Measuring Impact: social media analytics and real-time tracking of online campaigns
Private sector enterprises, governments and nonprofits are starting to realize that their interactions on social media platforms generates a lot of useful data. This data can tell volumes about supporters, clients, investors and constituents; but only if it is centralized, organized and visualized to inform decision-making. There are many easy to use social media analytical tools that help with exactly that. Generally speaking some social media metrics that can help us measure the impact of our social media strategies include:
- Reach: number of followers and/or fans;
- Engagement: number of mentions, likes, shares, tweets and retweets;
- Referral traffic from website: measures amount of traffic coming to your website from social media and/or the top URL addresses bringing traffic into the website.
- Monthly number of unique visitors and/or reads to website: and the comments generated are also important website metrics.
- Share of voice: measures the percentage of mentions within a certain sector or profession; and
- Competitive score: where your competitors stand in terms of reach, engagement and share of voice.
A word of caution: social media metrics can generate a lot of data/information that may not all be useful to you. Social media analytics that are useful to you are those that are directly related to your end goals and objectives. Hence feel free to discard metrics that are not useful. Also note that some metrics maybe worth your attention more than others. For example, the high number of fans on your facebook or twitter pages may be less important than the actual number of fans who engage with you to help you spread your message by tweeting and sharing and who respond to you through concrete action.
Below are five social media analytic tools and a detailed discussion of what they offer.
1. Topsy: is a social media analytics tool that provides access to every tweet generated on Twitter, and also indexes social networks including Facebook and Google+. Topsy has created a complete searchable archive of the more than 300 billion tweets sent over Twitter since it was set up, and added other analytics tools to make itself useful to businesses – who can buy advanced services. Topsy also provides metrics to any term mentioned on Twitter via its free analytics service at analytics.topsy.com, where you can compare up to three terms for content in the past hour, day, week or month.
2. tweetreach and keyhole are two tools that help evaluate in great detail the impact of certain hashtags on twitter or the impact of a campaign or topic being discussed by measuring: i. the number of posts or tweets under a specific hashtag; ii. the number of users of a certain hashtag; iii. the reach: or number of unique followers a user has, and hence how influential each user is; and iv. the impressions: the number of times a user posts.
keyhole works with: twitter, instagram and facebook; and tweetreach works: exclusively with twitter. Both tools are free of charge and the analytics are tracked for 8 days at a time; and includes visual data such as; graphs, pie charts and histograms. However to have more historic analytics dating back beyond 8 days, users have to upgrade to a pro-account that charges fees.
3. klout: is a social media analytical tool that works with multiple social media platforms and ranks users internet influence based on the number of followers they have and how often posts are liked and retweeted. klout defines “influence” in social media as, “the ability to drive action”. When you share something on social media or in real life and people respond, that’s influence. The more influential you are, the higher your Klout Score.” The klout score ranges from 0 to 100 and is not static (this tool is free).
4. thinkup: was used by the Obama administration in its meta (development) phase, and is a new social media analytics tools for twitter, facebook and instagram that is open source and was launched in early 2014. It provides a group of dashboards and notification tools that tell you which tweets were your most popular, who your biggest fans are, and whether your posts tend to do better in the morning or in the afternoon, among other things. It also provides a searchable archive of your tweets and a handy way to reference responses to questions you’ve asked. (It is not free, but affordable and fees range from basic membership to executive membership for companies).
5. Crowdbooster: evaluates impact metrics and identifies users to follow. This gives in-depth analysis about public information or marketing campaigns as well as tips on how to improve outreach. This service is not free, but there’s a 30-day trial period.