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5 essential & easy social media metrics you should be measuring right now

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This post by Union Metrics Co-Founder Jenn Deering Davis originally appeared on the KISSmetrics Blog on April 2, 2012.

So your company is now officially participating in social media. You’ve set up a Twitter account, a Facebook page, even a few Pinterest boards. You respond to customer questions, follow fans, post important news, and thank your advocates for their support.

Beyond that, what are you doing to track and monitor these social interactions? If you’re engaging in social media, then you should be measuring those activities. How else will you know how you’re doing? The good news is it’s easier than you think to measure your social media efforts.

Here are five simple, but oh-so-useful social media metrics you should be measuring right now.

1. Volume

The first – and easiest – social media metric to measure is volume. What is the size of the conversation about your brand or your campaign? Volume is a great initial indicator of interest. People tend to talk about things they either love or hate, but they rarely talk about things they simply don’t care about at all.

While volume can seem like a simple counting metric, there’s more to it than just counting tweets and wall posts. It’s important to measure the number of messages about your brand, as well as the number of people talking about your brand, and track how both of those numbers change over time. For example, Facebook Insights has a useful metric (cleverly called “people talking about this”) that measures how many unique people have posted something to their walls about your brand page.

Learn when volume is higher – are there days or times when more people seem to be talking about your brand? You can use this information to focus more of your own posts during these times to get more engagement, which we’ll talk about in a minute.

2. Reach

Reach measures the spread of a social media conversation. On its own, reach can help you understand the context for your content. How far is your content disseminating and how big is the audience for your message? Reach is a measure of potential audience size.

And of course, a large audience is good, but reach alone does not tell you everything. Reach becomes very powerful when compared to other engagement metrics. Use reach as the denominator in your social media measurement equations.

Pick important action or engagement numbers like clicks, retweets, or replies (more on this in a second) and divide them by reach to calculate an engagement percentage. Of the possible audience for your campaign, how many people participated? Reach helps contextualize other engagement metrics.

3. Engagement

Speaking of engagement metrics, this is one of the most important areas to measure in social media. How are people participating in the conversation about your brand? What are they doing to spread your content and engage with the topic?

In most social media settings, content can be both shared and replied to. Twitter retweets (RTs) and Facebook shares and posts are helpful to know who is spreading your content, while comments, replies and likes are helpful to see who is replying to your content. Think carefully about your goals with social media. Are you focused more on generating interaction (replies, comments) or on spreading a message (retweets and posts)? Be sure you’re using metrics that reflect what’s important to your brand right now.

And are there types of content that generate engagement? Start paying attention to what messages generate the most replies and RTs. It might surprise you what people interact with; it’s not always what you expect.

4. Influence

Who is talking about your brand and what kind of impact do they have? Influence is probably the most controversial social media metric; there are myriad tools that measure social influence, and they all do it in different ways. But one thing they all agree on is that audience size does not necessarily relate to influence. Just because someone has a lot of friends or followers, that does not mean they can encourage those followers to actually do anything.

Based on past actions, we can make assumptions about how influential someone might be in the future. This type of potential influence is useful to decide who to reach out to when you’re preparing for a campaign. Tools like Klout and PeerIndex assign people an influence score. Tools like these measure online social capital and the (potential) ability to influence others.

Kinetic influence, on the other hand, will help you understand who is participating in and driving conversation about your brand and your campaigns, and who gets others to participate in these specific conversations. You can find your brand advocates by focusing on people whose messages are amplified by others, and not just who has the most followers.

5. Share of Voice

Finally, to really understand how well you’re doing on social media, you should consider a share of voice metric. How does the conversation about your brand compare to conversations about your competitors? Determine what percentage of the overall conversation about your industry is focused on your brand compared to your main competitors. And learn from your competitors’ successes; since so many of these social media conversations are public, you can measure your competitors’ impact just as easily as you can measure your own.

