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Social Media Measurement for Beginners

February 25, 2009

For the most part, we all know what social media technologies, like blogs, podcasts, etc., are. But did you know that they could do many new tasks for corporations like reaching new customers or engaging them in dialogues with their stakeholders. They also can provide many new sources of information regarding a company’s image online. But how is this done? How can information from so many sources be channeled into one coherent message?

Well, there are several companies out there devoted to determining what the effect some of these social media technologies are and work to collect and analyze data on behalf of companies. I will use this blog to discuss not only who some of these companies are and how they work to measure social media effectiveness but also what is social media effectiveness and how it can be measured.

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So in conclusion…

April 6, 2009

So we have established that social media measurement should be a topic of great interest to any company that is looking into using social media technologies to communicate with its stakeholders. Understanding what things like who is saying something about your company, what they are saying, and how many people are receiving that message should be really important to understanding what types of problems your company may be facing, or even just how well you are doing, is very important to the success of any business. With the development of social media, it has become much easier for companies to reach out to and hear what their stakeholders have to say. 

So far we have looked at companies and tools that facilitate this process of understanding how well a corporations social media campaigns are working as well as what their constituents are saying about them. Some companies like Radian6 and Biz360 provide tons of tools and support to a business and help them understand what is being said out there in the blogosphere and other online communities. There are basic tools like Technorati and socialmention* that allow anyone to conduct a general search on specific topics of interest being discussed and what are the most popular blogs. 

We have also looked at a few of the ways to analyze the data that we get from measuring social media. Like understanding the concept of ROI and learning what parts of social media campaigns are working. So I will leave you readers with this slideshow I found from Pop Labs SEM Workshop, which does a great job of giving just the basic overview of what social media is, does, how to measure it, and why its important.

A little more on ROI

April 6, 2009

As discussed in my last post, ROI stands for the return on investment. This is quite important in terms of social media measurement for a couple of reasons.

Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research writes about in his post on how important ROI is now during the recession for many professionals working in PR and marketing. Since the affects of PR and marketing are very subtle and not easily definable, it makes sense that these people would be the first jobs to be eliminated. It is especially hard to measure what the effects of social media are in achieving corporate goals.

ROI is one of the best factors that can be used to show how these technologies are achieving target goals because shows monetary results not just qualitative ones.

Bill Johnston of Forum One Networks, also has a really good post in his blog on the survival of online communities. I think that his points are very relevant to the importance of being able to justify the use of social media in a corporation. One really interesting point of his, is that by having qualitative data you are then able to explain to the organization the cost of not participating in social media. This could be potentially beneficial because it would show how competitors would have an advantage over you as well as provides solid financial proof of the usefulness of social media. 

So ROI is a very useful concept for corporate communicators to understand because not only does it explain how productive your efforts have been but it also could potentially save your job.

What are the results?

April 2, 2009

Now that I have taken a few posts to discuss the companies and tools that corporations can use to measure the effects of social media. Now, I feel like it would be a good time to talk about what are some of the results that come out of these companies and tools. Both John Bell of Ogilvy and Charlene Li of Forrester Research discuss two different ways of understanding the results.

First, Charlene Li discusses analyzing ROI, which stands for “return on investment”. Basically she wants to know what is the monetary value of how effective the technology was. Her company has been able to determine exactly how much money down to a rough estimate of the dollar amount that a company has saved. She gives the example of they were able to measure GM’s blog called the “FastLane” and by measuring how much traffic it received and how many comments the blog got, they found out that GM saved roughly the equivalent of $180,000 a year in focus groups.

John Bell uses Li’s model of measurement as a starting point to his which focuses on “the measure of success”. His discussion does not focuses on money but rather the how are these social media technologies working and what parts of each are working. Basically, Bell would like to know how using social media technologies measure up to more traditional forms of marketing, not in a monetary sense but rather do they have the same results.

So it’s easy to see that both types of analysis are important in social media measurement. ROI can give raw facts and figures where as “the measure of success” can give analysis in to improving the use of programs. What are your thoughts  on what is more effective in terms of measurement?

Not just another company review…part trois

March 30, 2009

So once again, I would like to review a few more companies that Katie Chatfield posted about in her blog. As my two previous posts go, I have reviewed a few tools that are used to measure social media. 

I would like to start off this post by looking at Technorati. This site is the leading blog search engine and a comprehensive source of information on blogs. They claim to have indexed more then 1.5 million new blog posts. Their main function is as a search tool for blogs. You can type in the topic or brand that you are researching for and, just like Google, they provide a list of the postings that are relevant to you search. They also index blogs of all types from sports to politics to social media. I believe that Technorati would be useful to any company that is looking to measure what is being said about them in the blogosphere, especially since they have such a large base of blogs to search from. 

