Your competitors are feeding off your ecosystem.

Twitter Lists is not as well known or used by some folks as some other twitter features but it is an important function. It allows Twitters users to create custom groups of Twitter accounts. It is indented as publically available groups: “My favorite friends”, “Best Sports News Sources”, etc. It is something that can tell my friends about other Twitter users. In reality it is mostly used as a heavy promotional tool, with its core ability to feed off other user’s ecosystem. Let’s say you have a competitor. You have a twitter account with 10,000 followers. You are doing really well. Lots of engagement: mentions, RTs – things are going great. Your competitor on the other hand is not that known, yet he does understand that the 10,000 followers that you have is his prime target. These are the folks that have shown interest in what you do and thus will be extremely interested in what he does. Hmm, what can he do to attract this crowd effectively? He can try to follow each one of the folks that you follow. Might help some – but doubtful to have massive impact. It is quite direct too and may not result in much attention. There is something very sneaky that he can do however! He can create a Twitter List and add you to it. Seems innocent enough, but now he is tapping into your ecosystem, you and him now belong to the same group of “Best Companies in Business” or whatever name he decides to give to this list. The two names will now be mentioned in the same sentence. It will come up in the searches, etc, etc.

Dealing with this tactic is easy but does require timely reaction. You can simply block that user. That removes you from that list and removes any notion that the two entities are somehow related to one another.

This is one of the features we offer at Social Report. You can monitor your twitter lists all the time. We also send you a daily email with a list of new groups via email.

Daily Dose of Social News

Social Report is constantly absorbing feedback and developing new ways to maintain it’s place as the leader in social media analytics. With that in mind, we have developed the Daily Digest. One of our most recent updates to our services, Daily Digest sends a summary of the user’s social media presence via email. Detailing mentions, keywords, conversations and more this is simply a great tool to make monitoring those channels and staying engaged.

The daily update can provide you or your client with updates, new followers or mentions on Twitter, new channel subscribers and comments on YouTube, new comments on your blog or Google Analytics breakdowns. For those with a busy lifestyle wishing to be able to direct their social media accounts, and analyze the information in bite size chunks, this is excellent.

I must say this has been exceptionally useful for us at Social Colleague, we have been able to deliver a consistent message across various platforms whilst juggling various client accounts. The Daily Digest has enabled us to take the relevant information and break it down, feed it back to our clients and review our services. If you are a user of Social Report for your own business this still has great value. You can cut down the time you spend analyzing your social media and profiles, messages, engagement and interaction and simply allow the information to come to you, whilst you spend the time more wisely engaging those fans and followers.

The email itself is intuitive yet simple. It’s so easy to read and use, each network has it’s own segment of the email and is communicated with exceptional ease. If you haven’t tried it yet, why not give it a go; it has saved us and our clients a huge amount of time and it can do the same for you.

Social metrics that don’t mean anything.

We have been recently asked about adding Twitter reach and impressions to our analytics. We had all the data already so it was a no brainer – we went ahead and added it. We did however took a moment to see what these numbers actually meant as it seemed like these two measurements (reach and impressions) were widely used and accepted by many.

According to TweetReach.com – reach and impressions are defined as follows:

Simply put impressions are a total number of people that have potentially seen your message and reach is a number of unique people.

We should emphasize the “potentially” part.  Love it! Hypothetical marketing! Perhaps payments for these marketing efforts should also be hypothetical :)

Twitter feed is a drive-by. If you happen to be there when the message is passing by – you will see it. If you are not, you will never even know about it. As a matter of fact even if you try to find it later – it will take you enormous amount of time. Twitter has little in terms of historical search. It is a though twitter only wants you to see “the present”.

It seems that the premise for reach and impressions is coming from web impression measurement. Just like there are impressions in the web analytics world – these social metrics are trying to do the same. These are hardly analogous though. Web impressions are a result of one’s physical action – clicking on the link, typing the address, etc. When someone tells you that you had 1000 impressions on the web – you know what that means – 1000 actual people (give or take a few bot hits) saw your page. When you are told that you had 1000 twitter impressions – you can’t even begin to estimate what that truly means. Clearly only a fraction of these folks really saw it. How many? No one knows.

Perhaps the only way to truly figure this out is from twitter. Hopefully one day they will make Twitter Insights available to all. They certainly can tell if a tweet has been served into a user’s timeline.

All other attempts at measuring impressions and reach are completely off the mark.

 

Follow Rate – Twitter Follower and Friend Legitimacy

You might have noticed that many Twitter users follow a lot more people than follow them back.  An immediate thought that comes to mind is: “What are these people doing?”  The answear is simple – they are exploiting Twitter user sentiment to follow people who follow them. Their thinking might be: “If I were to follow 1000 then 100 are bound to follow me back“. That might be the case, but having people follow you that are not at all interested in your subject matter will not lead to any profits and might even hinder others’ perception of your online profile.