Consistency and preparation are essential to effective social media measurement. Pick your favorite metrics and start tracking them now. Use the same formulas and tools to calculate these numbers every week or month. Track your numbers over time and pay attention to how they change. If you see anything that looks higher or lower than what you typically expect, investigate it. By measuring – and paying attention to – these five social media metrics, you’ll be able to better understand the impact and effectiveness of your social media activity.

Interested in learning more about TweetReach? Take a look at our website or contact our sales team for more.

Written by Dean Cruse

April 26th, 2012 at 11:05 am

This Week in Social Analytics #25

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Hello again from This Week in Social Analytics, our ongoing summary of some of our favorite posts from the week in the world of measurement, analytics and social media. Enjoy!

Flipping the Funnel: The Four Levels of Influence
Tom Webster suggests that marketers have it backwards by focusing on influencers. Instead, perhaps we should pay more attention to the influenced and on creating brand advocates.

Number of Fans and Followers is NOT a Business Metric – What You Do With Them Is
Jeremiah Owyang reminds us that vanity metrics don’t matter — business that comes from fans and followers are what is important.

Top 10 Takeaways from #ACCELERATE
Last week, a great group of #measure pros met at Web Analytics Demystified’s #ACCELERATE conference in San Francisco. In this post, Michele Hinojosa lays out her top 10 takeaways from the event.

Analysts, and executives, and monkeys. Oh My!
Lee Isensee summarizes some of his thoughts from the #ACCELERATE conference as well as the recent eMetrics conference and warns that analysts must not become isolated as “web analysts” and move beyond just analyzing data and building reports.

Gilligan Meets Super #ACCELERATE — Recreated
And in another #ACCELERATE wrap up post, check out Tim Wilson’s awesome presentation, and yes, it’s in rhyme.

Written by Dean Cruse

November 21st, 2011 at 9:38 am

This Week in Social Analytics #23

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Hello again from This Week in Social Analytics, our ongoing summary of some of our favorite posts from the week in the world of measurement, analytics and social media. Enjoy!

How brands can turn the art of social media scientific
As she works with sports teams, leagues, athletes and corporate brands, Amy Martin of Digital Royalty combines what she calls cold (traditional) metrics and warm (social) metrics to track a measure of return on influence and discusses the direct correlation between it and revenue.

SEO Beats PPC & Social Media For Generating Leads
In a recent study of 500 U.S. online marketers by Webmarketing123, SEO is the number one source of leads for both B2C and B2B marketers, beating out both PPC and social media marketing. A handy infographic of the results can also be found here.

Stop the Social Puppetry for Klout and Other Influence Metrics!
In this widely retweeted post, Pam Moore discusses the recent changes to Klout’s algorithm for scoring online influence and argues that any measure of social influence should be viewed as just one of the numbers in the bag of measurement tools and metrics.

Written by Dean Cruse

November 5th, 2011 at 9:00 am

This Week in Social Analytics #13

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Hello again from This Week in Social Analytics, our ongoing summary of some of our favorite posts from the week in the world of measurement, analytics and social media. Enjoy!

Social Business Intelligence: Positioning a Strategic Lens on Opportunity
Dion Hinchcliffe with Dachis Group talks about social media at the intersection of big data and business value and lays out a strategic view of Social Business Intelligence. Dion’s framework compares social analytics — the measurement and data mining from social networks with social business intelligence — a broader, business-centric process that he believes will become a vital component of the way that companies derive bottom-line business benefits from their social media efforts.

There are Three Kinds of Lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Social Media Metrics
The ability to measure a multitude of outcomes in social media can tempt many marketers to lose focus on what really matters. Debra Ellis at Wilson & Ellis argues that the only metrics that matter with any marketing activity are sales, costs, and customer satisfaction. If your social media activity isn’t increasing sales, decreasing costs, or improving customer satisfaction, then you’re wasting your time.

The Standard for Influence: Is It Really?
Stephanie Parker from Zamolution warns to be careful when using online influence scoring tools to measure your social media efforts. While they can be very useful in providing insight into important followers and should be used for that, it is often more important is to be engaging with a targeted, focused audience that aligns with your objectives.

