By Alexandra Reid
This is part two of my three-part series on monitoring, managing and measuring social media. In a previous post, I discussed a range of tools for monitoring social media and how to use them to their best effect. This week, I’ll teach you about modern, yet free and simple, management methods that I use to organise the information that ours in from my monitoring efforts.
Choosing what to track
Online tools such as Google Analytics, HootSuite, Social Mention, Kurrently and others provide users with excessive amounts of information that can be hard to digest. In my previous post, I explained how to channel the waterfall of information into relevant streams and then filter out the content that is most relevant to you. Part of the management function is to understand what it is your business wants to get out of social media. Knowing the long-term goals and key performance indicators will help you narrow your focus and determine exactly what it is you need to track.
My first recommendation is to appoint a community manager, either internal or external to your business, to ensure these channels are managed on an ongoing basis. If you have higher officials in charge of planning strategy for your social media efforts, ensure that your community manager is kept in the loop or else he or she won’t know what to work towards.
Listed below are some popular reasons businesses engage through social media. In each case, I have provided some examples of what you should track to help you plot your progress. Because this post is meant for newcomers, I have limited the number of tools to those that allow for multiple functions to keep things simple. There are a plethora of other tools that could be used to extrapolate this information, which I may cover in a later post. However, I’ve found that using just a couple tools and charts is the best way to start.
- Google Analytics: “Referral Traffic” found in Google Analytic’s reports will provide you with the percentage of your daily page views that come from referred sites, which include social media.
- bit.ly: If you run a blog or are frequently sharing links to your site, you can use bit.ly to track the number of click-throughs on content to your site.
- Hootsuite Analytics: This tool allows you to track a number of different metrics. For information on website traffic, track twitter to web conversion, traffic by region, sources of traffic, top content, keywords that attract attention and top referrers of your content.
Brand awareness, reputation and influence
- Hootsuite Analytics: In addition to the metrics listed above, Hootsuite Analytics also provides information on mentions of your brand by influencers, follower growth, Twitter sentiment, daily Facebook likes and “sparkliness” of your content, determined by the level of viewer engagement on your content.
Customer relationships, retention and feedback
For me, the best way to keep track of this is manually. I suggest creating a spreadsheet that will help you organise the content pulled through your monitoring efforts. Headings could include, “mention” (copy and paste the mention verbatim), “user” (who made the comment), “channel” (where the comment was made), “acknowledged” (place a check mark next to the mentions that were acknowledged by the community manager), “response” (how the community manager responded) and “further action” (does the mention require follow up?).
Also, distinguish between mentions that are short-term, requiring only quick responses, or long-term, which could provide actionable insight and therefore should be documented. Mentions also need to be categorized as “high priority,” “medium priority,” and “low priority.” As I said in my previous post, in general, high-priority mentions are those of extreme sentiment, be those urgent requirements, passionate criticisms or praise. Medium priority could be shares of your content and neutral mentions of your brand. Low priority could be shares of shares and passive mentions of your brand. Important mentions (usually of the “high priority” category) may need to be documented for follow up.
Both Google Analytics and Hootsuite Analytics track your progress and allow you to create reports, which can be shared. However, I’ve found that using spreadsheets helps boil information down to its simplest form, allowing me to understand trends at a glance. It also keeps me on track, as I update each spreadsheet every week (on Fridays). I’ve also found that spreadsheets are best for tracking your own participation on social media sites. For example, where you comment and how often and if your comments receive engagement are important information to track to help you understand your influence. You can also track number of comments on each blog post, retweets, mentions and followers on Twitter and Facebook likes, among many other metrics. Again, it entirely depends on your social media goals. For example, here are some metrics I track every week on simple Excel spreadsheets:
- Twitter: Followers, following, total tweets, replies, mentions, RTs, Klout score and breakdown, PeerIndex score and breakdown and Grader score and breakdown.
- Blog: PostRank, Alexa (although it’s rankings are a bit suspect) and Power150 (useful only for marketing blogs that get listed there) scores as well as the number of comments per post.
- Social media contributions: Tweets, blog comments, Quora answers, LinkedIn Discussions others and overall success
Again, these are only a few metrics that you could track, and it all depends on what platforms you are most engaged on and what you aim to get out of your social media efforts.
In my next post, I’ll discuss how to measure these results so you can understand trends, which can inform how you benchmark your progress and determine success.
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