Business Metrics: Tools for Effective Social Media Measurement

03Apr09

Business Metrics: Tools for Effective Social Media Measurement

One of the hardest things about designing and implementing a social media strategy used to be measuring the success of your social media campaign. Fortunately, over the past 12 months a plethora of measurement tools have entered onto the scene, providing consultants and marketers a like with the right metrics to judge the success/failure of their campaign. In this post, I am going to walk you through a few of my favorite tools, showing you how I use them to monitor and measure my clients’ campaigns.

Before I can go too deep into the tools , however, I do want to re-emphasize that the key to any marketing campaign is clearly defining your campaign goals BEFORE the campaign begins, so you know what to measure and pay attention to. Also, if you clearly define your goals int he beginning, you can work your metrics into your campaign, making measurement easy in the end. Once you have your goals outlined, you can begin choosing which measurement tools are right for you.

The first tool I want to talk about needs little introduction – Google Analytics. Google Analytics offers a host of compelling features and benefits for everyone from senior executives and advertising and marketing professionals to site owners and content developers. You can use Google Analytics to measure traffic to your website, track keywords, compare similar campaigns, search statistics (find out how your visitors search your site, what they look for, and where they end up), compare your results against industry benchmarks, and track purchases from visitors.

For consultants who cannot implement Google Analytics on their client’s websites or blogs, there are some other traffic measuring tools that you can still use. One of my favorites is Compete.com, a consumer behavior measurement tool that is powered by the largest pool of online consumer behavior data in the industry. Their website explains, “Compete.com is the only online competitive intelligence service that combines site and search analytics in one site to help you quickly master online marketing.” I use Compete.com to measure website analytics, search analytics, and referral analytics for my clients. I find the interface extremely friendly, and they have a variety of tools that fit right into your internet toolbar for immediate tracking and results.

Once I have good understanding of where my clients’ traffic stands, I look at metrics specific to social media engagement. I am a very big fan of Radian6, an interactive measurement tool that not only tracks social media conversations across the web, but also provides engagement statistics as well. By utilizing this platform, I am able to measure engagement, track keyword usage, and stay one step ahead of the competition by generating new keywords. There are several different analysis monitors that I like to review:

  • River of News – The River of News (RON) provides a real-time feed of all of posted social media items, as they are discovered, that match your topic profile. Posts appear tagged by type – post, video, picture, tweet or mainstream media. I review all posts to the RON, and pulls out key content, competitor information, and social media chatter about my clients’ brand.
  • Conversation Cloud Monitor – Topic clouds show you the 50 most mentioned words in relation to your topic profile over a specific time-frame defined by the user.
  • Comparative Topic Monitor – The comparative topic monitor widget allows you to total up and compare all mentions of specific key words or phrases for a selected period of time.
  • Topic Trends Monitor – The topic trends widget allows you to track any key words or phrases over a selected period of time.

If you are unable to utilize Radian6 for your campaigns, I suggest looking into SocialMention, a social media search engine that searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos, and microblogging services. It allows you to easily track what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Search results are aggregated from numerous popular social media sources, including Google blog search, Twitter, Delicious, FriendFeed, Flickr, Digg, YouTube etc. and remixed as a single stream of information. The data is fresh, which means you can track conversations as they are happening in real-time. In addition to web-based search results, Social Mention also features email alerts and personalized RSS feeds for automatic and instant updates.

Once I have listened to what is being said about my clients, I use one final tool to finish my reports; BudUrl. BudURL is a simple tracking system that shortens your link and assigns an identifying marker. Anytime that link is followed, the system keeps track of where those responses originate, how many there are and the time frame. This is a really great tool to measure your click-through rates, and you can learn more about how to use it in a blog post made by my partner a few weeks ago.

Once you have compiled the results from all of these tools, you can then begin to analyze your data. For example, did you send out a tweet (tracked by BudUrl) that responded in a jump in website traffic that day? These are the kind of correlations you want to draw from the data.

Stay tuned over the next few days, and I will dive deeper into drawing correlations with this data, after all, knowing how to pull the reports is one thing, but understanding and analyzing the data to make strategic recommendations is another matter all together.

I hope this helped show you where to turn to measure your social media efforts. Send me a comment about some of your favorite tools that I didn’t mention. I would love to hear what else people are using.

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3 Responses to “Business Metrics: Tools for Effective Social Media Measurement”

  1. Hi there!

    Thanks so much for the solid recommendation for Radian6. And if you hadn’t seen it already, that Compete.com data that you love is now available through the dashboard as of our latest release. 🙂

    It’s so refreshing to hear folks talk about putting business goals first and building the metrics in to measure against what makes sense for that goal. It’s the smart way to enter into social media, and as you pointed out, makes measurement and demonstration of results that much easier in the end.

    Cheers,
    Amber Naslund
    Director of Community | Radian6
    @AmberCadabra

  2. This is quite a up-to-date information. I think I’ll share it on Digg.

  3. 3 Unknown

    Hey, nice tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a bottle of beer to that man from that forum who told me to visit your site 🙂


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