Real Time Web Analytics

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Measuring Social Media Impacts: Part 2

Where we left off leaves one with great insights as to the importance of understanding the large quantities of information there is available through social media.  Likes, comments, and shares are just part of the information available.  The SAS's article, Social Media Metrics, further explores the information available, and what can and should be done with that data.

The white paper outlines 3 essential tools to use to gather relevant information about the engagement your social media is creating.  First are descriptive statistics, generally accessible on the page you are using, this data includes number of page likes, followers, and what channels generate more activity.  Next is social network analysis.  This involves following the links posted by your followers, seeing where your content is being shared, and seeing what stirs up conversation among followers.  This helps to identify sources and levels of influence in your media.  Third is text analysis.  This involves looking at the content of posts on the media to identify reoccurring themes and sentiment that draws attention to the media.

The text analysis element allows one to look at changes of sentiment towards a company over time.  By evaluating comments by followers using text analytic tools statements can be evaluated as positive, negative, or neutral.  By tracking the rate of each kind of statement over time a trend can be seen and acted upon by responding to the negative posts. These tools can also be used to track other brands and competitors to see where you have advantages or disadvantages over your competition.  This then becomes actionable when you promote your brand or company and when you look to improve yourself and prevent repeat negative commentary.

This tool can be further improved upon by making the analytics specific to the brand or industry involved.  If producing cameras, commentary on focus, shutter speed, durability, ect. are more relevant and should be highlighted in the text analysis.  By making the model more specific, more specific feedback can be generated and more action taken to improve your circumstances.

The Viral effect is another crucial element to look at.  Posting exceptional content and getting it published in a high profile location is great.  But what is better is when that content gets shared by those who view it.  Rapidly expanding viewership of content, or its dormancy, is important to understand.  Comparing viral posts with dormant ones using the three elements outlined above should produce a clearer picture of what made the viral post so much more popular.

Further identifying general trends in an individual market, as opposed to limited to a specific corporation can provide additional feedback as to how that company is doing relative to others.  If the specific product or service is skyrocketing as a general trend, and an individual company has increases, but not nearly as strong as the rest of the market they can be seen as being left behind.

Targeting the most powerful influences on relevant social media is another important tool.  Noticing which groups of individuals are the ones engaging with content is essential for boosting the conversation surrounding a company.  Once identified promotions can be created to further engage them or direct them to actual purchase of products or services.  Again, using text analysis helps to identify the nature of these constituents.

The article then goes into advertising for their product, a text analysis tool provided by SAS, arguing that it is as effective as humans at gauging content's trends and sentiment.  By knowing when activity increased future campaigns can be based around that activity.

This article provides a useful look at the relevance of different ways to gauge and value engagement with online social media, in addition to ways to build on that data and respond to noticed data or trends.  By creating goals around more valuable media features, tracking influential users, and responding to text analytics, social media can be turned into a tool for internal development and change in addition to one for expanding awareness of a brand.

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