To help you better identify and distinguish between your associations, we have assigned a Follow Rate to each Twitter user. A Follow Rate is a ratio between people that follow a person divided by the number of people this person follows. The chart below shows a few examples and their meaning of the different Follow Rates that might be assigned to a Twitter user:

Followers   Friends   Follow Rate   Conclusion
1000 100 0.1 Really good
100 1000 10 Very suspcious
1000 1000 1 OK, person probably follows every back

Follow Rate of 1+ signals that this user might be involved in spamming or crowd chasing.

We have created 2 charts (one for followers and one for friends) that will allow you to keep an eye on Follow Rate. You find them on your Twitter dashboard, in “Followers” section.

Here is an example:

 

Measuring Social Distances

Measuring Social DistancesYou don’t necessarily need a tape measure to measure distances. It’s possible to measure the distance between two locations using sound. Sound waves travel at a predictable rate. Knowing the velocity of the sound wave, and the time lapse between the initial sound and its echo, you can determine distance to and shape of remote objects.

How is this related to Social Media?

Your social accounts are basically social spaces. Although you may think of degrees of separation as your distance to your friends and fans, in reality that calculation is in no way representative of how close you and your connections really are.  Social closeness is basically a question of how responsive your network is to what you have to say. What is the likelihood that you will get a response from your network?

Knowing this gives a holistic sense of the response you can expect from your friends, fans, connections and followers.

Let’s try this. Come up with a list of messages on different topics and send them to our channels. Let’s take few topics on sports, politics and finance. We will then measure the response (a click) for each message we send.  By the way – trying to think of response as something other than click – an impression or reach is too superfluous and will take a lot of convincing.

Our result table might look like this (expressed as % of total users, but we can also express as total clicks):

Topic Facebook Twitter Google+
Politics 76% 18% 5%
Sports 12% 4% <1%
Finance 7% <1% 9%

These categories are clearly way too general. In real world you may want to create such matrix complete with very granular subcategories (i.e. types of sports, type of political news, etc).

Few interesting conclusions based on these results:

  1. Twitter users are not interested in Finance.
  2. Google+ Users are not interested in Sports.
  3. Facebook users are really into Politics

This may seem like a fairly straight forward exercise, but without a tool that can properly conduct these field tests for us, the task can be quite daunting.

Social Report’s social publishing toolkit is quite useful here. Here is what you can do:

  1. Setup few campaigns (perhaps one for each topic).
  2. You can either create campaigns with your own content or simply take any RSS feed and use it for you content.

You can quite easily create 3 campaigns by simply using CNN’s, ESPN’s and CSPAN’s RSS feeds readily available online. Your users will now be getting your tweets and posts complete with information snippets from these channels.

What’s next?

Next is data analysis. We offer a number of dash board like visualization for you to play with. You can also simply download the data to excel too.

Here are also few useful links to tutorials
RSS Syndication and Social Content Distribution

Social Publishing – publish to your social channels like a pro

 

Adding Value to Your Social Media Presence

Adding Value to Your Social Media Presence

Throughout my experiences on the web, I’ve seen far too many companies just go through the motions when it comes to using social media in online marketing. They heard somewhere on the internet that social media is important for online marketing, so they made a Twitter account and Facebook page for their business and figured that was that.

Well, unfortunately just having a social media presence is only the first thing you need to do in a long strategic process of making updates, corresponding with your audience, thinking of innovative ways to deliver your content through social media, and a whole host of other tweaks and considerations.

Updates are make or break

There are two ways to consider updates as you make them, and I suggest you take both considerations into account before posting any tweet or update. The first consideration is that every update should have a purpose, not for you or your company but for your audience. Before updating, think about whether your audience even has a need for the information being posted.

The second consideration is that every update should be fun or enticing. This may mean improving the titles of the content you are trying to market through social media. This also means coming up with short, concise descriptions of your content that will lure in new customers and audiences. Always seek a more attractive and exciting combination of words, but also be sure not to mislead or oversenationalize.

Make your feed a content resource

You should actively look for ways to provide more or clearer information than your competitors. Research how your competitors are using social media, and offer a better experience than their current setup. If you are providing information that would otherwise be hard to find on one site or in one feed, then you are definitely on the right track.

Interact with your audience

One of the primary functions of social media is to provide a means of communication between two entities. Yet I am surprised how few companies seem to take this principle to heart. Of course the most obvious thing you can do is respond to inquiries on your Facebook page and @mentions to your Twitter. Beyond this, you should take active steps to find out what your customers or audience want. Ask for feedback. When you have two options to deliver a certain type of content, poll through social media which delivery method they prefer. In general, updates that end with questions receive more attention and more responses than those that don’t.

