Archive for the ‘Module 10’ Category

social-media-reach

Continuing this week with the social media measurement discussion…

I look at examples of FREE and PAID social media measurement tools that claim to provide value to measuring a social web program.

By now, most public relations professionals would agree with the idea that in order to be successful, p.r. practitioners need to know what and how to measure, and how to present their results.  Quoting from the PRSA website:

Measurement and evaluation are critical elements of every public relations practitioner’s professional competencies and are central to making a “case” for public relations.

In the past few years, there’s been alot written about the latest and the greatest social media measurement tools. Some offer limited tracking and reporting.  Others offer to “do it all”. Some are free. Some are VERY pricey.

Let’s look at some examples of what’s out there – and what they can offer the public relation’s practitioner.

free

Let’s start with three examples of FREE social media measurement tools that provide value to measuring a social web program.

(1) HootSuite

I’m starting with HootSuite, because it’s the one I’m familiar with. It’s been highly recommended by colleagues who use it successfully for their small businesses. All of them use the free service.

That’s right, free. While you need to pay for their premium products, HootSuite continues to offer a free social media dashboard.  The dashboard allows you to monitor and manage what’s happening on your various social media accounts – all in one place.  These media accounts include the most popular sites: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Google+ Pages.  Additionally (and still for free), HootSuite has a function that allows you to create your own (customized) reports with advanced tools like network stats, Facebook Insights and Google Analytics.

In terms of the triple A’s (last week’s post), from what I know so far, it allows you to track alot of the web activities under all three.  Could be more than this, but here’s an idea:

Action includes: clicks, retweets, shares, wallposts, comments, @replies, and RSS feed activity (and likely what replaces it).

Attitude (or influence) includes:  sentiment, share of voice, volume of interest and influencer mentions/reports.

Attention (or exposure) includes: visits, views, followers, fans, subscribers and brand mentions.

It seems to me that HootSuite is a great option for public relations practitioners who represent clients with established (or they will establish for their late adopter clients) identities on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

(2) MyTopTweet

Another tool that has great potential for providing value to measuring a social web program is “My Top Tweet” by TwitSprout.  This one is interesting since what it  monitors is limited to Twitter and Facebook. Using Twitter as an example, the tool will allow you to:

  • track which tweets got the most retweets,
  • the number of times they were retweeted,
  • compare your activity with competitors,
  • you can track particular trends, businesses and influencers,
  • determine the time of day that your followers or fans are active, so that you can determine the best times to tweet or post, and
  • there’s something called a “help layer” which layers tips over your dashboard metrics, and gives you possible insights and tips into on audience engagement and growth

Again, you can see how this falls under the “Triple A’s”.

This tool would be potentially attractive to organizations like mine (government agency) that have limited their social media activity to Twitter and Facebook or one or the other.

(3) KLOUT

If you’re on LinkedIn like I am, you may have received notice of your KLOUT score. KLOUT identifies and tracks influence and influencers.

How? It measures influence based on a person’s or organization’s ability to drive action on social networks.  Using Twitter activity as an example, they explain their tool this way:

The majority of the signals used to calculate the Klout Score are derived from combinations of attributes, such as the ratio of reactions you generate compared to the amount of content you share. For example, generating 100 retweets from 10 tweets will contribute more to your Score than generating 100 retweets from 1,000 tweets. We also consider factors such as how selective the people who interact with your content are. The more a person likes and retweets in a given day, the less each of those individual interactions contributes to another person’s score. Additionally, we value the engagement you drive from unique individuals. One-hundred retweets from 100 different people contribute more to your Score than do 100 retweets from a single person.

The Klout Score currently is connected to networks that include LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare and interestingly, Wikipedia. As for the Triple A’s, this is about tracking “Attitude” – influencers who can drive “Action” and “Attention”.

pay-to-play

And, finally – an example of what you get if you can pay for a social media measurement tool. 

The example: ViralHeat

I chose it not because the name is cool (although I think it is), but because of it’s promise: “social media simplified: a unified suite”. When you think about it, that’s really the promise of all of these tools.  So what additional value is there when you pay for a tool?

In the case of ViralHeat the additional value is that it’s a comprehensive tool that allows you to several options to monitor, measure, report AND engage at the same time:

  • Monitor conversations across the social web,
  • Manage multiple accounts (for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+),
  • Publish media content to multiple sites, and
  • Analytics that are tailored to social media (example identifying and tracking influencers and sentiment)

In addition to monitoring and managing the Triple A’s, you have publishing and analytics all in one place. The the difference between what is free and what you pay for  is these additional options along with the level of sophistication of the monitoring, analysis and reporting.

The price? $99.99/mo. $1200/year. Worth it? Maybe. Could you make a business case for it? Maybe.

So, FREE or PAID – what tool is the best option for measuring your social media program?

Even if budget is no option – whether you or your boss should pay for a service depends on what additional value that tool can offer you above and beyond what the free options offer. In light of your goals and objectives, what social media avenues will give you the information you need?  How far will you need to drill down to “make the p.r. business case”?  And, will the tool let you drill down?

Even considering this small sample, it’s clear that there’s isn’t one BEST tool. The answer to what tool to use – what measurement tool provides the best value to you when measuring your social web programs – is unique to the social web program you’ve developed for your client.  And of course, even once you’ve identified what seems like the best for a program type will continue to evolve as the tools continue to evolve.

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PostScript – One more FREE oneWordPress

At the top of this wordpress blog (when I’m signed in) I can see a graph.  When I click on this graph, what pops up are measurements called “traffic stats” that include for example views and visitors, how many, when, what countries they are from, along with what topics are the most popular and who are the most active among my commentators.  While this blog hasn’t been active long enough to give me alot of feedback that allows for insights. On the other hand, I have other wordpress blogs where I post stories that I write.  I’ve been tracking the activity for different types of stories to help me to understand what “my public” enjoys most with the intention that one day soon I’ll approach a publisher, and say – look at these analytics.  This is how many people liked what I wrote, and who they are.