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Social media analytics – Social Media Community session

Last year, I visited the Social Media Community to discuss the potential for social media analytics, and to review what we had achieved with social sharing buttons in EdWeb.

Social Media Community analytics from Duncan MacGruer

Minimum viable product – core sharing buttons

I visited the community to discuss our initial ideas before we implemented the first phase of our social media sharing.

Social media engagement – Social Media Community session

Analytics for Social Media

I’ve spoken previously about some of the challenges surrounding analytics for social media.

Use Google Analytics to measure campaign success

But I still firmly believe that to we can do a great deal to measure the impact our social media presence has, and to give some sort of idea of the return for our efforts in this area. I broke the challenge down into finding the correct metrics and the correct tools to provide the analytics required, both for ongoing and campaign analytics.

Ongoing analytics

Ongoing analytics centre around metrics that record awareness (volume of those engaged in chats, use of hashtags, and so on) and engagement (number of retweets/shares, comments, likes and so on). Some of these are often classed as ‘vanity metrics’: however, I’d argue it is important to drive followers to your presence, as otherwise you will never have the social reach you require to meet your goals. Of course, I then rather spoiled the argument by vainly using my own twitter handle as an example.

Screenshot showing twitter analytics for @donutsmacgruer

Twitter analytics for @donutsmacgruer

Tools that can help measure these include:

  • Facebook insights
  • Twitter analytics
  • Klout
  • Hootsuite
  • Microsoft Social Engagement
  • Brandwatch

Each of these tools have useful features. The correct choice depends on the platform in use, and what it is you’re actually seeking to measure.

However, I don’t think it’s the place of EdWeb (our CMS) to try to do any analytics in this area, as the activity takes place on social media platforms themselves.

Campaign metrics

Campaign metrics are where I think we can add value (for details, click the “Use Google Analytics to measure campaign success” link above). Measuring social-media-driven interactions with our web pages is certainly something we should do. We should measure the number of clicks on the sharing buttons on our pages (perhaps using Analytics Events). I’d also like to see a mechanism such that our buttons utilise tracking mechanisms (UTM) to quantify and understand incoming traffic from those shares.

As ever, we should expect these metrics to be SMART (Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). It would also be useful to compare these to the competition (benchmarking), though doing so can be difficult.

I argue that we should at least be confident in our metrics for:

  • the clicks on, and shares from, our social media buttons
  • the social media driven traffic to our site
  • and related to this traffic (as ever), what our users do once they get to our pages: explore? search? leave almost immediately? convert?

Development in this area would certainly add value, and I hope it’s not too long before we see improvement in this area.

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