A Guide to Measuring Social Media

Click here to view a Prezi presentation which discusses the measurement component of a social media plan.

 

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Listening to Brands Online

This week I set out to compare two different brands online reputation. This was accomplished by using a few different free online listening tools, which essentially crawl the web looking for a searched topic of your choice. The brands which I listened for were, Tacori and Zales, both jewellery companies who specialize in diamonds.

Listening Tools

The following tools were my primary source for learning about the diamond brands online reputation. Many tools can be found at: http://nowrevolutionbook.com/tag13/

Addictomatic was a great tool for monitoring several online sources due to the ease of use and many sources it searches. With one search of your topic, the site displays a dashboard of feeds from each outlet. The following list includes each online source.

  • Twitter
  • Bing News
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Google blog search
  • WordPress
  • Wikio
  • Twingly
  •  Ask.com
  • Yahoo
  • Friend Feed

I would definitely recommend Additomatic for businesses. I think it is a practical and easy way to get a glimpse of what is happening in multiple outlets.

IceRocket, the second tool I used, can individually search, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and online images sites. Considering the site only searches one online source at a time, the results display a longer history than Addictomatic. This was helpful because I could view a fairly extensive history quickly.

What I really liked about IceRocket was the search of Facebook. Any posts made by users (who have the appropriate privacy settings) are listed with the users name and the comment/link they posted. This is helpful because not only can you see what was said about your selected topic, but you can also click on the users name and try to determine demographic information, which can be helpful for additional marketing research.

Like Addictomatic, I would also recommend the tool for businesses. It displays what the online world is saying about the brand in a fairly extensive manner, which gives a more detailed summary of conversations without having to dig for it.

WildFire, the third tool I tried, was the least useful tool I used. Wildfire intends on comparing the success of 2 -3 Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. I found this to be a simple comparison of likes or followers which I can easily do myself. I also had trouble with the Facebook comparison as it denied my link and topics of Zales and Tacori. I will say that It was useful for demonstrating the growth of each account as it displayed the growth of the past few months and compared the two brands on a graph.  I would only suggest this tool if you are looking to see or compare account growth.

Online Perceptions of the Brands

Tacori

Surprisingly, Tacori has little to no negative comments online (that I could find). The majority of conversation happens in blog posts, which discusses their advertising, celebrity sightings, weddings and new product launches. Much of what the listening tools generated was the company and people posting links to articles, photos, or product launch videos. Comments on these posts are usually something like, “I LOVE IT!” Tacori has many contests online, where people share links to contest details, and Retweet to enter. All of this activity has supported a positive online repuation.

Tacori’s Facebook page is definitely worth mentioning. Tacori primarily posts photos of products or ads and they receive a very strong positive response. With over 1,000 likes and hundreds of comments on almost every photo, the Tacori community loves to talk about how gorgeous the product is. This has greatly impacted the company’s online reputation.

Zales

I found that a lot of the conversation or posts surrounding Zales had to do with promotions, and sales. This was found on many blogs, and articles throughout the web. Now, the big action for Zales is happening on their Facebook page. Over the past week there has been an overwhelming amount of activity. Within one day, users post more the 20 comments, photos, stories and sometimes complaints. It appears that Zales is hardly able to keep up, resulting in some complaints left unaddressed, and Facebook users going a bit wild, which can hurt Zales reputation.

There was a couple days of this kinda stuff..

Which was then followed by..

Despite some turbulence on the page, it seems to be somewhat managed, and has a wide range of positive stories from its consumers which help dictate its positive online presence.  In contrast to Tacori’s page, users generate the majority of Zales page content, and Zales responds. I believe this says something very positive about not only the success of Zales page, but the brands reputation online.

Social Media Philosophies

Tacori

After monitoring the brand online, I would say the social media philosophy of the company is to encourage conversation around the product. By constantly posting product photos and asking the community to “like” or RT if you would wear it, they are encouraging the positive conversation to go viral. Considering the brand has been blessed with little to no negative comments, they have yet to demonstrate how they handle reputation damaging conversations.

