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TakeFive with TweetReach – Jim Kneer

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Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with influential members of the Twitter measurement universe. This week, we’re happy to highlight Jim Kneer, New Media Specialist for the NBA Champion Miami HEAT basketball team. Coming off a terrific championship season and an Olympic gold medal for Team USA player and Miami HEAT forward Lebron James, we thought it would be a great time to get Jim’s views on Twitter measurement.

TweetReach: Welcome Jim! Can you describe your role in the HEAT organization? How have you used social media, specifically Twitter, as a part of your social media strategy for the team?

Jim Kneer: Our New Media team is the eyes and ears of HEAT fans around the globe. Our job is to connect with as many HEAT fans as we can. We create relationships with our younger fans that will evolve into a strong brand loyalty. We view Twitter as the first true means of establishing two-way communication with our fans.

Our franchise is just entering our 25th season, so we are a relatively young franchise. We are just starting to see our first generation of life-long HEAT fans reach fiscal maturity. It is our goal to take advantage of the amazing team we have to build our fan base and social media, and Twitter specifically, allows us to reach out and communicate with fans.

We use Twitter to provide real-time coverage of all HEAT related news and events. Our New Media team covers all HEAT practices, games and provides behind-the-scenes coverage of HEAT related events.

TweetReach: How important is measurement of engagement on Twitter to your strategy? Do you have specific goals and campaign metrics that you use to measure performance and success?

Jim Kneer: Measurement of social media engagement is key for us. While we may not have specific goals for each initiative we undertake, engagement metrics play a key role in our future initiatives. We like to look at the performance of our tweets and use that data to tailor our coverage to the areas we get the most engagement. We always want to deliver the content our fans want the most.

We also like to use this data to determine time of posting. We want our posts to generate a lot of replies and we try to provide as many answers as time and scheduling allow. Conversely, pictures and posts that will generate a lot of re-tweets are often made during our “off hours” since less attention is required.

TweetReach: Has your social media measurement strategy changed as you’ve gone from the regular season, to the playoffs, to the champion series, to the off-season?

Jim Kneer: During the season, we utilize a lot of the measurements to build our strategy. Each regular season, we find a different tweeting “sweet spot.” Some years we see more interactions of pictures, some years it may be statistical information that gets the best response. Our job during the regular season is to perfect our strategy. Socially, we do not want to be become a nuisance.

I come from an email marketing background. Email marketing has always been referred to as “permission-based marketing.” Moving over to social media, I always treat it as “privilege-based marketing.” We have been lucky to earn a spot in our fans’ timelines and newsfeeds. We treat this as a privilege. We try to avoid straight sales pitches, instead offering exclusive first looks or first opportunities to buy. This gives our sales pitches a more exclusive, offer-based characteristic.

Once we hit the post-season, we intensify our social media efforts. We know that our fans’ appetite for information increases and we begin traveling to away games to help provide coverage to which they may not otherwise have access. This coverage increases each round, as fans want more and more information. During the 2012 NBA Finals, we sent two staff members to Oklahoma City to cover everything, and we were rewarded with a really comprehensive behind the scenes look at the team during our title run.

Our off-season strategy is to provide relevant content when it occurs, but more so to focus on increasing our interactions with fans. We try to reply to as many relevant mentions as we can, while also increasing the amount of interactive tweets we send out.

TweetReach: What’s your opinion on the “second-screen experience” during televised games? Have you seen more consumers actively engaging via Twitter during games and how do you make the most of that for the team?

Jim Kneer: During the regular season, we work very closely with our broadcast partner, Sun Sports/Fox Sports Florida. Last off-season, we had a series of social-broadcast meetings and were able to develop a very interactive broadcast. We developed a Facebook Friday component to help draw viewers to our broadcasts, especially when our local broadcast is up against a national broadcast of the game.

We also got our broadcasters Eric Reid and Tony Fiorentino on Twitter and they were able to interact with fans and answer some questions live during all broadcasts. Additionally, we created a dedicated hashtag to track all comments.

Fans were also actively engaged in twitter polls for the pregame spotlights as well as the poll question for games. We wanted to create a very social feel for our broadcasts and are very happy where they stand after our first season.

TweetReach: Can you describe one of your more successful social media efforts? Were there specific measurement goals you wanted to achieve and how did the campaign perform? Any lessons learned you can share with our audience?

Jim Kneer: I think one of our most successful efforts this year was the unveiling of our new “Black is Back” uniform. We knew this would generate buzz, but the scope of the appeal was amazing. We were able to reach over 4.5 million unique accounts and generate almost 17 million impressions.

We also made a big social media push for the release of our Miami Floridians throwback jersey. This effort reached over 5.8 million unique people and total impressions reached 13 million.

I think the most important thing we took from these campaigns was that we needed to be ready and able to take advantage of these situations the moment they arise. Once we noticed the feedback, the posts, and tweets we were receiving, we really ramped up our efforts. We learned that by monitoring early reaction to a post you can really ride the positive public sentiment and stay ahead of the curve.

TweetReach: Thanks, Jim!

Written by Dean Cruse

August 23rd, 2012 at 7:24 am

TakeFive with TweetReach – Dan Naylor

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Subscribers to the TweetReach Pro service are always innovating when it comes to measuring Twitter campaigns for their brands and clients. And, the good folks at ISM Search & Social are certainly no exception.

Welcome Dan Naylor, resident scientist and Services Director at ISM to a new edition of TakeFive with TweetReach. Tutored in behavioral science, Dan gets shamelessly excited about the convergence of audience analysis, creative thinking and client ambition and we’re thrilled to have him share his thoughts on social media measurement and the fine work ISM is doing with their clients.

TweetReach: Welcome Dan! ISM is an integrated digital agency – you not only do social media strategies for your clients, but also SEO, mobile, affiliate marketing, and other campaigns. How have you seen your clients approach Twitter as part of their overall digital strategy?

Dan Naylor: ISM exists to influence online behavior of specifically defined target audiences. We try not to distinguish our campaigns by the channels and focus on defining the target audience, mapping the location of the available audiences and creating content that convinces the users to move from where they currently exist to our clients’ channels. The individual job of each channel naturally presents itself as an obvious candidate during the process of building the campaign strategy.

However, Twitter enables us to interact with any existing social conversation (that’s on Twitter). We can approach the target audience directly, or through influencers should the brand have low credibility within the target audience or subject area. In addition, the inherent frequency of Twitter means we can move through the gears very quickly. Both factors ensure that, for now, it is our most powerful outreach channel.

TweetReach: And, how important is measurement in the social media strategies you put together for your clients?

Dan Naylor: Without measurement any performance is open to interpretation and since most people have an opinion about social media, we prefer not to leave the measurement of performance to interpretation. Ultimately, if we can’t measure a specific activity we either remove it from the campaign or invent a new measure. However, while we pride ourselves on an analytical approach to digital marketing, we are clear that measurement data is only evidence that we delivered the campaign objectives. In putting together the social media strategies for our clients we are clear that a complete understanding of the campaign objectives is just as important and the majority of the measurement data stays in the background, until the client wants a deeper understanding of the progress.

TweetReach: What metrics are most important to you? How do you measure engagement?

