This is Sam’s first post on the Cicada blog, and in fact her first post ever! Please let her know what you think in the comments below.

Why should you measure social media, and how do you do it?

We were asked by a client to look into tools to help them monitor their social media presence.

They already had a presence on Twitter and Facebook, and wanted to increase this. They were also keen to understand how to measure their social media effectiveness and what should be measured.

Also, the client was going through a transition phase and wanted to track how the public viewed their company and if that changed over time.

Another key request was decent reporting that they could share with their senior management, but their time available to spend on creating and reviewing reports was limited. We needed to ensure the tool we used was able to produce detailed reports with minimal manipulation of data.

What should be measured?

The first thing to work out was which areas to report. A podcast by Kelvin Newman helped to answer what should be measured and the client agreed that these were pretty much the right ones for them:

  1. Is anyone talking about you, and how does this compare with competitors?
  2. What is the sentiment of the conversations and what are the trends over time?
  3. Impact on conversations when you join the conversation
  4. Social action – retweets, recommends, likes etc.
  5. Referrals from social to website landing pages

In previous research we had identified that Raven Tools was a good social monitoring tool. We therefore decided to start their free trial and see if it could deliver what the client wanted, while doing some research on other tools out there.

There are many social media monitoring tools and it’s difficult to know where to begin. We found that being clear in three areas was essential:

  1. what you want to measure and why,
  2. what will you do with the information, and also
  3. what budgets are realistic.

Once you have at least an idea of these you should be able to find something that matches.

We had a quick look at some of the free tools, such as Social Mention. This proved to be a really good free tool and provides some useful information. It does allow you to export the data but it doesn’t provide any ready-made reports. This meant it wasn’t the right tool for our client.

Setting up Raven Tools

Setting up Raven wasn’t too tricky. After a bit of time trying to get the client’s Facebook and Twitter accounts set up and some time to ‘play’, I was able to set up a very simple search which started to collect posts, tweets, blogs etc which mentioned them.

Raven allows you to post and tweet direct from the tool and also shows you a live feed of both the client accounts and also any specific searches that have been created. On the basic package you are allowed 20 searches.

The next step was to work out the reporting. On first glance the reports appeared to be really basic and I doubted that they would provide all the information we needed. The user interface is not always that obvious and takes a while to understand how to navigate round and set things up.

I must also be honest and say that, although useful, their training and help documentation didn’t always hit the mark for me. I’m not sure if that was because this was all new to me or if it was a bit lacking. I felt that I needed more detailed information on what things were and how they should be used.

Once I knew how to get to the reports, and I’d worked out how to go about setting them up, it was all quite easy. Running the report for the first time I was surprised that something that seemed so basic actually provided a massive amount of information. I don’t think anything was missing and the client was really pleased with the information that was produced.

Deciding which monthly KPIs to report on

The final part was to fully define the client’s KPIs and work out what information would be useful to give for their monthly social reports. We decided on:

  • Followers / total likes
  • Re-tweet reach / friends of fans
  • Tweets / page posts
  • Replies, retweets, other mentions / people talking about
  • Who was reached (male / female)
  • Sentiment

All of the above could be easily found from the reports in Raven and  all we needed to do to make life even easier was to set the reports to auto-generate each month. Perfect. Client happy, our job to create the monthly overview report nice and easy.

Our next challenge was to help the client monitor their social media universe, with some very tight requirements. Check it out in Part 2 – Setting up advanced searches in Raven Tools.