Their first question: Basic metrics: what the f--k is going on? This gets a wry laugh from the audience.
So...how many blogs are there? (Answer: no one really knows).
How much of the Twitter feed is available? (Answer: not a lot...maybe 5-10 percent of the feed, going back a few months.)
There is NO, and I repeat NO, full access to Twitter data. So when we look at measuring social media platforms, we're not just talking apples and oranges, but starfruit, pears, and the occasional durian.
This is turning into more of a q&a format, so I'll just call out a few highlights from the session:
- You can't get--much less read--all the mentions of your brand online. And, says Margaret, "that's particularly true the more successful you get."
- What can you do? You should be familiar with Postrank, which aggregates things like number of tweets, Diggs, etc. While it's not absolutely complete, it does give you a sense of the hot topics by theme.
- What is engagement for a B2B company? Remember that in B2B, where audiences are smaller and more focused, influence is much more important than volume.
- A core metric that all programs should track? Social media mentions by media type.
- Use Twittercounter to look at follow trends for specific handles; for example, Conan O'Brian versus Jay Leno.
- In Scout Labs, you can use the frequent words list to summarize words as they appear, in order, by volume. Useful for identifying themes and trends related to your search. Most solutions have these, but Scout highlights new terms in orange so you can see how the conversation is changing.
- Beside volume metrics, think about insight metrics--things like share of voice, sentiments, top sources and campaign reception to get a better sense of how your brand is being perceived. Each metric is a color in the picture--not the whole picture itself.
- What else do you need to know? Age and demographics of the users. The info is usually extrapolated by profiles, though some solutions will try to gauge age based on how people speak, which can be pretty misleading.
- Business metrics. How do you measure ROI? "Says Margaret, "that's your job, because I don't have the 'R' and I don't have the 'I.' So I don't know what you expect from it and I don't know what you invested in it." Look instead at the Coremetrics blog to get a sense of how to measure what's happening on the Web in contrast to what's happening in social channels. [NB: on Twitter, you can follow hashtag #measure to join this community as well.]
- Use bit.ly or bud.url to track specific campaigns, posts or other content. [Other companies, like our client BitDefender's saf.ly, have their own branded URL shortening services.]
- Use Quantcast and Compete.com to look at traffic to your and your competitor's sites.