Dan Naylor:

  • Exposure – the number of occasions content has been delivered
  • Reach – unique people to whom content was delivered
  • Engagement – interaction with the content
  • User journey – click-through

We try to measure all channels using a channel-specific version of the four metrics above, mostly to better assess how individual channels are contributing to the overall user journey. We measure engagement specifically as a measurable interaction with the content. For instance, for Twitter we simply measure mentions. A mention is the first measurable interaction with the content and the result is either additional reach if that mention is part of a retweet, additional mentions if a reply, or a click if the user has moved to one of our other channels.

We have also been developing our click tracking systems to provide better social attribution modelling to better reflect a user that moves between channels. Ultimately, we have moved away from the measuring status (likes, fans, followers, etc.) and now track activity.

TweetReach: Let’s talk about the measurement of reach. How do you weigh the importance of the quantity of a campaign’s reach (the overall size of the potential audience) vs. the quality of that reach?

Dan Naylor: Quantity vs quality is a debate that will never end; it is as old as marketing itself. In Twitter the relationship between exposure, reach, engagement and click-through all give indications of how the audience is responding to the content. For example, if exposure and reach numbers are close together over time the content is consistently reaching new audiences. If they are far apart, tweets are repetitively being delivered to the same audience. In both cases the engagement and user journey metrics will indicate how the content plan should be amended in real-time.

TweetReach: How do look think about the mix of different social media platforms when designing social media campaigns? Are you trying different approaches with different networks? How important is measurement with each?

Dan Naylor: We are constantly evolving with the channels and adapting campaigns as new channels and audiences converge — remember MySpace? ISM is focused on organic growth so I exclude the additional advertising opportunities that exist in each channel; we consider advertising important but a little like cheating. The type of brand, target audience, speed of impact, budget and any integration with non-social platforms governs the ideal mix of channels.

Twitter is the only channel that is universal in all of our current campaigns. We use Twitter to identify, outreach and engage with target audiences, especially if the audience is new to the client. Since Twitter users are seeking information we find Twitter to be the most efficient channel at seeding content and driving traffic to additional channels. The relative open approach of Twitter to performance data and the relative low production cost combines to enable us to test fast and then roll out conclusions to slower moving channels with higher production costs.

TweetReach: Can you describe one of your more successful social media campaigns? Were there specific goals your clients wanted to achieve and how did they do? How important was measurement to the campaign’s success?

Dan Naylor: The best example of using existing Twitter networks to greatly increase the reach of our client brand in new audiences is our work for Mercedes-Benz in the UK. We were asked to increase the younger audiences exposed to the brand. We identified current owners of Mercedes-Benz cars with large existing followings and existing profiles in younger audiences. Initially by @messaging the target influencers we sparked organic conversation about their vehicles. For the first 6 months of 2012, from a Twitter following of 35,000 we averaged reach (unique Twitter ids) of over 1,500,000 per month and exposure consistently in excess of 5,000,000 deliveries. The organic outreach activity contributed to increases in Twitter and specifically Facebook communities over the period and drove significant traffic to other Mercedes-Benz campaign activity.

TweetReach: Thanks for your thoughts, Dan!

Dan Naylor is Services Director of ISM Search & Social, a specialist digital agency in London. At ISM, Dan is responsible for strategy and content delivery across the agency. A graduate of marketing and behavioral science, Dan’s career started client-side, rising to C-level communication and marketing positions. Whilst managing overall marketing budgets, Dan recognized that customers weren’t responding to traditional channels as they had done previously. Dan began focusing on digital marketing and audience behavior in 2006.

Dan moved agency-side in 2010, determined to help remove corporate management silos that he believes continue to stop social media fulfilling its potential as a business tool. ISM helps clients segment and develop their digital audiences, pioneering an approach to mapping social connections to influence behaviour and produce seamless User Journeys. ISM advises corporations including Mercedes-Benz, Arcadia Group, Jaguar Land Rover and AIG. Dan is shamelessly excited about the ongoing potential of digital marketing and the convergence of quality data, creative thinking and client ambition.

If you’re interested in learning more about TweetReach Pro and our comprehensive Twitter campaign analytics, there’s more information on our website. Check it out!

Written by Dean Cruse

July 13th, 2012 at 6:26 am

TakeFive with TweetReach – Michele Hinojosa

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Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with notable members of the social media analytics and measurement community. This week we’re thrilled to welcome Michele Hinojosa, a self-confessed analytics geek and Director of Digital Analytics at Red Door Interactive.

TweetReach: Welcome Michele! Let’s start with talking about how you got started with social analytics. What got you interested in measuring social?

Michele Hinojosa: I first got into digital measurement through web and advertising analytics at Kelley Blue Book. As I started expanding my horizons and wanting to learn more about the digital analytics industry, I started joining in conversations in social media — the Yahoo Web Analytics group, Linked In, Quora, but especially Twitter. For me, social analytics started mostly as a curiosity, just playing around with different solutions and analysing social traffic to my little blog, or analysing the social media behaviour of the online web analytics community through the #measure hashtag.

Now, at Red Door Interactive, my team of Digital Analysts and I get to help clients understand the impact of conversations they’re having with customers, including on the website, in social media or through a variety of acquisition channels.

TweetReach: What metrics are most important for your job and your company? What should we be measuring? Beyond that, is there anything we shouldn’t be measuring? Are there any “bad” metrics?

Michele Hinojosa: I don’t think there are “bad” metrics per se, just less useful ones. There is an evolution as companies grow from a simple like/follower approach to looking more at business impact. This isn’t really surprising, given a lot of companies also embark on social “because we should”, but without strategy or goals for doing so. Ideally, companies should embark on social initiatives with clear goals (e.g., decrease call center volume, drive sales, drive traffic to the website, save on other marketing budgets, etc) and understand what, in a perfect world, you would want to measure. From there, figure out if you can. Do you have the right toolsets? The necessary data integration? If not, come up with something that gets you close, or gives you directional insight while you build out the rest. I’m not saying wait until everything is perfect before you do anything, but make sure you know where you want to get before you start working towards it.

TweetReach: What are your recommendations for someone just getting started with social analytics? What should they do first? What are some important considerations?

Michele Hinojosa: For an analyst thinking about diving into social media, they need to first get involved in social media themselves. I don’t think you can measure what you don’t understand, and getting involved in a variety of social channels is key to understanding them. (And no, just having a Facebook account doesn’t count.) Each channel is different and the goals of being involved are different. I try new social channels all the time. They may prove to not be “my kind of thing” (and no one can possibly keep up with all of them and hold down a job, too!) but at least play around and see what they offer, how the channels differ and how they might be used for different goals or different businesses.

There are key books I would recommend reading – John Lovett’s “Social Media Metrics Secrets”, Jim Sterne’s “Social Media Metrics” and Olivier Blanchard’s “Social Media ROI” (and converse with these guys on Twitter! They are great guys and are always up for a good conversation.) Not to mention a myriad of blogs out there.

From there, start doing it, even if you just start by analysing your own accounts. Better yet, find a local business or non-profit to help (so you can attempt to tie to actual business metrics.) You’ll learn more from doing (and, let’s be honest, making mistakes) than you ever will from a book.

But it’s important to keep in mind social media is just one marketing channel. It’s great to have an interest in social analytics, but like other areas, it needs to be kept in context of the overall business and marketing efforts.

