So far this month, I’ve mostly been talking about social media plans, how to, what they can do for you. One of my favorite posts on this topic hasn’t been mentioned yet — Lisa Barone’s “Creating Your Social Media Plan.” Here are Lisa’s high points (but, as always, PLEASE go read her post!).
- Secure Your Brand
- Set Your Metrics/Goals/Desired Outcomes
- Mission Statement
- “Know Who You Are”
- “Marketing is storytelling”
- Where to Build
- “You want to plan your social media attack so that it’s as concentrated and as powerful as it can be. You don’t want to waste your time in communities where either no one is talking or they’re simply not interested in your kind.”
- Rules for Engagement
- How will social media be integrated into the company’s core strategy?
- Who from the company will engage? Will there be one voice? A team using one branded account? Personal accounts?
- How much time will be spent on social media?
- How long will the company “test” the different sites before evaluating their success?
- If a serious fire breaks out, what is the proper protocol and who needs to become involved?
Barone, Lisa. Creating Your Social Media Plan. Outspoken Media.
One of the big points she mentions that I haven’t touched on yet is metrics. Assessment is something that managers love, for good reason. My favorite phrase for this is, “Anecdotes amuse, data persuades.” Yesterday we talked about anecdotes in the guise of storytelling, today we talk about the data (which is another way of telling the story). Jeremiah Owyang (who I mentioned earlier in this series) has another way of putting this idea – “what success will look like.” Take a look at his post for examples of both goals and ideas for measuring success in your social media efforts. This is really helpful because those examples help tell you what you want to track or capture, and a lot of these might get missed if you don’t articulate them clearly in advance.
Owyang, Jeremiah. Why Your Social Media Plan should have Success Metrics. Web Strategy January 25th, 2008. http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/01/25/why-you-social-media-plan-should-indicate-what-does-success-look-like/
So what kind of metrics do you get? As the comments on Jeremiah’s post illustrate, there is hard data and soft data and goals. I find most but not all social media tools usually give you some kind of data about what’s happening there. What they give you is what interests them, and not necessarily what you’d like, but this is what you have to work with. You try to make it tell a story for your managers. Here are some examples about social media metrics. Think of how you might make a story for your presence with this type of information, or what would you do to gather data that tells your story better?
One of the reasons I switched from UM’s Moveable Type implementation (mBlog) was that I could not get stats from it. Here on WordPress I get graphs and data for the current week and life of the blog. I know that my top day this week was two days ago, and that the most popular story this week was my “Parable of the Business Cards.” That post this week is the third highest day ever on this blog in this location, and is half as high as a post a month ago promoting a UK higher ed report that wasn’t commonly known over here in the US and a tenth as high as my most popular post ever on how to make a Facebook page. You would think that my social media posts are the only things that get attention here and that I should not spend as much time on healthcare. But. The most posts I ever got in one day was for a health post comparing two tools, and which has the most comments of anything on this blog.
I notice different patterns of use. My social media posts tend to keep being read over time, while the health posts spike, and then stop. I can check stats on individual blogposts or blocks of time. I see that a very few posts account for most of the traffic (but I can’t guess what those would be ahead of time). I can see what search phrases people use to find my blog.
On the wikis I manage, mostly on Wetpaint, I get completely different types of metrics. I can see how many people are engaged with the site, and in what roles. I can find out how many edits I made myself. It doesn’t tell me the difference between writing a whole new page or changing a typo. I could easily inflate my stats if they mattered to my bosses, so this is not really useful information. One way we’ve gotten around the weakness is by adding web analytics tools to the wiki. For example, Wetpaint supports Sitemeter integration.
Likewise with Twitter, I can tell how many posts I make in a given period of tiem, but that doesn’t tell you how useful they are or how engaging. Retweets are a bit of an indicator, but again, these are kind of random. I couldn’t possibly guess ahead of time that my top retweet for today was mentioning a news story. I have noticed that things I tweet in the early morning are more likely to get positive attention than things I tweet at the end of the day. If I tweet a blogpost at night before I go to bed, I probably want to repeat it about 10am Eastern Time the next day.
Although Twitter itself doesn’t make it easy to either archive your tweets or get stats, there are other tools for this. One example is TweetStats.
Flickr provides pretty good metrics, again with both aggregate and detail statistics available over recent time and the life of the account. It also provides descriptive statistics on the contents of the account and activity related to the account, such as what’s most popular, what is most commented, etcetera.
Slideshare and Youtube
Slideshare and Youtube give me similar kinds of metrics – views and comments. Both of these tools allow embeds, but Slideshare gives me information about the embeds. I can track down who used my slides on their blog or webpage, and how many views happened at each location. This is really useful if I care whether I have a surprisingly attentive audience in the Middle East, for example. When Mashable picked up one of my slideshows, my stats went through the roof for that presentation, and stats showed this was no coincidence.
Youtube just started offering a new metrics section: Insight (NOTE: must be logged in to your own account to see results). This tells me that my videos (at least recently) are watched mostly by people my age in Australia. Go figure.