Social Media Success Begins and Ends with Analytics
Chuck Hemann with Edelman Digital writes about how listening and measurement have advanced significantly over the last several years as foundational elements of social media programs. He provides some ideas on how to take it to the next level including integrating listening and measurement into the overall communications process, applying resources to the task, and surveying your audience for feedback. Chuck argues that social media analytics will be at the foundation of all communications programs for the foreseeable future.

5 Ways to Measure Social Media
Ron Jones with Symetri Internet Marketing provides a quick set of steps for measuring the success of your social media marketing efforts including awareness and exposure, share of voice and sentiment, influence, engagement, and popularity.

Written by Dean Cruse

August 26th, 2011 at 4:05 pm

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

The Week in Social Analytics #9

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Welcome back to This Week in Social Analytics, our ongoing summary of some of our favorite posts from the past week in the world of measurement, analytics and social media. Enjoy!

Influencers
Chris Brogan suggests that marketers should stop worrying about how their online influence is scored and start using the social capital they have to build and nurture relationships with the people that really matter to whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish online.

Brand Measurement: Analytics & Metrics for Branding Campaigns
An oldie but goodie from Avinash Kaushik where he outlines seven potential outcomes of online branding campaigns and the metrics you can use to measure them.

The Single Answer to Every PR Measurement Question
Katie Delahaye Paine hosts a Q&A session on the ragan.com site where she shares the most important answer to PR measurement questions (hint: business impact matters).

Marketing Metrics that Matter to Your CEO
Barbra Gago of Left Brain posts on the HubSpot blog about the metrics that CEOs care about and gives tips for marketers who need to manage expectations up the chain.

5 Metrics to Track on Twitter
So what should you measure on Twitter? Tara Coomans outlines her top five metrics to track when measuring the impact of your engagement and campaigns.

Written by Dean Cruse

July 29th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

This Week in Social Analytics #8

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Welcome back to This Week in Social Analytics, our continuing round-up of some of our favorite posts on social analytics, measurement, Twitter and other items that caught our eye over the past week. Enjoy, and please let us know what you think.

The New PEO (Paid, Earned, Owned) Media Model
Greg Shove, founder and CEO of Halogen Media Group discusses how brands can streamline ad spending by optimizing their strategies for paid, earned, and owned media. By reallocating budget to support earned media efforts and balancing investment in paid and owned media, marketers can take their brand strategies to the next level.

There’s Influence, and Then There’s Influence
Valeria Maltoni of Conversation Agent describes how some influencers help make us aware of content and others help us decide to act. Good discussion on how to look at influence from both camps.

Social Media and R.O.I. – A Little Bit of Clarity
In case you missed it, Olivier Blanchard gives us a great reminder on some of the proper ways to think about measuring the ROI of marketing activities that use social media.

Written by Dean Cruse

July 22nd, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Learn more about your impact on Twitter by understanding retweets and retweeters

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One of the best ways to measure engagement on Twitter is by understanding how your tweets (and tweets about you) are retweeted. There’s a lot more to it than just how many retweets you’re getting or what day and time you get the most retweets. You might also want to investigate:

  • Repeat retweeters. Who are your top retweeters? Who retweets you most often? These frequent retweeters are likely your biggest advocates – how can you reward and engage them better?
  • High exposure retweets. What tweets reach the most people and generate the most impressions? Sometimes just one retweet can result in a very large amplification. Do you know when that happens?
  • High influence retweets. Which tweets are retweeted by influencers? Influence isn’t just about who has the biggest following, but also about who can make an actual impact. Klout is one good way to measure influence, but there are many others.
  • New retweeters. Has someone recently retweeted you for the first time? This could be great opportunity to start a conversation or learn more about how someone learned about you. Engage with new retweeters.