TweetReach: Let’s talk about consistency in measurement. There are a tremendous number of tools and approaches used to measure social media performance, which can produce results that are difficult to compare. Do you see the industry evolving towards a more standardized set of metrics or do you think we’ll continue to see a lot of variety and experimentation?

Michele Hinojosa: I’m going to give the very on-the-fence answer: Both. While social analytics often starts as just “likes” and “followers” for companies, pretty soon executives (and hopefully, good analysts!) are trying to tie this to actual business value, and look at social media in the context of other marketing initiatives. Profit or revenue driven are standardised and can apply across all channels, including social. However, let’s be honest: sometimes that’s hard to measure! It involves tying together different data sources, understanding attribution, and trying to measure what may sometimes be unmeasurable. (Do I know that you bought my product after you saw your best friend’s Facebook post raving about it? Maybe not.) But while the answers won’t be perfect, companies have to try to get as close as they can.

On the other hand, new social channels crop up every day, and while these too need to be tied to profit, they’ll also have their own in-network metrics that marketers and analysts will keep track of, and use to understand behaviour. (After all, somewhere there’s a 12-year-old in his garage creating something that will blow Zuckerberg off the map.)

Ultimately, social needs to be tied to business objectives like any other initiative, but the methods we use to do this will get more sophisticated, and I think there’s a lot more experimentation still to come.

TweetReach: We’re hearing a lot about influence right now; everyone wants to measure influence and target influencers. What are your thoughts on measuring influence in social media? What’s the best way to determine who is influential for a particular campaign or initiative?

Michele Hinojosa: Influence is a great example of where social analytics has room to grow. What businesses care about is who influences sales (or leads, or referrals, or whatever your business objectives.) Social tools are measuring “influence” on retweets, or Facebook likes, or video views. I can understand why businesses want to understand who their influencers are, but I think we need to keep in mind the limitations of a lot of current measures of influence — they’re likely not measuring influencers of the business metric they actually care about. That’s when it will be truly useful.

At the same time, I worry about the uses that current influence metrics are put to. I can see a use in using influence to prioritise, for example, response to requests. (For the same reason that food critics get the best cut of meat, those with online influence can have a big impact if they have a negative experience, and I can understand companies wanting to provide excellent service.) But I hope it’s not used as a metric of “you’re not worthy of my time.” Simply put, I can see using influence to determine who to respond to first, but not who to respond to at all.

I also worry about the use of influence in areas such as recruiting. I hope companies make their decisions off more than one number, and look at a candidate or potential consultant’s actual track record, results and skills.

I think these concerns just speak to the overall reality with a lot of social media metrics today — they can be useful in context, but as one standalone metric, we may sometimes attach too much significance, without enough consideration, analysis and scrutiny.

TweetReach: Thanks, Michele!

Michele Hinojosa is a self-confessed analytics geek. She is currently the Director of Digital Analytics at Red Door Interactive, responsible for leading a team of analysts to produce actionable insights and recommendations to optimize clients’ online initiatives. As the Manager of Web Analytics for Kelley Blue Book, she and her team were responsible for forecasting, analyzing, testing and optimizing KBB.com and its associated businesses.

Michele holds degrees in Law and Psychology from the University of Melbourne (Australia) but is currently located in Southern California. As a certified group fitness instructor, she is as fanatical about Les Mills group fitness programs and cycling as she is about data.

Michele enjoys reading, writing and thinking about analytics and engaging with the web analytics community via Twitter. You can read her thoughts at michelehinojosa.com or @michelehinojosa.

Written by Dean Cruse

November 9th, 2011 at 12:49 pm

TakeFive with TweetReach – Evan LaPointe

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Welcome to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series where we talk with notable members of the social media analytics community, pulling together insight, commentary and conversation around all things measurement, analytics, and improvement. This week we’re happy to welcome Evan LaPointe, Director of Client Performance at Search Discovery, creator of the popular web analytics blog Atlanta Analytics, and a recognized leader in the web analytics community.

TweetReach: Welcome Evan! Let’s start with talking about how you got started with web analytics. What got you interested in measurement?

Evan LaPointe: I got started with web analytics (before, it was just for my own businesses) in 2005. Before that, I was doing valuation work on stocks. It was good stuff to learn, but I really missed working on the web and wanted to do it full-time. Coming from an analyst role in the financial industry, an analyst role in this industry seemed like a good leaping-back-in point. And as for the second part of that question, nothing got me, nor currently has me interested in “measurement.” Measurement is just a means to an end, like measuring wood before you cut it to build a house. This industry is stuck on this concept of measurement, and that is something that needs to change soon if we want companies to understand the value we can create for a business. If they think we are just a bunch of guys with rulers, that isn’t a bright future. In the financial world, there is a huge distinguishing line between accountants (measurers) and analysts (decision makers). We need to cross this line pronto.

TweetReach: What metrics are most important for you and and/or your clients? What should we be measuring? John Lovett has written about the dangers of using the wrong metrics. Are there things we shouldn’t be measuring? Are there any “bad” metrics?

Evan LaPointe: John is right, there are grave dangers associated with using the wrong metrics, but I don’t agree with anyone who says that any metric is a bad metric. Data is data, and metrics are just a framework for data. More data will always give you more context and information, so there is no reason to ever consider data or metrics “bad.” Some metrics, however, require a lot of other data to give them context. Acting directly on these metrics (or any metric in a vacuum) is immensely stupid. Even holy grail metrics like conversion rate are immensely stupid to react to in a vacuum. And herein lies the problem between “measurement” and “analysis.” Measurement is something can can be done microcosmically: you can measure and report tiny little things that may or may not matter. Analysis, on the other hand, requires a networked understanding of the system. Without understanding how multiple things work together to produce outcomes, you aren’t doing analysis.

So as far as the types of things we do for our clients, we focus on two key areas (and the metrics reveal themselves in these efforts): revealing the influencers to cash flow, and creating dashboards that reveal where a business should spend its time. Revealing the influencers to cash flow is a very important focus, because we can’t always connect tactics directly to cash. But we can nearly always connect a tactic to something we know influences cash flow. For example, we know that a great social media presence has the potential to boost peoples’ opinion of the brand, understand the product or service more clearly, provide a channel for our brand to grow in terms of mindshare, give us valuable insight into where our product fails, and possibly drive sales directly. While most focus is on traffic and conversions driven by social media (and it’s critical to follow these), we have to also understand the positive qualitative aspects of running a business well. These are the things that have a long-term benefit, and distinguish brands like Zappos who have unprecedented relationships with their shoppers and the bank account to prove it. Over time, these qualitative aspects will reveal themselves quantitatively so we can better understand what incremental investment will get us. But to start, brands need to trust that there are immensely powerful and important qualitative factors they can control directly, but will only loosely be measured against financial outcomes.

On the dashboarding side, I don’t believe in dashboards for the sake of people “understanding everything that is happening.” People don’t come to work to understand what is happening. They come to work to make it better. Since this is the case, we need to provide them some way of knowing where to spend their time and energy. We’ve seen that one effective way to do this is build dashboards that are thin and wide, and have some intelligence built into them to draw focus to areas where the business needs extra attention. By using some basic models that are tailored to each business, we can reveal the “health” of various parts of the business (and their influence on other parts) so people can focus on what’s going to make a difference. And these dashboards do not offer endless drill-down capabilities: we want people going to the tools designed for this purpose (BI, web analytics, etc.) so they have everything they need: a dashboard could never give them a true analysis environment.

