Social Media Measurement Tools (my secret sauce)

September 1, 2009

At the request of the Tweeple I’m sharing a few of the tools I am currently employing to measure social media marketing. There is no magic analytics program that does it all so my current practice is to combine and aggregate data from multiple reporting tools that do each of their jobs really, really well, e.g. buzz monitoring or Facebook Insights, into a custom dashboard. The content of each dashboard is completely dependent on the marketing objectives. Keep in mind website analytics are a key component to measurement but they measure what happens in your website. We want to measure the Social Web – what happens off site.

Buzz

Radian6 ($$)

A listening tool to find out what people are saying about your brand or other topics of interest in social networks, blogs, and forums. Plus tools for outreach and reputation management. Metrics or key performance indicators (KPI’s) can include increase in buzz to support awareness goals or  participation actions to support engagement.

SocialMention (free)

Meh. Not the best but it’s free and useful for a quick look into buzz if you’re not prepared to shell out the $$ for something fancy like Radian6.

Other tips:

  • Google alerts
  • Twitter search RSS feeds
  • TweetDeck search feeds

Sentiment

Twitrratr (free)

I like this tool to measure sentiment because it uses one of the best data sources for that purpose. If you want real time opinions in short raw form Twitter is it. A hot spot for breaking news, firestorms, and lots and lots of brand loving, and product opinions. Sentiment is tough to accurately measure in an automated fashion because you get miscategorized comments such as “I was sick today so couldn’t visit Sea World” as negative sentiment toward Sea World. Overall it does a good job with ample data. It is also one of the only tools that will give you a search results count for occurrences of a term, something Twitter search doesn’t do. Drives me nuts.

Twitter

Twitalyzer (free)

How well are you engaging on Twitter? I like the the methodology, explanation behind the scoring and find the ratings to be rationed out fairly between good and outright bad twitters on Twitalyzer. I have also reviewed TwitterGrader and wouldn’t recommend it for the reasons stated above. Not 100% satisfied with either so your suggestions are welcome.

TwitterCounter (free)

Track follower growth. Nice trend line that looks nice in reports. Simple as that.

Campaigns

Trendrr (free and $)

Track viral campaigns and more with neat, report friendly graphs for just about anything. Very customizable, sharable and simple to do.

Links

bit.ly

Especially useful in tracking click throughs on links to 3rd party content. Or, any links you’re passing to others through Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. The click through rate on your links is good indicator of how engaging and relevant the content is to your audience in each of these channels.

Example formula: clicks/followers (100) = % click through rate

I use bit.ly and there are many others out there that serve the same purpose. One to mention is Bizy.Be which comes highly recommended by my analyst colleague Nicole Rawski, I always trust her recommendations so will be trying it soon.

A Word on Engagement

Engagement is a broad term that can mean a lot of things depending on who, what and where you’re engaging. A few common engagement KPIs specific to social media marketing:

  • Time spent and actions in the brand community
  • Not number of community members, number of ACTIVE community members
  • Conversations
  • Replies, comments, retweets, ratings
  • Time spent with the brand via applications and widgets

Stuff Under Review

If you’ve tried these I’d like to hear about it:

  • Filtrbox
  • Overtone

Final word, the secret sauce is not in the tools but in how you initially set your objectives, define KPIs, and then apply intelligent analysis to the data. Many marketers I run across are using social media absent of goals. Measurement is meaningless without goals. When translating people’s actions to something meaningful to your marketing program consider the motivations and frame of mind that lead to the data.

Join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #socialtools or follow me @interactivem. Please share your experiences, challenges and favorite tools. I would love to hear from you here, there or anywhere.

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