Zales

Zales has a lot to keep up with, and after following them it appears to be that their philosophy is simply… to keep up.  With bloggers talking about sales, and Facebook users fighting on their page, they are trying to respond and be present in the conversation. Because of this, they are not able to steer the conversation like Tacori has successfully done.

Competitors

It is easy to see from the results of Tacori vs. Zales that the same product can be treated very differently online. Lessons for a diamond competitor and other companies, would be it is best if the company can influence the conversation, versus the consumers taking over. On the other hand, it is also great when consumers are excited about the product and share stories, as it injects a level of authenticity that the company cannot get through their own posts.

-Elena

Measuring Social Media Efforts

Michael Senger

Michael Senger, CEO of Stone Mass, could be deemed as a social media guru. Senger spoke at Kwantlen University and shared some of his insights on the online world today, and social media. With regards to measuring social media efforts in the corporate world, Senger has some thoughts on how to begin a social media strategy and then measure it.

 Firstly, identify company goals-Not just any company goals, but specific goals. Ex: “increasing web traffic by 10% to support a product launch for September.”

Identify key performance indicators (KPI’s)-  Measureable KPI’s help determine the success of a online marketing effort. An example of a KPI is % of returning visitors.

With all the excessive information out there, using the objectives and goals to decide what KPI’s are to be measured, will provide the marketer with clear data that speaks to the progress of the campaign or social media outlet.  

Monitor the progress- Monitoring the KPI’s over a designated time period will help determine the progress, and identify what needs to be modified. It is also important to note that as objectives change, the KPI’s may also change.

Brian Solis

Brian Solis, an analyst at Altimeter group and writer of the Brain Solis blog (which I highly recommend), has developed a reputation within the marketing industry as a thought leader.

Be careful what you ask for, you might just measure it is a recent blog post by Solis which discusses the changing media platforms and marketers changing methods in measuring it.

Solis believes that in order to survive the “Digital Darwinism,” marketers must change their methods.

Listen, Learn, Engage, and Adapt. 

“Social media amplifies and organizes [the consumers] voice and packages it as a tremendous gift for businesses ready to earn relevance in a new genre of consumerism. Nothing matters however, if businesses are not ready to learn, engage, or take action based on what they hear.”

Solis emphasizes the ability to listen to conversations that are taking place on social media outlets, and using the insights from the conversations to make business decisions. This method slightly differs from Senger, who is more focused on company goals and assigning KPI’s.  Solis is all about changing the traditional methods to fit the changing digital world.

Social Times

Social Times, an online source for social media information, discusses the metrics of social media. The top 3 metrics used for measuring social media efforts, dictated by a survey of over 2000 marketers, are:

  1. Visitors and sources of traffic
  2. Network size (followers, fans, members)
  3. Quantity of commentary about brand or product

Social Times recognizes that each company is going to have different measuring requirements and should select the metrics that support the SMM objectives, similar to Michael Senger’s perspective. Social Times also lists ten important metrics to consider when developing your strategies, I have selected the 5 that I would recommend.

  1. Social media leads- company website traffic breakdown of which SM site
  2. Activity ratio- Active users vs. Total members, and chart over a time period
  3. Brand mentions in social media- track positive and negative and their quantities
  4. Loyalty- how many members re-share multiple times
  5. Blog interaction – must allow comments in order to measure- also social voting on sites such as “Digg” are a good measuring tool as well

Measuring the success of a company’s social media outlets is a challenging task, but there are tools and methods which can make it easier.

Search Engine Optimization

What is search engine optimization (SEO)?

Well, it’s what you do to improve your unpaid search results, also known as: organic, natural, or algorithmic. Essentially, how close is your website to the first result on Google. We all know that hardly anyone ever looks past the first 4  or 5 results.