TweetReach: What are your recommendations for someone just getting started with social media analytics? What should they do first? What are some important considerations?

Evan LaPointe: First off, they need to talk to someone a whole hell of a lot smarter than me. Second, I would split the analysis into two pieces, in an ideal world. Piece one is finding as direct a connection to business outcomes as possible. How is the effort growing customer base, how is it impacting revenue in a cost-effective manner, how is it having equivalent outcomes to things you are paying for today? I saw a post where someone was criticizing social media and talking about how a Facebook campaign for Coke was stupid. What was stupefying was the article: did this writer have any clue what Coca Cola pays to reach 2MM people through any other channel? On top of that, there is no billboard that the instant someone decides they like it, it’s instantly shared with hundreds of their friends. And there is no television ad with polar bears that allows the viewer to provide instant feedback to the brand. Social media’s equivalent cost in other channels is outrageous, and many of its benefits are impossible to attain anywhere other than in social media. So, begin by measuring real return in terms of upside, and understanding the cost of equivalent reach elsewhere.

Piece two is that x factor that will be unique to your business. After you’ve defended your salary many times over in terms of real return or equivalent willingness to pay in other channels, you can begin dissecting the qualitative pieces and benefits of your social media campaign. This is where you take the comments, replies, feedback, sentiment, etc. and turn it into insight that can drive changes to product or new products, changes to how you market or interact with your customers, or any number of outcomes. Again, there are people who are a lot smarter than me when it comes to this stuff, but this is the rough outline of how I would approach it.

TweetReach: Let’s talk about consistency in measurement. There are a tremendous number of tools and approaches used to measure social media performance, which can produce results that are difficult to compare. Do you see the industry evolving towards a more standardized set of metrics or do you think we’ll continue to see a lot of variety and experimentation?

Evan LaPointe: In the social space, I think we will see a ton of variety and experimentation. We have no idea what to focus on to get a good picture of the true benefit of social media, and I, for one, think that’s very exciting. Social media can be used for some amazing and surprising business functions (like prioritizing IT’s efforts or helping product managers develop an offering based on very honest, real-world feedback). And beyond that, social media measurement means very different things to different businesses. Some have the opportunity to use it as a more direct channel (although that’s not always the best idea), while others use it as a support channel. Small businesses can measure based on interactions with individuals or small groups, while organizations interacting with millions of customers are forced to take a completely different approach. I really need to read John Lovett’s book; I’ve heard great things about it so far. He’s a far better person to ask this question to, but my gut says we are nowhere close to any sort of a set of standards or a common approach that can be shared among the majority of businesses.

TweetReach: Where do you go for analytics-related news and opinion – any particular sites, blogs or Twitter accounts that are of particular value?

Evan LaPointe: I keep in touch primarily via Twitter, and Google+ has become pretty good in this industry, too (although the ratio of self-promotion to sharing is a little high right now). I’m a big fan of Avinash Kaushik and his blog: he helps a lot of people get into this industry but stay centered, meaning he gives a lot of instruction on the “how,” but also frames it in terms of the “why.” Again, getting back to the obsession with metrics and measurement, he’s always been good about connecting it back to the financial outcomes and human side of working in a business. Eric Peterson is also one of those hall-of-famers who will make time to talk to people on twitter and share some of his wisdom (even though half of the time he speaks to me in parables). And you have this amazing community of people who are brilliant, many of who do not even know how brilliant they are. Everyone should get to know the folks from Keystone Solutions, energy-filled people like Michele Hinojosa, and people like Emer Kirrane who is like My Big Fat Greek Wedding Irish version: she thinks the root of everything is potatoes. I could go on and on, so just find me (@evanlapointe) on twitter if you’re looking for a longer list.

TweetReach: A great list. Thanks for your time and your thoughts, Evan!

As the Director of Client Performance at Search Discovery, Evan LaPointe is focused on using web analytics to help businesses take a holistic, data-driven approach to managing their portfolio of web strategies. Evan’s 15 years of hands-on experience developing, marketing, and improving web sites gives him the unique ability to approach web sites from a number of perspectives and work through any competing priorities to offer users the best experience possible, and businesses the best return possible. Evan is an active member of the web analytics community and a member and speaker for organizations like WAA, SEMPO, AiMA, and AMA. Evan writes for Search Engine Land’s “Analyze This” column and is the creator of Atlanta Analytics, a blog focused on translating web language into business language. Evan also manages the twitter feed @learnanalytics where people can have their web analytics questions answered for free, and is a contributor on the Google Analytics help forums. Recently, Evan created a breakthrough tag management system called Satellite, designed from the ground up to help empower marketers and analysts to have total control of the web measurement and analysis process.

Written by Dean Cruse

October 5th, 2011 at 8:03 am

TakeFive with TweetReach – Adam Price

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Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with notable members of the social media analytics and measurement community. This week we’re happy to welcome Adam Price, co-founder of Speak Social, an Austin, Texas-based company that handles all aspects of social media marketing for brands.

TweetReach: Welcome Adam! Let’s start with talking about how you got started using social media. Can you describe your first “ah-ha” moment?

Adam Price: I come from an SEO background. My “ah-ha” moment happened while I was running analytics on one of my SEO clients. I noticed that a competitor’s Facebook page ranked above my optimized site. This site had massive amounts of SEO content and great back-links, yet we were suddenly second to an un-optimized Facebook profile. That planted a seed that I couldn’t get out of my head. I started researching social media non-stop and realized that it is the future of search. I understood then that social media will become the center of every marketing strategy going forward. I want to be a part of that.

TweetReach: How important was measurement in your initial strategy and how has that evolved?

Adam Price: Measurement is critical. The early problem in social media was that most books treated ROI like it didn’t exist. Most of the talking points around tracking and measuring ROI centered on why analytics didn’t matter, and how to refocus the conversation. I had more luck focusing on enterprise level companies who treated ROI as the central issue. At that level, they can’t just hide behind marketing fluff. You have to show hard data.

Today, tools to track social media success are booming as an ancillary business to social media marketing. Initially I pitched tracking ROI of our campaigns as my differentiator over the competition. Very few people were doing it. The social media marketers I looked up to were focusing on analytics from the beginning, following the “If you can’t track it, it doesn’t exist” model. It was a huge learning curve to get my head around how it related to the bottom line, and we continue to work on it. I learned early that time was a big factor of every campaign. Social media marketing specifically takes time before you can show results. The client must accept limited results in the first months. The clients that stick with it see results once the infrastructure is in place.

TweetReach: Does size matter? David Armano has written about the importance of topical influence. What do you think? How important is the size of someone’s social graph vs. their influence in a particular topical area?

Adam Price: David has it right, but this one is touchy. Overall, I would say a social graph size has little use to a client’s bottom line, but that’s not always the case. We represent professional athletes and models, and to them raw numbers mean quite a lot.

