Once you’ve identified the most appropriate social platforms for your organization, gotten started, and begun evaluating emerging social platforms, it’s time to begin measuring and adapting your approach.
If you work in a team environment, consider creating a regular report that helps your team members understand what you’re doing and what you’ll be focusing on addressing in the next phase. The frequency and level of detail are up to you. Personally, I’ve found that a quarterly report out to my team members is most helpful. I prepare an 8-page web and social media report that includes an executive summary at the beginning. Within the report, I try to identify key events that have driven traffic at specific times during the quarter.
I found Olivier Blanchard’s book, Social Media ROI, very helpful when I was considering what to measure and include in the reports. Blanchard recommends keeping a list of everything you can measure, for example:
- Number of Twitter followers
- Volume of outbound tweets each day
- Volume of inbound tweets each day
- Number of outbound replies each day
- Number of RTs each day
- Number of click-throughs (inbound through Twitter)
- Number of Facebook fans
- Number of Facebook updates each day
- Number of likes each day
- Number of comments each day
- Number of comments per update
- Number of shares each day
- Number of shares per update
- Number of click-throughs (inbound via Facebook)
- Number of blog visitors each day
- Number of unique visits to each blog post
- Number of comments each day
- Number of comments per post
- Number of click-throughs (inbound to website from blog)
It’s important to note, however, that focusing on the number of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, or raw pageviews isn’t enough. The goal in this measuring and adapting process is to look at trends over time, (e.g., year over year).
“Regardless of your focus … what you are looking for in these data sets is change. What you want to see are shifts in behavior indicating that something you are doing is having an effect … Every individual bit of data, in the way it either changes or doesn’t over time, tells you a little bit of the story you are trying to piece together … The question every change begins to answer is this: Is what we are doing having an effect?”— Olivier Blanchard, Social Media ROI
I try to pick three to five take-aways each time I report on web and social media analytics and metrics. These can be anything from noting a page that has a short average time-on-page and reviewing the content, to noting trends in the top blog posts for the quarter and considering how to schedule more posts like those, to reviewing the referring domains and investigating why visitors were coming from those sites. Your team will likely also raise questions that will drive you to investigate further.
I’ve been using Google Analytics and Adobe Omniture in addition to native social media analytics tools (e.g., YouTube, SlideShare, MailChimp), as well as homemade reports and graphics in Excel.
Have you been working through this same process for your organization? If so, I’d love to hear your promising practices and learn from you! Or, if you’re just getting started, I’d be happy to share a copy of the pdf report I’ve developed.
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