An interesting note about retweets – did you know that Twitter will only show you up to 100 retweets per tweet? If you’re getting more retweets than that, there’s no way to find out how many – and who they’re from – from Twitter.com. You could be missing retweets!

Let’s look at an example tweet. This tweet was originally sent to 2,173 followers, and after retweets it resulted in more than 22,000 impressions.

This tweet was retweeted 6 times. Now depending on your particular benchmarks, 6 retweets might not seem like very many, but in this case these few retweets generated an additional 20,000 impressions, thanks in part to contributions from @rickoshea and @iia. That’s nice amplification! Plus, @pkellypr has an impressive Klout score of 56.

Truly understanding your impact on Twitter requires more than simple quantitative measures like the number of retweets of your tweets or the number of followers you have. There’s a wealth of informative and actionable data just waiting to be explored. Try digging a little deeper into how and by whom your tweets are retweeted.

If you’re tracking tweets with a TweetReach Tracker, then you can quickly and easily get answers to all these questions about retweets. We have tons of data about each tweet, retweet, and contributor who mentions your brand on Twitter. And we can track all your retweets, no matter how many there are. There’s a short demo of the Tracker here, and we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.

Written by Jenn D

June 14th, 2011 at 4:22 pm

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Reach isn’t influence. Keep your umbrella handy.

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Recently, we read an interesting blog post from Tom Webster about the limits of online influence as he asked for help supporting the people of Christchurch, New Zealand after the terrible earthquake they experienced. (A very worthy cause. Please help him out!)

He makes a lot of great points in this post about the weaknesses of influencer campaigns on social media like Twitter. While TweetReach doesn’t calculate influence, a number of people use our tools to help determine influence and influencers, so naturally this post grabbed our attention (and he quoted some TweetReach numbers in the post, so that helps too).  In general, we agree with Tom’s overall premise – influence is a messy, complicated concept, and far from being fully understood or properly utilized.

Matt Ridings of Techguerilla added this comment to Tom’s post:

I think what you *are* exposing is that in a medium like Twitter, simple reach has very little to do with success. And that is a big thing for people to know indeed.

We absolutely agree. Now, of course everyone wants large numbers for reach or exposure, but they have to be put into context along with action metrics like clicks or actual transactions. Our reach metric, which is the number of unique Twitter accounts that tweets about a topic were delivered to, is a measure of the size of your potential audience. A high reach means a large audience, but it doesn’t guarantee that members of that audience will actually do what they’re asked.

So what is reach good for? We think reach is the universal denominator. It belongs in an equation to normalize other metrics. If reach is the size of your potential audience, how many people actually acted on a tweet? Divide your action metric by that reach. Depending on your goals, that action number could be anything from retweets to clicks to purchases on your website. With reach as a denominator, you can use this number across campaigns and time periods to start to really understand your effectiveness. Without reach to normalize these metrics, you’re flying blind. Clicks were up 20% this week? Great! But is your campaign actually improving if your reach increased by 50%?

Where does this leave influence? Right now the familiar influence metrics essentially work by saying that someone has influenced people to do some social activities in the past and therefore could potentially influence people to do them again. This “potential influence” is a little like predicting the weather by assuming it’ll do the same thing today that it did yesterday. It’s often right, but you frequently end up soaked without an umbrella. The point here is that a message from an “influencer” as part of your campaign is no guarantee that you’ll get results. Your message may not resonate with his or her audience, Twitter might be failwhaling, or it might just be a pretty day and everyone’s outside.

Successful campaigns are about reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time. Those are all difficult things to do but there are a couple approaches that can help. First, you can’t rely solely on algorithms – learn your industry and the true influencers (as humans understand the concept). Develop relationships with them and they’ll help you spread the word. Second, measure, measure, measure. This is where reach and other metrics can truly help because they give you a baseline to measure performance over time so you can try new things and learn from your mistakes. In the end combining these ingredients will help you succeed.

Photo credit: Running through the storm by yooperann

Written by Hayes D

March 1st, 2011 at 1:49 pm

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