One of our most successful nonprofit campaigns started with a Twitter account of only 200 followers, but they were the right 200. If I had a restaurant, I would rather have one Paul Barron as a follower than 1,000 unassociated followers. This is nothing new of course; influencer marketing is old hat. The truly interesting thing is how many of the walls between a brand and the influencers are knocked down by social media. Those walls will rebuild, but until they do, we have a unique opportunity to reach out to anyone.

TweetReach: Do you have any examples of how analytics have helped you adjust or improve your social media activities? Has this ever happened in the middle of a campaign?

Adam Price: Absolutely, we obsessively track analytics. It’s important to develop social media measurement strategies based on business objective KPIs. There is a wealth of monitoring data available, but without a focused strategy, the data will not effectively develop and direct the campaign. At some level, we are always adjusting and tweaking. If our blogs get fewer views than expected, we revamp. If our Twitter reach is smaller than expected, we readjust. We never based measurements off the raw number of Twitter followers and Facebook likes. Those metrics were never a sound justification for social media marketing.

TweetReach: Is ROI for Twitter campaigns achievable? There a many different ways to measure activity, but how do your gauge your success, or help your clients do the same? What’s missing from the equation?

Adam Price: ROI for Twitter is absolutely achievable. Twitter requires you to be specific. You have to know who your audience is, and if you are reaching them. You need to create trackable links that you tweet, then measure who clicks those links. We gauge our client milestones upfront, and then work to meet them. The goals are tailored to the client. The question is not is ROI achievable, but is it achievable with this client?

When a potential client asks me to define the ROI of social media, I start by asking them how they track ROI on their current marketing strategies. What’s missing most times is the client’s holistic understanding of their business. You need to be crystal clear on where you are starting from with a campaign and where you are going. The best clients know their business inside and out. When you bring a tool like Twitter into the equation with one of these clients, it’s not hard to work together to gauge success.

TweetReach: Any social media pet peeves? What practices irritate you the most when you look at the state of the industry?

Adam Price: I think the thing that annoys me the most is the all too common perception that understanding social media channels directly equates to understanding social media marketing. We have a diverse staff of people on our team each who have different specialties, and we did that in a very premeditated way. Social media cannot be encompassed solely in Facebook. A true social media marketing strategy has multiple elements that have to each be accountable. I don’t mean to say that social media marketing is unapproachable or you have to have a team to have success, but right now there is a tendency to grab an intern who has a thousand friends on Facebook and make her your “social media solution.” The results are ineffective, at best, and reflect poorly on our growing industry.

Social media marketing is like anything else, you succeed by taking the time to gain knowledge before you begin. The great thing about the social media community is that they are so motivated to share what they know. You don’t have look very hard to find the information and help you need when you are just starting out.

Adam Price is a co-founder of Speak Social, an Austin, Texas-based company that handles all aspects of social media marketing for brands. Speak Social represents businesses, nonprofits, athletes and personalities. Adam strives to develop and improve the social media campaign process, which can close the gap between brands and the people that use them. His continued study of online media and marketing allows him to construct strategies that serve the client’s message and goals.

Written by Dean Cruse

August 31st, 2011 at 3:54 pm

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TakeFive with TweetReach – John Lovett

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Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with notable members of the social media analytics and measurement community. This week, we are very excited to welcome John Lovett, Senior Partner and Principal Consultant at Web Analytics Demystified, author of the brand new book, Social Media Metrics Secrets, and all-around web analytics and social media measurement guru.

TweetReach: Welcome, John! Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Let’s start with how you got started with social analytics. What got you interested in measuring social media?

John Lovett: I’ve spent the past 5 years immersed in the web analytics industry and when social media came along, it was a natural extension. A few years ago and still today, there are many unknowns in social media, especially in social analytics. That keeps it fresh and exciting, which also brings a bevy of new challenges and opportunities. Additionally, my clients kept asking me how they should be measuring social media, so I took what I learned from working with websites and other digital marketing medium and applied that to social media.

TweetReach: Last month, you wrote in ClickZ that most people are using the wrong metrics in social media. You specifically identified “counting metrics” as a problem. Can you tell us what you mean by that? Are there any cases where counting metrics can be useful? And what else should we be measuring?

John Lovett: Counting metrics is a term that I use to describe fans, followers, views and likes and similar metrics, that are typically offered by social networks that “count” up activities. These metrics do have value in helping businesses to size up opportunities and quantify just how many people are interacting with their social initiatives, but they rarely offer insights into social media business performance. To get at real insights or understand how well your social media channels are performing, you need to dig deeper into social analytics by matching an audience with your desired outcomes. Examples of metrics that do this are specific to an objective like gaining exposure, which can be measured using metrics like Reach, Velocity, and Share of Voice.

TweetReach: What are your recommendations for someone just getting started with social analytics? What should they do first? What are some important considerations?

John Lovett: For individuals and businesses just starting out with social media, my number one piece of advice is to ask yourself why you’re there. I encourage people to really define what you’re trying to accomplish with social media because that’s how you will be able to identify success. For example, are you engaging in social media to promote a new product or service? To build a community of loyal fans? Sell more goods? Decrease operational costs? Asking the tough questions about why you want to participate in social media is the foundation for building a solid program of measurement. If you cannot explain to yourself or your boss how your organization will benefit from social media, then go back to the drawing board. It will save you lots of headaches and frustration.

TweetReach: We’re hearing a lot about influence right now; everyone wants to measure influence and target influencers. What are your thoughts on measuring influence in social media? What’s the best way to determine who is influential for a particular campaign or initiative?

John Lovett:
Measuring influence is tricky business. It’s tricky because a real influencer is not somebody with tons of followers, but someone who motivates others to take action. Often times, these actions don’t occur on social media channels or even on digital channels, but rather they occur offline. Thus, you have to stitch together multiple behaviors across channels to find out if your influencers are really having an impact on your business.

I like to think of influencers as people who have “potential” to move markets. It’s worth identifying these individuals by mining social data to see what topics they talk about and how large their potential audiences are. But, the real secret is converting influencers into brand advocates. Then you can begin to track their impact using unique campaign IDs or referral source data to determine their contributions to your social media goals.

TweetReach: What do you see for the future of social media metrics? How will the discipline evolve in the coming years?

John Lovett:
I strongly believe that it’s still early days for social media measurement. As organizations get more advanced with their digital efforts and more sophisticated with technologies for social networking, we will see data utilized in revolutionary ways. One trend that’s brewing includes the convergence of metrics, Location Based Services and data mash-ups. Of course mobile devices are critical to this revolution, but organizations that use customer preference data to offer real-time access to information, ideas, products, or services that connect networks of individuals to any location in the world will fundamentally change the way we co-exist.

While this change will also force businesses to work harder because marketing hype will be replaced with customer experiences; businesses that truly listen to their customers and learn from social media will benefit tremendously. However, these services and the underlying metrics that inform the business need to evolve to real-time speeds so that we’re not continuously reacting to social activities, but that we employ data-smart technologies to proactively utilize social media metrics to deliver tangible consumer value.

TweetReach: Thank you so much for your time and your thoughts, John!

John Lovett is a consultant, author and measurer of all things digital who helps businesses use analytics to deliver effective marketing. Since 1993, Lovett has been exploring opportunities in digital marketing and deconstructing web sites to see just how well they work. He’s a Senior Partner at Web Analytics Demystified and currently promoting his new book, Social Media Metrics Secrets (Wiley 2011).

