Before we get into the social media tools I just want to touch briefly on some basic evaluation principles. When it comes to social media, people tend to get very hung up on the tools – but that is putting the cart before the horse. The basic steps for evaluating “programs” are to engage stakeholders, focus your evaluation, collect data, analyze and interpret data and then USE that information. In the case of social media, presumably it is either part of a program or possibly it’s own “campaign”. The basic process will remain the same either way. So as you get started with your evaluation don’t forget to identify and engage your stakeholders throughout the process. [see if you can get an example of a project/program using social media that can use as an example]Briefly discuss who those stakeholders might be – might be a little different for social media.
Focusing the evaluation means identifying your evaluation questions – what are you trying to find out? In this case we may just be looking at the social media aspect of a larger program. Some appropriate questions might be, “how many people are we reaching consistently”, “are these people engaging with us” (i.e. conversing), “are we reaching new or different audiences?” “how are we reaching those audiences?” Figure out what type of information is going to answer your questions? There is nothing more frustrating than conducting an evaluation and realizing that you haven’t really found out what you wanted to. Knowing the indicators or type of information will help you with designing the overall evaluation. The rest of this presentation is really going to focus on the tools that are available to help you gather relevant data.
If you are interested in measuring sentiment – i.e. how do people feel about or percieve your program you’ll want to use a content analysis tool. Survey Research Tools will help you measure attitudes, perceptions or behaviorsAnd Analytics tools will help you measure reach, enagagement or action.Now, of course there are different “types” of tools including all purpose tools, combination tools, content analysis tools and analytics.
Content Analysis is a pretty challenging and time consumer type of analysis to undertake. Marketers like to use content anaylsis to measure sentiment and there are plenty of companies out there that will do this for you, if you have a nice big budget! If you don’t have a big budget, here are a couple of options. I used Altas.ti to do some content analysis for the NEVC – it was very time consuming but the information was good and gave me a good sense of what types of comments people were making via twitter. There are also a couple of free spreadsheets available that will measure sentiment for you. One is from Excel and the other from Google.
There is a free Analytics for Twitter add-on that can be downloaded from Excel. It has a “tone” feature. This is a screenshot of a query I ran for the #MFLN hashtag showing the sentiment for a week of tweets. For our type of work the sentiment tends to be neutral but you can see how this would be helpful for a brand or hashtag that has more users. You can also do some tweaking on the difinitions of postiive, negative and neutral.
There is a myriad of tools available at a variety of pricepoints to help you survey your clientelle. Of course these assume that you know who your clients are and how to reach them. It is possible to use some of these tools to imbed on web pages or even use links in twitter or facebook. This is more “traditional” survey work that requires a good reliable and valid survey instrument so if this is the way you decide to go be sure to get a good instrument or methodologist to work with.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with Google Analytics so I won’t go in depth other than to say that this probably your best, most versatile tool for figuring what is happening with your web pages. It’s free, relatively easy to use and allows you to learn quite a bit about your audience and their behavior. Since it was updated in January you can also get real time analytics and a better sense of social engagement. If one of the goals of your social media efforts is to drive people to information/resources etc on a web site than this is an invaluable tool to help you figure out if that is happening.
TweetReach is another nice tool for measuring reach and engagement with Twitter. The free version will allow you to run a report similar to this one. Let’s pause here and talk about what we can do with this information. This report tells you how many accounts you’ve reached in a given time period, which is interesting and it’s nice to see growth but what does it really mean? This is an exciting metric for us because of the retweet from Howard Rheingold but what will be even cooler is to see if that additional reach results in something like more followers who will then over time engage with us as that is one of our primary goals, engagement.
You have your data, now what? The data is really your what? There are two more questions to answer, so what and now what? So what does your data tell you? All those numbers and word clouds must mean something. Once you have your data, ask yourself so what? So what if we have 5 more facebook likes this month? What does that mean? Who likes us? Then you have the information you need to take action!
Social Media Measurement
Evaluating Social MediaSarah Baughman, Ph.D.Military Families InitiativeeXtension
Other Analytics tools• SWIX• TweetStats• Klout• Google Spreadsheet 11
Tool Type So What? Pros ConsAtlas.ti Content Analysis Sentiment Deeper Understanding Expensive What’s really happening Difficult to useExcel for Combination Tool Sentiment Free Remember to runTwitter Analytics Nice charts regularly Content VersatilityGoogle All-Purpose Goals being met? Free ChangesAnalytics How are people interacting Fairly easy to master Requires IT support to with my page? get startedFacebook Analytics Reach Free Tendency to changeInsights Engagement Easy to Master Audience & TrendsTweetReach Analytics Reach Can be Free Pay to get full use Engagement Generates nice reports Remember to runKlout Analytics Personal level analysis Free Changes Influence Simple to use Less credibleSWX Combination Reach Engagement and Low-Cost Limited usefulness Trends across mediums Simple to useGoogle Combination Sentiment Free Challenging to getSpreadsheet Analytics Versatile started Content AnalysisTweetStats Analytics Timing Free Limited usefulness Personal level analysis Simple to use
What now?Take Actionon yourdata! http://www.flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/