Archive for March, 2011
Liza Sperling recently wrote a great guest post on oneforty where she compared various social media tools. She included a useful breakdown to help marketers, community managers and others interested in social media understand when they need what kind of tool. While Liza’s taxonomy is really helpful, we think about it a little bit differently. Here’s the way we like to classify social media tools:
If you’re managing brands or clients in social media, there are probably three functions that are of primary importance to your work: monitoring, workflow, and measurement tools. Many tools will fall clearly into one category or another, but there are an increasing number of applications that overlap multiple categories. There aren’t really any tools that do all three things very well, however, so you will probably need to use more than one to accomplish all of these activities, at least for now.
Workflow, or engagement, tools help you coordinate multiple social media accounts with multiple authors, allowing you to assign tasks and post updates. These are the communication tools and Twitter clients; if you manage any social media accounts, you’ll probably spend a lot of your time using these kinds of tools. You could also include social CRM applications in this category, as those help organize customers. Our favorites in the workflow category include CoTweet, TweetDeck and HootSuite, but there are tons more in the business dashboard category on oneforty. Many of these workflow tools provide some simple metrics and basic monitoring capabilities, but for more in-depth and comprehensive statistics or listening features, you’ll need to look at tools in the other two categories.
Monitoring (also known as listening and brand tracking) tools help you cut through the mass of social media conversations to get at the ones that mean something to you and your clients. These tools are great for keeping track of what people are saying about a topic, and which conversations are important to participate in or respond to. There are a variety of brand tracking tools listed on oneforty. Many monitoring tools provide some sort of measurement, often through content analysis in an attempt to understand concepts like sentiment and influencers. On the flip side, some measurement tools provide monitoring capabilities; for example, TweetReach Pro is used by a lot of our customers for monitoring brand mentions.
Finally, measurement tools analyze social media conversations to put numbers to the chatter. These are all the metrics, statistics, and analysis tools. TweetReach is primarily a measurement tool. This category is probably the most diverse of the three overall social media tools areas. Metrics can be calculated in so many ways for so many stakeholders that each individual measurement tool provides a slightly different spin with its numbers. Because of this, it can be overwhelming trying to choose which metrics tool to use for your particular needs.
And this is why we find it helpful to further break the measurement category down into three more specific areas: paid, owned, and earned media. Forrester recently published research that explains the differences between paid, owned and earned media. I definitely recommend this post if you haven’t read it, but here’s the gist.
- Owned media refers to the sites a company runs – its website, Twitter account, Facebook page, and so on. Owned media metrics tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights help you understand how people are interacting with official sites.
- Paid, or bought, media refers to any advertising or sponsorship, like a sponsored Twitter trend, a Google ad, or any other paid social action. Usually you get some metrics from whomever you purchased the content (like Twitter’s sponsored trend analytics).
- Finally, earned media refers to all the conversation generated from those owned and paid media. This includes word of mouth, spontaneous customer opinion, and any kind of buzz about a brand, product or company that you didn’t pay for or create yourself.
A digital campaign will include elements of all three media types, but you only really control the owned and paid messages. With the earned media conversation, you can simply monitor, respond and measure. Earned media is where TweetReach comes in. Our goal is to help you understand the impact of conversations that spring up in social media about your clients, whether it’s related to a specific campaign or event, or whether it’s the general ambient chatter about a topic that occurs in spaces like Twitter. We want to help you answer questions like:
- What was the reach of a conversation?
- How many people are talking about a topic?
- How many people could have seen tweets about a topic?
- What tweets are generating the most buzz?
- Who is generating the most buzz about a topic?
- How does this week’s buzz compare to last week’s buzz? How about this month’s buzz?
- What conversation did a particular paid campaign spark?
Different measurement tools will provide different metrics in different formats. And many of them can be used in combination with each other and with monitoring and workflow tools. It can be difficult and time-consuming to pick the right tool for your particular needs, but the good news is that the tool you need probably exists. Again, we’ll refer you to oneforty – they currently index nearly 250 social media analytics tools (including TweetReach, hint hint).
We all know Twitter is a great place to find helpful information and interesting new ideas. Millions of people share all kinds of things every day. But that’s also one of the biggest problems with Twitter – it’s huge, which makes it nearly impossible to sift through all those tweets to find just the ones you might find useful.
So, here’s one idea to help you use Twitter to quickly and easily find more relevant information about the topics you’re interested in. First, pick a topic. Then run a free TweetReach report with a topic-related keyword and Twitter’s links-only filter.
For example, if you’re interested in social media analytics you could use the following query:
social media measurement filter:links
This query will return only tweets with links, giving you a list of blog posts, articles and websites about social media measurement. This is a great way to learn more about a topic, stay on top of recent news and trends, even find new blogs for your feed reader and interesting Twitter users to follow.
Try it now! And if you need inspiration, check out a few of these reports:
The TweetReach team attended the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas this week. SXSWi is a great big gathering of all kinds of interactive professionals – from social media folks to software developers and startup founders, to designers, researchers and basically anyone interested in the digital space. This year’s SXSWi conference attracted 19,364 attendees (nearly a 36% increase from 2010).
During the conference, we monitored tweets that mentioned SXSW. During the five days of the interactive conference, we tracked:
- 626,513 tweets from
- 172,432 contributors with a
- reach of 56,868,452 that generated
- 2.2 billion impressions.
The most retweeted tweet during the conference was from @SteveCase and received 1,523 retweets.
Most of the TweetReach team will be attending the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas over the next few days. So please allow us a little extra time to return your calls and emails on the following dates:
Thursday, March 10 – Tuesday, March 15
On these days, our support staff will return all non-urgent requests within 24-36 hours and urgent requests as soon as possible. As always, there are several ways to get your questions answered:
- Email us at support [at] unionmetrics [dot] com (recommended)
- Check our FAQs and helpdesk
- Call us at 888-834-8113
- Submit a ZenDesk ticket
- Find us on Twitter
Is your startup launching a new product at South by Southwest Interactive this year? We want to help you keep track of your buzz! For the next week, we’re offering 50% off the first month of a new TweetReach Pro account, just for startups. Use code SXSWSTART.
If you’re a startup, even if you’re not launching something new at SXSWi, you should be measuring your impact on Twitter. TweetReach Pro streams tweets in real time, so you can track and analyze who’s talking about you, how many people are seeing those tweets and more. And as a startup ourselves, we know you don’t have a lot of extra money. So, we want you to try TweetReach Pro for 50% off.
With TweetReach Pro, you can:
- Monitor tweets about your product/company 24×7
- Get in-depth metrics about reach, exposure, tweets and contributors
- Discover your advocates, influencers and trolls
- Export data to CSV or print to a PDF
- Watch trends develop over days, weeks, even months
- Track conversations about your competitors
- Access elevated customer support
And there’s no long-term contract to sign – just give it a try for a month and see what you think. You can upgrade, downgrade or cancel your account anytime. With this 50% off startup discount*, plans start at just $42 per month! Use code SXSWSTART when you sign up.
The whole TweetReach team will be at SXSW in Austin. If you’d like more information about TweetReach, come find one of us! We’ll be tweeting updates from the @tweetreachapp Twitter account. We’d love to talk to you, so let us know if you want to meet up.
*The fine print: This discount is for startups only. Can be used with any plan level, discount will be applied to first month of new account. Standard rate limits and terms are in place. Let us know if you have questions. Expires at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 16, 2011.
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