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Measuring Social Media 20 April 2010

Posted by nsiegel922 in Resources, Tools & Tech.
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Last week, I attended Seattle’s Social Media Breakfast on ROI and Measuring Social Media presented by Katie Paine of KDPaine & Partners.   While I’m by no means completely fluent in the world of analytics, I am increasingly understanding the importance of measurement in the digital media world.  Less than a year ago, I started using the tool Radian6 at work to measure social media and online conversations.  At the time, virtually no one knew about the tool other than professionals specializing in the area.  Now, it’s rare that someone in the media industry doesn’t know about Radian6 or other similar monitoring tool sets.   No longer do professionals question, “can social media be measured” – it is the norm.

Measuring social media can be somewhat daunting since the process for doing so is less clear-cut than that of traditional online media.    Key performance indicators like impressions and clicks are being replaced by more ambiguous metrics like sentiment, influencers and buzz.  Katie pointed out an example of the changing times which caught my eye, “IBM generated more sales from a $500 Podcast than they did from a $40,000 ad.”  Data exists to prove that low cost, yet influential communication efforts can be far more effective than expensive advertising.

Measuring social media isn’t black or white – it requires creative and strategic thinking which is why I find it so interesting.  I remember that at my last agency, we strived to put together a template across clients to show results of social media.  This proved to be very difficult since success/failure looks different depending on the goals, nature and objective of a brand, event, person, topic, etc.

Katie seemed extremely knowledgeable about social media measurement and her passion and enthusiasm for the material made the presentation quite enjoyable and entertaining.   She had some great suggestions for best practices when measuring influence, tonality and sentiment as well as recommendations for measurement tools as referenced below (Katie Paine, 2010).  I know I will reference these when measuring social media as well as follow her blog for other helpful tips: http://kdpaine.blogs.com.

Tools:

Free – Google News/Google Blogs, RSS feeds, Technorati, Social Mention, Twazzup

Paid – SAS SMA, Radian 6, Techrigy, Sysomos, Crimson Hexagon, Visible Technologies, Scout Labs, Cyberalert, CustomScoop, e-Watch, Cision, Vocus, Nexis, Factiva

Best Practices for Social Media/PR Measurement:

1.            Define the “R” – Define the expected results?

2.            Define the “I” – What’s the investment?

3.            Understand your audiences and what motivates them

4.            Define the metrics

5.            Determine what you are benchmarking against

6.            Pick a tool and undertake research

7.            Analyze results and glean insight, take action, measure again

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