When we talk about SEO it can get complicated for the average person. Terms like: meta tags, crawlers, cloaking, link distance, targeting, indexable, and on and on, can become overwhelming. Here I have developed some simple things that an SEO challenged person can follow.

How to Improve SEO for your website.

1. The TITLE! I know it’s very tempting to have a quirky or snazzy title, especially in blog posts, but the title is one of the first things that google reads when prompting a search result. When developing the title tag for your website or blog post, think about your content and who it is intended for. What might your audience type into google? Combining this with a title that is intriguing, is the first step to SEO.

2. Keywords/ Key Phrases. The more times you have keywords throughout your title and text, the easier it is for search engines to match your site to the original search. While filling text and titles with keyword rich content, it is important to keep in mind the search engines have the ability to evaluate relevance (d0nt over do it). Although keywords are important, it’s argued that key phrases are even more effective. When someone is typing a search into google they are more likely to enter a phrase like, “SEO for blogs” than “SEO.”

3. Links. Another important contributor to SEO is linking. The more websites that have links to your websites, the more search engines recognize your website. As Andrea Niosi states it in her blog, SEO, “The Popularity Contest.”

4. Use social media. “Social Media sites like Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, and Delicious are highly authoritative sites which can dramatically improve search engine rankings if used properly.  Any SEO specialist knows link building is essential to improving search engine visibility.” Jeff Bullas

SEO can get more complicated, but here are some easy things that an average person with little knowledge on the subject can do. A great resource for learning more about SEO is The Beginners Guide to SEO.

-Elena

Online Influencers

What is an Online Influencer?

A person, character, group, website, social media personality, or journalist who uses an online medium to portray a thought or idea, that induces a feeling that changes your views, perception or paradigms that cause’s individuals to take action, make a change, or make a decision.

Pretty Vague, huh?

There is a lot to think about when we think about who or what an online influencer is. It can be easy to identify online influence with popularity, but it is more than just that. Just because Asthon Kutcher has millions of followers, doesn’t mean that when he tweets about eating breakfest it inspires you to take any type of action. Twitaholic shows the most active twitter users; however this does not indicate their influence.

A method of determining influence is Klout. What is Klout? The website defines it as, “The measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.” Klout uses clicks, retweets, comments, thumbs up, likes, etc, to help determine a score.

Why do we care about Klout?

This is a tool which can help us differentiate between a popularity contest and the opinions that people trust. Klout is also a metric. It helps put a numeric value on influence so we can better understand what it all means.

Who do we consider to be online influencers?

Some well known examples are: TMZ, Perez Hilton, Ellen Degeneres, Lady Gaga, CNN, Martha Stewart, and so on. Note: All these people have a klout score greater the 50.

Online influencers according to The Influence Project (from: http://tcrn.ch/bsRBY4)

1. Jeremy Schoemaker
2. Shefqet Avdullau
3. Tod Sacerdoti
4. Cory Boatright
5. Greg Clement
6. Frank Kovacs
7. Sebastian Saldarriaga
8. James Dunn
9. Richard Lee
10. Pace Lattin


If you would like to read more about how to determine online influence, Mashable has an article: HOW TO: Measure Online Influence.

-Elena

Social Media Marketing Plans

There are so many small businesses who are beginning to see the importance of integrating social media into their marketing efforts. The problem is that some business owners don’t know where to begin, and/or can’t afford to hire someone to do it for them.

It is better to thoughtfully plan out how to use social media, versus just diving into it without properly planning what you need it for, how you will maintain it, and what channels you will use. Using social media can bring your business to a new level, and developing a social media marketing plan ensure a successful launch.

Creating a social media marketing plan doesn’t have to be difficult. By following a template it can be easy to develop a social media strategy. To view an example of a template, Click Here.

-Elena

What Makes an Ad Campaign go Viral?