A frequent speaker at industry events, Lovett is often called upon to pontificate about big data, building a culture of measurement, social media metrics, and matters of consumer privacy. Lovett is currently the Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Web Analytics Association (WAA) and is a Certified Web Analyst. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife, yellow lab, and three boys. Follow John on Twitter @johnlovett and check out his Web Analytics Demystified blog.

Written by Jenn D

August 17th, 2011 at 10:23 am

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TakeFive with TweetReach – Evan Hamilton

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Welcome to TakeFive with TweetReach, where we talk with notable members of the social media marketing, analytics and measurement communities, pulling together insight, commentary and conversation around all things social media and measurement. This week we’re happy to welcome Evan Hamilton, Community Manager at UserVoice, a provider of customer support and feedback tools.

TweetReach: Welcome Evan! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Let’s start with talking about how you got started using social media. Can you describe your first “ah-ha” moment?

Evan Hamilton: I’m not sure I had an ah-ha moment – my friends were just all on IRC in high school and all on Facebook in college. It’s second-nature to me. It took businesses a lot longer to find their “ah-ha”.

TweetReach: How important was measurement in your initial social media strategy and how has that evolved?

Evan Hamilton: Measurement is not something that is still really expected from Community Management, but I started attempting it in 2009 because I felt that I was doing important work and wanted to show it. I’m still working hard to do that, and the tools have only gotten better.

TweetReach: What metrics are most important for your job and/or your company?

Evan Hamilton: Share of voice is very important for us. Much of community management is simply building rapport and loyalty with customers and potential customers, and seeing how much you are part of the general conversation in your space validates this work. I also look at engagement — if people aren’t replying or retweeting, it doesn’t matter that they’re following you.

TweetReach: Have you looked at social media success or failure in other industries for pointers on how to apply best practices to your audience? Any good examples?

Evan Hamilton: The best example I’ve seen is the Old 97′s (right out of TweetReach’s home state of Texas). I think because they’re not a company focused on “marketing”, they do a great job interacting with their fans. Whether it’s posting a fun behind-the-scenes photo, supporting a fan who is fighting cancer, sharing some music that they love…everything they do is really genuine and engaging and valuable to their fans, and they get a great response. More companies should stop thinking about how to “market” to customers and instead think about how to delight their fans. (Adding some electric guitar might help!)

TweetReach: How do you think about the mix of different social media networks when designing your social media strategy? Are you trying different approaches with different networks? How important is measurement with each?

Evan Hamilton: You have to take different approaches. People act differently on each network. You might be on Facebook to tend to your Farmville and on Twitter to talk business — the same message will resonate with you differently in each location. Not to mention it’s obnoxious to see the same message from a brand in two locations.

TweetReach: For many, social media has enabled us to become more engaged with our communities. Most of us are in constant communication with our constituents every day. How do you see integrating analytics and measurement into everyday social media activity?

Evan Hamilton: I think there’s danger that we won’t see beyond our circles (Google customizing my results based on my social activity means I get a very biased view of the world) but also a lot of opportunity to connect with people deeper. If you can tell me which friends of mine are into folk music, I might bond with someone who had never told me that they like Wilco, too.

TweetReach: Let’s talk about social media measurement in the context of a broader business measurement strategy. What do you think – is measuring social media success useful by itself? How do you link social media metrics to larger business goals?

Evan Hamilton: You’re not doing social media for the hell of it — it has to be linked to a larger business goal. That might vary though — for Dell it’s selling more computers, for UserVoice it’s both acquiring and retaining customers, and for someone else it’s something different. You definitely have to figure out that goal, map out the KPIs, and then try to accomplish it. Otherwise there’s no point. Just because pools are cool doesn’t mean you should throw away your desk and buy some swim trunks — unless there’s a business objective you can accomplish in the pool.

TweetReach: Do you have any secret techniques, tools, or other Jedi strategies that you can share with our readers? Any best practices for getting greater reach for your content?

Evan Hamilton: Use the Google URL tool to add tracking tags to your URLs. I’m tired of hearing people say that Twitter clients make it impossible to tell where traffic came from. If you use a tracking tag, you will (largely) know. For getting greater reach of your content, I suggest just being part of the conversation. All the “tricks” I’ve seen and tried are rarely as successful as talking to people and sharing good stuff with them.

TweetReach: How important is a person’s influence to your social media efforts? How do you decide who to respond to?

Evan Hamilton: Everyone deserves fair treatment, and you never know who has a network effect that isn’t measurable.

TweetReach: Where do you go for measurement and analytics-related news and insight – any particular websites, blogs, forums, Twitter accounts that are of particular value?

Evan Hamilton: I mainly listen to what my network has to say, honestly. Best practices will always bubble to the top.

TweetReach: Thanks, Evan!

Evan Hamilton is Community Manager at UserVoice, where he handles social media, content creation, customer support, and community-building. Evan writes the blog “Understanding Your Customers” for UserVoice, featuring insights into succeeding through great customer service.

Written by Dean Cruse

August 10th, 2011 at 6:02 pm

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TakeFive with TweetReach – Holly Homer

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Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with notable members of the social media analytics and measurement community.

This week we’re happy to welcome Holly Homer, writer of June Cleaver Nirvana, founding partner at Business 2 Blogger, and operator of several websites devoted to her home in Texas, including the popular She is Dallas.

TweetReach: Welcome Holly! Let’s start with talking about how you got started using social media. Can you describe your first “ah-ha” moment?

Holly Homer: I had been blogging for a year or so when Twitter started to become popular among bloggers, but I was Twitter-resistant. I was happily using Plurk. Plurk was great because it was similar to Twitter, but the comments nested so you could follow a full conversation. The Plurk timeline showed a conversation topic and how many people had responded below. I was mocking my friends on Twitter and lamenting how random and pointless Twitter was when one of them said, “Who cares how great Plurk is if everyone is on Twitter.” That was the moment I realized that the key to social media was the social part. I got over my Twitter issues and have grown to find its random nature charming.

TweetReach: How important was measurement in your initial strategy and how has that evolved?

Holly Homer: Initially, I had no strategy. I am a mom blogger. I am posting pictures of my kids and telling silly suburban stories. As my readership grew, I started getting approached by others to write about something on their agenda. Back then, blogging was (and is now to a lesser degree) in no-man’s-land. No one wanted to pay for me to do things because it was unchartered territory, but they still wanted me to do things… just for free. I figured out really quickly that if I ever expected to be paid for blogging, I was going to have to figure out how to prove my worth. I started learning about SEO, Google Analytics, StumbleUpon, Alexa, Twitter and Facebook to help define my sphere of influence.

As my sphere of influence grew, I was getting more and more email pitches. Some mornings I would wake up to an inbox with 5 or 6 new ways I could write about a company in exchange for a product or service. None of these pitches fit my blog, but that didn’t mean they weren’t good opportunities for another blogger so I passed them on to my blogging friends. This went on for a few months and I thought, “Someone needs to organize all this!”. That is when I had the idea for Business 2 Blogger. I bought the URL and sat on it for nearly a year as I tried to avoid taking on another project. In the meantime, I found some partners and in February of 2010 we launched the site that matches companies with bloggers. It is based on the HARO model where businesses tell us what type of bloggers they need and how many and we pass that information on in an email to our blogger members. The interested bloggers “apply” for the opportunity and a match is made.

