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Monitoring Social Media Marketing

Posted on 1.31.2008
By Joe Whyte
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Chat rooms, blogs, forums, social networks, social bookmarking sites and virtually any site that allows conversational interaction is a prime venue for the rapidly growing field of social media marketing – an essential tool in every SEO's kit and one that is often misunderstood and misused.
Social media marketing can bring traffic and links to any website. Too often, marketers overlook the value of social media and tend to stick with traditional methods, while the younger generation of webpreneurs has employed social sites as an every-day strategy. But more and more, larger corporations are catching on and joining the social media bandwagon. What’s missing — and essential — is proper measurement of these new techniques. Often times, social media marketing is dismissed before its true effectiveness is realized.
   
A New Set of Metrics

Using Web metrics is nothing new and analyzing data for clients is routine for any Internet marketer. However, the tools we use and the stats we focus on need to change when applying social media marketing to your or your clients’ strategic marketing plans. Today, standard Web analytics applications track bits of information we are all accustomed with, such as page views, referring URLs, traffic geo-segmentations and numbers of visitors.

For social media marketing, what we really need to be concerned with is buzz and viral marketing. For example, if you’ve managed to leverage some content on a site like Digg, how do you measure its reach and effectiveness once that content starts to go viral? Using standard Web metric applications gives us a good idea of the initial push on Digg, or any other site, but the full extent of the campaign is lost. Similarly, you can benchmark your current inbound links before a social media campaign and then carry out another benchmark several weeks later. But when it comes to social media metrics, this is primitive analytical reporting. You’re not seeing the entire picture and the potential of a successful social media marketing campaign.

Segmenting your standard Web metrics from social media buzz or viral marketing metrics will help you further refine your campaigns and also provide more in-depth information to better serve you or your clients.

Lets take a look at the core differences between standard Web analytics and social marketing metrics.

With standard Web analytics we are accustomed to tracking:

  • frequency of visitors
  • page views
  • referring URLS
  • entry pages
  • bounce rate
  • visitor paths
  • conversions
  • exit pages
Metrics that are more important when measuring social media marketing include:
  • RSS/newsletter subscribers
  • amount of social bookmarks received
  • activity of comments added to your blog
  • number of new links secured by social media marketing
  • monitoring the viral aspect — what blogs, forums etc are talking about you
  • monitoring referring links
  • monitoring brand/search saturation
  • monitoring reach
  • mood of conversational marketing
  • monitoring engagement of site visitors
  • tracking email usage (if implemented into campaign)
As you can see, the facets of social media marketing to watch differ from traditional Web analytics. And because they are different, we
need tools and services that more appropriately fit our needs.

Below are some useful services for your social media analytics needs.

SentimentMetrics: This service locates, stores and reports on blogs and websites that mention your brand. This service is niche-specific as it targets conversationally-based sites along with monitoring buzz about them. SentimentMetrics is useful after submitting content you created for social sites like Digg, Propeller, reddit, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon or any other niche social media site.

Visual Sciences: Formely known as WebSideStory and recently acquired by Omniture, Visual Sciences is an inexpensive solution to monitoring many metric types including engagement marketing and conversational marketing verticals.

MediaMiser: Over at MediaMiser, they specialize in measuring search, media sites and search archives — a great tool for any online media marketer.

Andiamo Systems: Andiamo monitors all mentions on a social level — from social networking sites and blogs to forums and message boards. This metric system specializes in word-of-mouth and buzz marketing, a perfect application for social media marketing.

The above are all good systems designed specifically to manage and monitor more than your standard Web analytics package.

When you start to really monitor and track social media marketing its best to step up to a custom application. But if you’re on a budget here are some services you can use to help monitor and track social media coverage for less of an investment.

Memeorandum.com and Blogniscient.com search the blogsphere for specific terms. So does Google Alerts and Yahoo Alerts.

Copernic Tracker, WebSite-Watcher and WatchThatPage all monitor Web pages for any changes and can collect new content. These services are good for keeping up with keywords and changes and for monitoring your reputation on sites you choose.

Moreover.com will help you monitor developments and changes in a specific industry.

Finally, remember to utilize your backlink search queries along with technorati to monitor blogs.

These tools, unfortunately are not viable solutions to client reporting but can offer a wealth of information for any anyone looking to put some effort into manual reporting.

Social media can be a powerful marketing tool. As social media has risen to a role of prominence on the Web, it is important for marketers to be in the mix and employ social media marketing. But just having a presence isn’t enough. You must be aware of how your message is spread and where your efforts are best suited. And that means adopting a new set of metrics.

About the Author: Joe Whyte is President of HybridSEM.com and has worked with fortune 1000 companies and a member of the Web analytics association. HybridSEM offers social media marketing blended with SEO to maximize your ROI. Reach us at (888)237-7928 for a free consultation.

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