Going Viral, arguably one of the biggest key success factor in Ad campaigns. There are some specific Ad Campaigns that have been wildly popular:

Old Spice

Dove

Nike

Why were these so successful? After speaking to some fellow students, we all agreed on some basic concepts: Humour, originality, relatablity, celebrity endorsement, research, and sometimes, the shock factor.

Another blog talks about this very topic. It lists 5 key factors: Takeaways, Relevance, Controversy, Humour, and Purple Cow. Takeaways, is a factor that I hadn’t considered before. It states that ads that have “tips” or information that can be immediately applied to real life, would be more successful due to the fact that it engages the audience.

Social Times has an article, “10 Tips for advertisers to go Viral.” My favourite tip is, “Think about long-term strategy,” it uses Old Spice as an example, and discusses how developing multiple videos with one character or concept, encourages customer interaction, which promotes longevity in the campaign.

-Elena


Social Media and Business Models

This week I have been researching business models and how social media has changed how business models are designed. There is a lot of discussion on how through social media customers can be more involved with company development, R&D, sales, etc.

Customers are commenting on company blogs, posting questions to Facebook, even “checking in” with their cell phones when they are on location. It is far easier for companies to be aware of perceptions and customer experiences. There is almost no excuse these days for not knowing your customer, and what they want. If you provide the outlets, actively update, and analyze customers thoughts, it’s easier to provide what the customer wants.

Social Networking has even changed distribution channels. Books are selling via “re-tweets,” and has brought a new meaning to word of mouth advertising.

There are many benefits to incorporating social media to our business models, but we have to remember how it can hurt businesses, and what policies are there to help prevent or respond to negative PR from the viral nature of customer complaints. What do you do when there are 15 different “I Hate Starbucks” Facebook pages??

-Elena

Corporate Blogging

As I begin my Digital World adventure, I have been learning about blogging. I read a posting “Build a Biz Blog” by Eli Singer, “Why Blogging is Your #1 Search Tool” by Compendium, which got the ball moving on the concept of businesses blogging.  Prior to this week I have never read a blog. The most experience I had with blogging was watching the movie, Julie and Julia, during which I fell asleep half way through when I was flying to Nairobi. So the concept of businesses having blogs, was absolutely foreign to me.

So I started to Google big companies and the word “blog”. Playstation, Coca-Cola, Nike and BMW just to name a few.

So as I’m poking around and looking at some blogs, I’m starting to really get on board with the whole concept. I’m starting to notice which blogs have lots of comments, and which ones have none. Playstation has upwards of 30 comments on all their postings, they post one or more times per day, where as the official Wii blog posts a few times per week, and has virtually no responses. The “Your Health” blog by CTV has lots of responses and comments and Coca-Cola, Mazda, Global TV, and the Lonely Planet all show little or no comments.

So what deems a blog successful? How do we rate success? Compendium, who has written about this sort of thing, is heavily focused on SEO, and having keyword rich content. Well I often Googled a company name and the word blog, and if I didn’t find anything in the first 3 responses, I moved on, assuming that there wasn’t one. Thus, proving Compendiums point.

The more time I spend working with blogs and analyzing others, I will better answer the above questions. As for now, I think it’s safe to say, a lame blog is better than no blog.

-Elena

Hello world!

I have never seen my BlackBerry light up quite like it has in the past hour or so. Buzzing, beeping and blinking with constant emails and notifications.

You see previous to this morning I had Facebook, and maybe a couple of email accounts. Well, my fairly relaxed social media/social networking days are gone… at least for the next four months… As a third year marketing student I am required to participate in a course called, “marketing in a digital world,” which is the only reason why this morning I registered with the following: Twitter, Hootsuite, Delicious, Yahoo (Apparently Delicious users must also be Yahoo users,) Google,  Prezi, and now WordPress.

Now, I was already convinced that all these tools would be very beneficial to an active business, but it may take some time for me to not only adjust to the buzzing and flashing, but to see the benefits that this might have for me. Wish me luck in my new technological endeavours!