messages. Again, if you don’t have a tool to use, freeservices like TwitterCounter and Buffer can help.FacebookLike Twitter, the most basic metric in Facebook is posts, i.e. status updates. Facebook’s analyticsprogram, “Insights”, allows you to sort the performance of your posts according to their type: post,photo, link, video, question, etc.Keep in mind that the main way users will interact with your content is by clicking the Like button,posting a comment, or commenting on your wall if they are allowed. If you allow others to add posts toyour wall, compare the number of comments that user-generated posts achieve verses your own poststo better understand the tone and interest of your Facebook community. Users can also share your postwithin Facebook or reference your page in their own status update. All of these factors affect your“Talking about this” scores, which indicate how viral your message has become.Facebook also provides each page or user with an audience metric. For individual users, this metric iscalled friends. For pages, this used to be known as fans but is now referred to as “Likes.” This representsthe total possible number of people who could see a post in first level reach. In your Insights data, youwill also see a Friends of Fans metric that helps determine how much wider your full amplification couldbe (similar to total reach in Twitter).The main Insights graph allows you to plot all these posts verses people talking about this weekly reach.With the ability to sort this graph by post type, you should be able to quickly discern what types ofcontent stimulate people to talk about you or to share your content.Facebook provides a number of more detailed metrics, including elaborate demographics. I wouldsuggest reviewing this content if your strategic goals are to motivate a specific audience segment towhich you can correlate your Facebook community demographics. While Facebook does provideadditional analytics, you may not find what you are looking for. Third party applications that allow youto organize your Twitter and Facebook posts together by campaign can help you to better compare how
  3. 3. © Heather Read Page 3 of 3Social Media Management@heatherreada single message performed across both networks. They can also provide better comparison ofperformance and virality between user-generated posts and your own.YouTubeYouTube is entirely different. The king metric here is views, the number of times someone has watchedyour video. While YouTube does offer the ability for subscriptions to channels that post content, youdon’t have to be logged into YouTube to view videos. Subscribers are a better indicator of the peoplemost interested to see your content on a regular basis, rather than an ongoing metric of channelsuccess. A better metric to benchmark the size and influence of a YouTube channel is the total numberof video views.YouTube analytics allow you to track engagement metrics across the channel or for individual messages.These include likes, dislikes, comments, shares, favorites added, and favorites removed. In my opinion,the sharing report may be the most useful metric, as it shows how often a video is shared using thesocial sharing buttons embedded under your video. The report also allows you to segment shares bysocial network so you can better align your YouTube performance with the rest of your social mediastrategy.YouTube also allows comments. While in many situations they may be useful, if you work for a largeenterprise or are covering a sensitive topic, you are likely to see a lot of comments that are negative orspam-more than with any other social network. I say this not to dissuade you from allowing comments,but rather to encourage you to use caution in interpreting comment metrics from YouTube in the sameway you might for Facebook.YouTube also allows you to segment your channel or specific video by demographic information.However, the more important reports are playback locations and traffic sources. Playback locations helpyou understand if users are hitting your content directly off the video watch page or from your channel.Traffic source reports allow you to understand the impact that Google search has on driving content toyour traffic as opposed to internal YouTube functions like search or related videos.If your goals included video content or YouTube specifically, I would suggest that the most importantmetrics to track are views and playback and traffic source reports. Reviewing these, along with yoursocial sharing reports, will allow you to plan more strategically designed YouTube content and identifyways to drive traffic to these video assets.

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