The information I had learned about how to justify my own worth was now being used to help other bloggers find writing opportunities. I am a big believer in online karma.

TweetReach: What metrics are most important for your job and/or your company?

Holly Homer: Each and every campaign we run at Business 2 Blogger is different. People are looking for different things for different reasons, but all of them have to justify a budget. The better the match, the more effective the message will be within a sphere of influence. BUT we still have to define a sphere of influence. In campaign responses, bloggers self-report traffic but in all of our paid campaigns, we verify with Alexa ranking, Compete score, Twitter metrics, Facebook likes and Klout to try and achieve the most objective picture of actual influence.

When I manage a blogger campaign, my weekly reports include URLs of blog posts written about my client and TweetReach numbers surrounding the promotion’s keywords, the client’s Twitter profile and any related hashtags. I am in LOVE with TweetReach trackers. I buy extra trackers like I buy shoes – a girl needs one for every occasion! Clients appreciate the numbers (and fancy graphs), but it is extremely helpful to me in finding those bloggers who go the extra mile. The extra mile isn’t exclusive to Twitter and often the people at the top of my TweetReach report are also the bloggers who tagged several extra times on Facebook or wrote an extra blog post. They can’t help it and they are the people you want on your next promotion.

TweetReach: Does size matter? David Armano has written about the importance of topical influence. What do you think? How important is the size of someone’s social graph vs. their influence in a particular topical area?

Holly Homer: Size TOTALLY matters. Social media influence is about influence. To influence there needs to be an audience. I hear people claim that they have a “small, but engaged audience”. Just because I have a large number of followers doesn’t mean I don’t have an “engaged” core. This argument is easily won by a TweetReach report. Let’s leave out number of impressions for argument sake and look at number of retweets, recruitment of others to a conversation and number of responses. I will take the blogger with the 5,000 followers almost every time. The fact that someone HAS 5,000 followers shows a serious level of engagement.

TweetReach: Any social media pet peeves? What practices irritate you the most when you look at the state of the industry?

Holly Homer: UGH. I take poor social media skills personally and feel compelled to gently correct. Bad Twitter affects us all. Take the example of the auto-direct message. The fact that 80% (my guess) of people on Twitter now send one out when I follow them has rendered the Twitter DM useless. Who wants to wade through all that spam willingly? People forget that there are OTHER people on the other end of Twitter. Twitter is like a huge networking cocktail party. Introduce yourself, shake a few hands, listen to a few stories and skip the hard sell.

TweetReach: Great advice. Thanks, Holly!

Holly Homer writes June Cleaver Nirvana, runs several websites devoted to her home in Texas including She is Dallas, and is a founding partner at Business 2 Blogger. She is the mom of three boys who occasionally slips away to the nearest casino for a poker tournament. Follow her on Twitter as @Texasholly.

Written by Dean Cruse

August 3rd, 2011 at 5:36 pm

TakeFive with TweetReach – Laura Beck

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Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with notable members of the social media analytics and measurement community. This week we’re delighted to welcome Laura Beck, Founder of stripedshirt.com and a 20-year PR professional, where she has consistently focused her energy on helping create awareness and buzz for early stage technology companies.

TweetReach: Welcome Laura! Let’s start with talking about how you got started using social media. Can you describe you first “ah-ha” moment?

Laura Beck: I’ve been on LinkedIn since mid-2008, and always have and continue to think of that as more my online rolodex; my contacts database. But, I got hooked on Facebook early, and hard, and it’s been consistent. I joined a year prior, in mid-2007 more for personal networking, keeping in touch with friends, planning high school and college reunions, seeing regular snapshots of the lives of the people I care about. But, my ah-ha moment on social media, I guess, was CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) in January 2009, when my hand was forced to join Twitter: some press friends were scolding me for not being on yet and threatened to make @fakelaurabeck and tweet away. I had to defend my Twitter turf, get my handle, and start to participate. And, while scary at first, holy cow to a fantastic way to engage with people in quick, direct ways.

TweetReach: How important was measurement in your initial strategy and how has that evolved?

Laura Beck: Initially, Twitter was play time and wasn’t about measurement at all. It was a science experiment — to see if you could reach someone, if they’d respond, if people would pass on something you tweeted. That quickly has evolved to Twitter being as critical and legit a communications channel and an information channel as blogs, online publications, even print publications. So along those lines, when you are doing public relations these days — for a client or for yourself — you best know the impact of every hit, every mention. That includes Twitter, blogs, even LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr — IF you could measure all these, and figure out the impact, the reach.

TweetReach: Let’s talk about consistency in measurement. Agencies and marketers have had to use a variety of tools and metrics to analyze the performance of their social media efforts, resulting in inconsistent results. How important is the ability to measure and report on social media results in a consistent way to you and your clients?

Laura Beck: Holy cow, it’s the holy grail. Even being able to measure and report at all with some sort of metrics, even if inconsistent, not apples to apples. Anything at all is something. We’ve been talking about this for years — and now it’s 20 years later. We’ve never been able to crack the code, get beyond “ad equivalency” or circulation as a basis for value, for the worth of a hit or a mention. And those approaches have been archaic for print publications for years, let alone online outlets, let alone blogs, let alone a tweet. This is the holy grail, but no one’s found the cup yet.

TweetReach: Olivier Blanchard and others have written about the need to look at social media measurement in the context of a broader business measurement strategy. What do you think? Is measuring social media success useful by itself?

Laura Beck: For the past 2-3 years, I’ve considered all things social media “just another channel.” Seriously. My business always, ultimately is PUBLIC relations. Not press. It’s about reaching and influencing the publics, a company’s targets (whether customers, or partners, investors, employees, etc.) positively, and moving them to action. A blog post, a tweet, a Facebook update, a YouTube video — any of these may do the trick. They are another channel to positively reach a target. Therefore, all things social better be part of the whole marketing mix. And therefore, all things social should be measured, considered, and factored in along with all business measurement. Something social may just directly create a sale, and you can be darn sure all things social indirectly affect sales, awareness, perception of a company, a brand, an individual — positively or negatively.

TweetReach: Traditionally media success has been measured using reach, impressions, exposure. How important are these metrics when looking at social media campaigns? What else to you need to measure?

Laura Beck: I think these measures are just as important in social as in any marketing campaign. But again, holy heck are they hard to measure, quantify, and value. Overall impact is still both a volume and a value game, and hopefully we are getting to a world where it’s the value that matters -– reaching the right people, versus thousands of people where you hope something sticks with a few. So while sheer reach and overall exposure are important — blog readership, twitter followers, how many times something was retweeted — again, with social, where you can be laser-precise, I’m hoping we are getting to a place where the measure of success of a marketing campaign could be clearly tracked down to who was reached and what action they took. Literally, really measuring “conversions” versus just impressions. Whereas PR has almost always been air cover for sales, with social, we have the opportunity to be the ground team, too.

