Quote of the month

Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?

Abraham Lincoln

Surf club

Rough seas today. Beach closed.

Welcome to our February 2013 newsletter: Evaluating your social media activity

So, you’re getting your science out there in the social media sphere. Great.

But are you meeting your goal? Do you even have a goal?

Or maybe you’re more interested in what the rest of the world is talking about?

This month we’re having a look at how we can evaluate our activities on social media. We’d love to hear from you if you have tips or tools that you’d like to share.

Regards from the @EconnectTeam:

Don’t just like me, talk to me! 

By Alison Binney

We now know what matters in social media metrics

What matters is the reaction of your audience.

“Did you grab attention? Did you deliver delight? Did you cause people to want to share? Did you initiate a discussion? Did you cause people to take an action?”, asks Avinash Kaushik.

What does not matter, he says, is the number of friends, followers or subscribers: “Not the number of posts or tweets. Not the ridiculous followers to following ratio.”

Kaushik is the author of bestselling books: Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics: An Hour A Day.

He has narrowed down social media analysis to 4 metrics:

  • conversation rate (# audience comments or replies per post)
  • amplification rate (#retweets per tweet)
  • applause rate
  • economic value

Whether you are measuring the social media impact of a one-off event, community engagement project, blog or ongoing research, Kaushik aptly reminds us that measuring social media is about finding out the effect of that communication on your audience – not on yourself.

Tracking conversations 

By Alison Binney

To evaluate your social media activities over a given time, you need to record your conversations.

Unless you’re a computer whiz and can create your own applications to archive every online mention or keyword you care about, you’ll need to invest in an application that can archive and analyse them for you.

Here are 4 tools we’ve used to track our presence, and our clients’ presence, in the social media arena.

Hootsuite is one of the most advanced applications for reporting on your social media activities, including archiving conversations and generating customised reports.

Topsy is a great free online tool for collating and comparing various keywords and usernames. Enter your search term and its advanced search functionality will give you results for links, tweets, photos, and videos that contain your search term. For a more in-depth analysis that compares multiple search terms, try Topsy Pro Analytics.

Socialmention offers a real-time search of keywords from across a range of media including blogs, networks, news, images and comments. You can export your results to a spreadsheet format. It is one of the rare few archiving tools that is still free to use.

Socialbro analyses Twitter conversation.

Key features include:

  • understanding the demographics and habits of a Twitter community
  • analysing Twitter competitors
  • monitoring keywords, hashtags and URLs
  • identifying content for an audience
  • managing lists and communities

We haven’t used it yet but we like the look of TrueSocialMetrics.  It analyses your conversation based on the level of your audiences’ engagement.

Which one to use?

It depends on your exact requirements, and your budget.

Before investing, ask yourself:

  • what exactly do I want to measure?
  • how often and when will I use it?
  • who will manage and monitor the analysis on an ongoing basis?
  • how should I present the information so that it is relevant for my needs?
  • in what format should I store the information?

Facebook experiments

By Lucie James

Do you have a Facebook page? How effective is it?

Before you can answer that, you need to be clear about what ‘effective’ means for you!

Here are my top tips for getting the most out of your Facebook page:

1. Be clear from the beginning on what you want to achieve

Do you want to engage your existing followers? Increase your reach?

How successful you are at different tasks will be measured in a different way so it is important to know what you want to do.

2. Know your toolkit

Facebook’s analytic metrics can be accessed through Page Insights.

You can find out:

  • how many people saw your post in their news feed (reach),
  • how many times they saw it (impressions)
  • how many people are clicking on it (engaged users)
  • how many people created stories from your post as a percentage of the number of people who have seen it (virality)

Get to know the terminology and figure out which metrics are useful for measuring your effectiveness in reaching your goal.

3. Create a baseline

Start with a text-only post and use the response you measure with your chosen Page Insights metric as a baseline.

4. Experiment!

Try adding a picture, asking a question, adding a relevant link, or using a different post method (e.g. try a poll question instead of a status update). See how this change affects your chosen metric.

5. Always keep your goal in mind

You may find that an outcome that is a failure for one task is a success for another!

The key to using analytics is to understand what each metric measures, and how it translates to your goals.

Friends and followers

By Robbie Mitchell

Are you using Twitter or Facebook to communicate science?

How well do you know your professional friends and followers?

Followerwonk is a nifty free service that gives you useful analytical information on your Twitter followers as well as on yourself.

Type in your Twitter handle and select ‘analyze their followers’.

Here are some of the things you’ll see:

  • your followers’ location, age and gender
  • the number of people who follow your friends and followers
  • how recently they tweeted
  • at what hour they are most active on social media

Map showing location of Twitter followers

When you know where your Twitter followers are located and when they’re active, you can schedule your messages for greatest impact.

Bar chart showing what time your Twitter followers are most active

Knowing how influential they are on Twitter and their potential reach can help you target your message to select followers in the hope that they will retweet it or communicate with you on the subject.

Facebook already has great analytical tools incorporated into its pages.

However, Wolfram Alpha‘s free Facebook analysis tool is great for analysing your personal account.

Type in ‘Facebook report’, click ‘Analyze my Facebook data’ and your Facebook life will be professionally packaged into a detailed, interactive report all within a minute.

Some of the things you can view:

  • your friends’ locations, age ranges and relationship status (if you’re interested)
  • information on your most popular photos and posts
  • a chart of when you’re most likely to post on Facebook
  • a neat graphic showing how all of your friends are connected to each other and to you

It’s good to learn from your success with social media.

If you find a reoccurring theme in your most popular posts and photos, or within a group of friends or followers, take advantage of the winning formula.

You can also use either of these tools to analyse your friends and other popular accounts.

Want to find the most influential people talking about your interests? Use a keyword search of every account’s biography.

This is useful when you are trying to connect with potential followers and friends or you’re looking for story ideas.

For example, if you need to find an expert who is comfortable conversing on Twitter about climate change and its impact in the Pacific, you could use Followerwonk to search for ‘climate, pacific, science’ and then make contact with @PeterGleick who is a climate/water scientist and co-founder of the Pacific Institute.

Give it a go and tell us what you think.