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SES San Jose: Social Media Analysis and Tracking

Posted on Aug 21st, 2008
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    Social Media Analytics & Tracking

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    Social Search can be used to drive traffic, conversions, and increase ROI by monitoring conversations happening online. This panel is a first for SES with Marshall Sponder, Senior Web Analyst for as the Moderator.

    Industry leaders Todd Parsons, Co-founder and CPO of Buzz Logic, Rob Key, CEO of Converseon, Edmund Won, Vice President of Strategy for iCrossing along with Breanna Wigle, CRM manager for Military Advantage share insight into monitoring the conversation and best practices to track success.

    Marshall kicked off the session making the case for Google to start measuring and reporting user trends in social media.

    Categorizing referring traffic from social media is the first step in attributing success. Is your traffic coming from blogs, social network sites, message forums, bookmarking sites, micro media sites and photo sharing sites?

    Rob spoke specifically to the expanding social media universe and developing a social media marketing strategy.

    With the expanding social media universe, you need to go where the conversation is going in order to remain relevant and pertinent to your customers.

    Designing a social media strategy in 3 phases:
    1. Listen to map the landscape
    2. Engage to participate and ignite the conversation
    3. Measure and optimize based on performance

    Listening to identify the external conversation is a crucial key to success. To really understand what community members are saying, you need be ‘mining the universe’.

    Social Media Analytics & Tracking

    Know what you need to know:
    – How are people feeling about your brand
    – Who are the most influential voices
    – How effective are you contributing (or not) to the conversation
    – What influentials should you cooperate with
    – What collaborative environment ‘tool kit’ do you utilize
    – What kind of content should you be creating
    – How do you optimize this content for highest visibility

    You have the potential to help amplify your customers’ voice and develop an engagement strategy, but first you need to know:
    – Where is your current audience
    – What are they saying
    – Who are the influential voices
    – What are they talking about
    – What is their sentiment

    To track results for your social media campaigns, harness data and develop reports to measure volume of conversation, voice sentiments, topic relationships, and competitors and features.

    Product attribute Tag Clouds can provide a more qualitative snapshot of the words associated with your brand. The anatomy of search, as it relates to social media, is the opportunity for us to identify important keyword phrases to map an engagement strategy based on those keywords.

    The grand unified vision is to over lay all relevant data sets from a social media campaign for correlative analysis which will eventually help enable predictive modeling. Brining all this data together, will help to determine and ROI for social media campaigns. Finding the meaning within the measurement is critical.

    Breanna and Todd shared a social media case study, in which they leverage BuzzLogic as a tool to identify where the conversation is and how to identify influential voices.

    Marketing strategy was to isolate the influencers and reach passionate readers of military defense news and information. Campaign goal: Increase product awareness to new influencers and their audiences as well as to convert visitors into RSS and newsletter subscribers.

    The challenge was, they needed to find those influencers, while advertising to their audience manually was daunting, given the fragmented nature of social media.

    What they found was they were able to better identify and reach influencers in the long tail.

    Step 1: Uncover conversations
    Specifically, look at blogs and forums to help drill down to specific topics, and identifying the influencers in the conversation.

    Step 2: Rank the influencers and their content

    Look at the influential blogs, and the posts specific to each conversation topic. How many times does the blog write about that specific topic? And what is the blog readership?

    To maximize ad placement within social media, look at the targeted influencers’ networks and identify the most heavily traveled paths regarding specific topics.

    Ad campaign overview:
    – Critical that the creative is well done
    – Create a unique highly targeted ad

    Successful social media ads are:

    – Compelling
    – Informative
    – Have a clear Call to Action (CTA)

    Key Observations / Learning’s

    1. Active conversations about specific topics attract passionate audiences. Highly targeted display ads can perform in this environment. Find active conversations where people are talking about the subject.
    2. Social search is different then web search and traditional site-targeting, it’s about sourcing information via what trusted people are referring to. This can get you closer to a search like intent.
    3. Influencers and their network relationships are key. The nature of linking connections matter when it comes to ad performance. Sites that connect to each other around specific topics are key targets.
    4. Conversation offers a new window in analyzing user psychology and intent. The nature of the conversation can impact ad performance.

    Edmond shared a case study with the audience, specific to engaging forums.

    Situation: high tech client facing dissatisfied customers that vocalized their technological problems and frustrations in online forums. The solution was to identify, monitor and develop an engagement strategy on influential technical support communities. The goal was to provide support and help resolve problems with current products and improve community perception over time

    Outcomes included:

    Measuring and reporting
    – Measurement is key
    – Standard ROI measure does not work in social media

    Monitoring metrics

    – Tonality of user postings
    – Categorization of discussion topics by product
    – Site traffic for the forum sites

    Engagement metrics

    – Direct impact metrics
    – Number of company postings
    – Number of conversations engaged
    – Number of members directly conversed with

    Indirect impact metrics

    – Page views of postings
    – Number of links posted to client’s website
    – Amount of traffic resulting from these links

    Analyze page views over time

    – Since many forums are optimized for search, engagement is highly visible….forever
    – SEO continues to drive new page views for older postings

    In addition, links posted in forums were tracked by thread and matched back to the client’s referring sources to determine the number of clicks. Often, a specific post generated more page views and clicks due to extremely high rankings within the natural search results for typical search queries.

    Key takeaways

    1. There is no one killer metric for social media
    2. Track anything possible to glean insight
    3. Social media is not just about numbers
    4. It’s all relative (focus on benchmarking and trends)
    5. Measuring social media does not = ROI for social media
    6. View monitoring social media as a Social Intelligence Program, involving the world’s biggest focus group

    This was a very interesting session. Each speaker shed new light to the question on most our minds: What’s the ROI for social media. My key takeaway is that there is no one right answer, and mostly the answer is based on the campaign objective. As we continue to advance our ability to track results and monitor trending, all you can do is keep testing to identify what gets results.