TweetReach: Let’s talk about the measurement of reach – how do you weigh the importance of the quantity of a campaign’s reach – the overall size of the potential audience – vs the quality of that reach? Both are important, but how do you help your clients understand the difference and the impact?

Laura Beck: This is what I’m getting at above, a bit. And my personal theory, at least in Twitter, is that ideally a brand wants to find, mine and engage on an ongoing basis with 100 true fans. Period. If you can find the right people with the right power of influence, and mine them (get to know them, get them to know and care about your brand), and then engage with them on an ongoing basis, have real conversations — boom — you have success. They are brand advocates, they pass on their love for your brand to their networks, and it’s genuine, and pure, and “third party.” This is what I think the future of social COULD be, and wow, would it be more valuable, time efficient, respectful to all and end a lot of the echo chamber stuff we have flying around right now with just volumes and volumes of information and the same content recycled. But, we have to all work together to prove it out, and have some case studies and examples of it working. THAT will help companies believe and take on this approach as well.

TweetReach: Thanks for your thoughts and time, Laura!

After 18+ years working for PR agencies, Laura Beck is focused on independent marketing and PR consulting as well as running her own commerce business, www.stripedshirt.com. Until May 2010, she ran the Austin Texas office of Porter Novelli for nearly 10 years, opening it at the very end of the dot com bubble in 2000 at 29 years old. Under Laura’s leadership, the office grew to staff 16 people and serviced upwards to 25 clients at a time. Laura’s focus for the office and personal passion has been largely technology start ups, working with entrepreneurs to bring their dreams to life, gain critical visibility, create positive buzz. That continues now as an independent consultant.

Laura’s expertise — and love — lies in client counsel, project management, strategic program development, media relations and staff development. Laura prides herself with being active on the press front lines every day and loves nothing better than successfully placing a good story, which she still does regularly, all the way up the line to New York Times profiles, and Wall Street Journal reviews. In fact, Laura was named one of PR Source’s 35 Top Tech Communicators of 2008, as so voted by the media.

Prior to her 10+ years with Porter Novelli in Austin, she was with the Boston office of the agency. Before that, Laura was with Lois Paul & Partners. She began the 18-year agency stretch at Weber Group, now Weber Shandwick. Laura is a decade-long Austin Texas resident now, but her Boston roots will always run deep with love for her Boston College alma mater, and the Red Sox, so much so that one of her two little Texas-born daughters sports the middle name Fenway. You can bet all these Boston colors, and many more, are represented by stripedshirt.

Written by Dean Cruse

July 28th, 2011 at 10:29 am

TakeFive with TweetReach – Jen Grant

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Welcome to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing series where we talk with notable members of the social media analytics and measurement community, pulling together insight, commentary and conversation around all things measurement. As always, please let us know what you think!

This week we’re happy to welcome Jen Grant, Director of Social Media for Intrapromote, a boutique search and social media marketing agency for some of the world’s biggest brands.

TweetReach: Welcome Jen! Let’s kick it off with a question about measurement. How important was measurement in your initial strategy for social media marketing and how has that evolved?

Jen Grant: The importance of measurement and proving ROI has become incredibly more important as our clients’ social media strategies have evolved. Primarily because more internal stakeholders are involved and excited to see results, but also because campaigns are maturing and we need to constantly adjust tactics for higher success rates.

TweetReach: What about about consistency in measurement? Agencies and marketers have had to use a variety of tools and metrics to analyze the performance of their social media efforts, resulting in inconsistent results. How important is the ability to measure and report on social media results in a consistent way to your agency and your clients?

Jen Grant: Consistency is extremely important! You’d be surprised at all the small details that make big differences when measuring social activities. Are you pulling numbers and running reports from Twitter on Mondays instead of Fridays? It makes a difference because Twitter’s API only holds data for 5 days and unless your brand is just as engaged over the weekends as it is on the weekdays, your numbers will be considerably lower.

Its also important to compare apples to apples. One simple way to do so is to compare the best piece of content from any given week.

TweetReach: For many, social media has enabled us to become more engaged with our communities. Most of us are in constant communication with our constituents, every day. How do you see integrating analytics and measurement into every-day social media activity. Is it important? How do you see this happening/evolving?

Jen Grant: One thing that social media analytics has helped me do is identify strategic partners within my social graph. I’m a firm believer in not making decisions solely on numbers alone, but I tend to get pretty strategic and scientific when I’m focused on a certain goal. I do extensive evaluations of people who I choose to engage with and consider “influencers”. Many of the considerations are subjective, but when I need to see reliable data and numbers, I rely on TweetReach.

TweetReach: Do you have any secret techniques, tools, or other Jedi strategies that you can share with our readers? Any best practices for getting greater reach for your content?

Jen Grant: Go by your gut. Do the legwork and research, but if your gut is telling you to go a certain direction, follow it — you’re almost always right.

TweetReach: Traditionally media success has been measured using reach, impressions, exposure. How important are these metrics when looking at social media campaigns? What else to you need to measure?

Jen Grant: The main reason I started presenting results in this format was because it was the only thing stakeholders were comfortable with and could relate to. After months of saying a brand’s “@mentions” had reached X, I had to throw in the towel, speak their language and make relative comparisons.

Other important measurements are engagement on blogs and other social networks, open rate of email subscribers, click through on campaign activities and overall engagement percentage.

TweetReach: Does size matter? David Armano has written about the importance of topical influence. What do you think? How important is the size of of someone’s social graph vs their influence in a particular topical area?

Jen Grant: I think size is relative. Someone’s reach is far more important. Also, since our agency is founded in search, the factors being considered by Google and Bing’s algorithms are even more important. We’ve done considerable research and confirmed the importance of many qualities held by influencers are rarely considered in traditional measurement.

TweetReach: Any examples of how analytics have helped you tweak a campaign or program for the better?

Jen Grant: Absolutely. We continuously compare reach and impressions for Blogger Outreach campaigns and tweak our selection process based on findings.

TweetReach: Any social media pet peeves? What practices irritate you the most when you look at the state of the industry?

Jen Grant: Social media pet peeve? Here goes – I’m just gonna put it out there – Klout scores!! I welcome anyone from Klout to call and explain their stuff to me, but after hours of evaluation and numerous conversations with industry insiders, I still can’t find any accuracy between what my Klout score and analysis is vs. what is happening in real life. The concept is great, but the data is always wrong (for me and my clients).

TweetReach: Thanks for your insights, Jen!

Jen Grant is Director of Social Media for Intrapromote and has been immersed in social media for almost 10 years. Jen is a social media expert having positively demonstrated the business value of Twitter, Facebook and various social media tools and applications and excels in blog marketing techniques. Her experience encompasses business development, sales and sales management, marketing, operations, staff development, coaching and mentoring, merchandising, and setting a high standard for customer satisfaction.

Jen creates and implements proven social media strategies at corporate levels to connect businesses with consumers and expand brand awareness across multiple industries. Her experience in building marketing strategies that are scalable and can be executed for brands that have many subsidiaries or locations is an invaluable asset to Intrapromote’s customers.

Venturing into new territory can evoke fear in clients. By walking through both listening and engaging strategies and marking the progress with milestones and KPIs, Jen helps social media clients realize the far-reaching benefit of social media as a marketing tool.

Written by Dean Cruse

July 21st, 2011 at 1:21 pm