Next, I would like to look at Twitt(url)y, which is a site that tracks URLs that people “tweet” to their followers on Twitter. The site ranks all the URLs by the number of votes they receive, basically the more people who tweet the same URL the more votes it receives. Then that URL is ranked on Twitt(url)y’s top 100. I happen to find this source not particularly useful to anyone who is seriously trying to measure corporate buzz in social media because it only indexes the top 100 URLs so there is no guarantee that your company would even been on the site.

So what do you think of these two social media measurement tools? Is Technorati or Twitt(url)y something that you would useful?

Not just another company review…part deux

March 27, 2009

In my last post I discussed a few websites that provided some really interesting tools for social media measurement. Since Katie Chatfield’s blog has so many other useful resources on it, I thought it would be useful to review a couple more in my next few posts.  

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Nielsen’s Buzzmetrics services and today I am going to talk about their service called blogpulse. They advertise this service as a “window to the blogosphere” and rightly so, as it does do just that. It allows for people to search what is being posted on and commented about on blogs. This tool is quite useful because not only does it allow you to search for specific topics and trends within blogs but they also provide daily blog stats that share how many blogs are out there and which ones have recently updated. They also provide very useful blogger profiles that analyze top blogs and their activity and relative influence on the web.

Upon doing a quick search for “social media measurement” (the topic of this blog of course), blogpulse found 3253 blog posts that were related to the topic the most current of which was discovered within six minutes of my search. It’s obvious how useful this tool could be to someone who is trying to track what is being said about his or her company or brand online. They can quickly search for some of the most up to date postings about their company. I think that this tool is quite valuable to those interested in measurement because it is simple and easy to use and provides some really useful results. What do you think about blogpulse? Would it be useful to your company or interests in measurement?

Not just another company review…

March 20, 2009

Not sure if utilizing a company is right for your business? Well there are several companies that provide pretty useful tools that are really good at measuring social media. In this post I would like to share a really interesting blog post by Katie Chatfield, the director of strategy at the white agency, that lists many useful measurement tools. I would like to expand on this by sharing my thoughts on a few of these tools.

First is, socialmention*. This company is a “social media search engine”, meaning that it combs through blogs, podcasts, Twitter, YouTube, comments, etc. for mentions of your company or products. The unique thing about this search is that it does all this in “real time” meaning that it reorganizes all the data as its so that you are constantly updated on everything being said about your company. To make use of this real time function without having to re-search every few minutes, socialmention* allows you to set up email alerts or an personalized RSS feed. Just to try it out, I typed in my name to see what results would show up and sure enough my latest blog entry was at the top of the list followed by all the other latest mentions of my name in social media.

Next, lets look at Trendpedia. This tool is a little different in that it lets you search for “trends” in blogs. This is interesting to me because unlike a lot of other tools out there it lets a company search for topics that have an interest to them or are related. I see a lot of usefulness in this because it opens up a whole new way to finding audiences that may be interested in your company or might being saying something about you that you were unaware of.

These are just two of the tools on the list that have great potentials to anyone trying to analyze their online reputation or influence. In my next post I will look at a few others that I think are pretty cool.

Biz360

March 20, 2009

chart1Similar to a lot of the companies that I have discussed in previous posts, the company Biz360 stands as another very good social media measurement company. The company’s goals is to improve a business’s ability to make decisions by providing them with information gather from online and print sources and analyzing that in to useful data. So similarly to Radian6 and Nielson Buzzmetrics, Biz360 is working to identity the buzz surrounding your company. For a comprehensive list of some ways that Biz360 helps companies, click here.

Biz360 operates using  “The Market360 Platform” which is a technical service that constantly collects and analyzes information from multiple sources including print, social media, and online product/expert reviews. They look at trade journals, newspapers, consumer review sights like Amazon, and many more.  Then they  analyze the information into three different categories: Media insights, Community insights, and Opinion insights.

Recently, Biz360 launched the new branch of the service called Opinion Insights, which monitors consumer opinions on shopping and review websites. This data collection gives companies the data about what their consumers are saying about their products and their competition. This type of knowledge is invaluable to corporations because not only is this company searching through blogs and postings to find something written about your company’s products but they also are examining websites that have already built in consumer reviews. From shopping online, I have first hand knowledge how important these reviews can be when I make a decision on a product from clothes or a digital camera. So to have this type of information to be neatly packaged up and analyzed for a company seems like a pretty ingenious idea to me.