Experiment for the optimal publishing time

You may have to do a little bit of testing to determine when would be the best time to post updates and content for your audience, but really just a combination of good logic and close observation should work well. Be sure to check likes, comments, @tweets, and retweets to get a decent grasp on who gets your updates when. Your most vocal audience should count for a lot as their clamor will likely help your clamor.

Experiment for the optimal social media outlet

Remember that you aren’t just limited to Facebook and Twitter. There are several specialized social networks such as Dribbble for graphic designers and then there are also other online venues to consider as well. Keep in mind that you don’t have to necessarily create an account to access certain social media outlets (although I would recommend creating an account when and where you can); for instance, I know through Twitter several different people who keep Tumblr blogs, and apparently I will ask them to share a post on their Tumblr as well as Twitter accounts.

By-line:

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031@gmail.com.

Top Five Features of Social Report

We like to talk about a lot of topics regarding social media marketing from brand audits to what a good social marketer needs to know.   Occasionally we turn the blog spotlight our way and highlight features (like the export ability) about Social Report we think are worth telling everyone about.  Today we thought we would highlight the five features of Social Report that get rave reviews and shine our blog light toward exploring the depth our solution provides.

Tracking

Having a location where you can track multiple social channels (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and have access to other networks such as Yelp business reviews, Meetup, Google Analytics and more.  We also have in beta, with release slated soon, the addition of networks Foursquare, Gowalla, Bebo, Tumblr and more.  One tool to track it all.

Exporting

We have talked extensively about the power of exporting.  While most tools that track data can export, we have recently bumped up our functionality allowing you to pull from not only all the social networks you have, but your global searches, your contacts and more.  You can build your own reports, and owning your data is great.

Searches

Discovery is one of the cornerstones to solid social media marketing.  But finding influencers, people to interact with, clients and even detractors can be cumbersome.  We do unlimited global searches while others charge per search.   Even better than doing the search is the fact that these can be global searches outside of your network. And, even if you don’t choose to use this feature – Social Report still discovers conversations and indexes them for you.  Discovery is that extra mile we go for you.

Response

How do you know if your campaigns are actually working?  Measurement of course.  Social Report lets you measure how responsive your audience is.  Do they actually act?  Do they buy from you?  If you are not using Social Report – how do you track this effectively, efficiently and most importantly, accurately.  Getting all the information you need to determine ROI and help make proper adjustments as necessary is valuable.  Measure correctly, act accordingly.

Management

Any team of marketing professionals can tell you that while the end effect is of a swan gracefully maneuvering the social media waters, beneath the waves, those feet are paddling, and that requires coordination across the organization.  Social report has excellent features that let you manage team access and roles and project.  We also have White Label abilities, and our tool lets you manage that entire process with ease.  Coordination is the heart of any successful social media marketing campaign.

With all of the features and more being developed and added constantly, we feel Social Report is the only analytics solution to consider.  But again, don’t take our word for it.  Try it out for free, and explore all these features and more.

The Power of Exporting Your Data

One of the unique problems about analyzing social media is having so many different networks, each with it’s own standards of measurement and analytics data. Compiling that data in a format that allows you to examine information apples to apples, have the ability to look at trends and then have that data be exportable is a social media strategists dream come true.

All The Data In One Place

Getting together reports on social data can be a multi-hour, sometimes multi-day affair.  Aligning dates, times, data points and then capturing the data out of each individual social network can be cumbersome at best, nightmarish at worst.

Then consider if you have to pull that data from a month ago?  A year ago?  What about if you have to compare or cross-reference your data from networks with other data – perhaps sales or accounting information? Even from a legal perspective or company need, if you need to pull tweets from Twitter or messages from Facebook and other networks to see what was said about or by you – could that be done?

Social Report Brings Export to the Social Media Analytics Game

We are proud of this feature.  We spent quite a bit of time getting it right and wanted to tout the features a bit. The Social Report Export feature allows:

  • Exporting from many social networks including: Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Yelp, Meetup, Myspace, YouTube, Google Analytics and more.
  • Exporting discovery (i.e. Keyword search results)
  • Exporting contacts from the Address Book
  • Exporting campaigns results
  • Customizing dates to meet the end-user’s needs

Of course, if you are using Social Report already and want to learn more we have an a “how to” post on exporting from within the tool.  If you have not yet signed up for Social Report, here is the easy registration page or if you want more information, sign-up for our next Webinar!

The ability to pull the social media data from so many sources for dates custom set by the user and include the discovery information gives any social media marketing professional or strategist the power to see the big picture and even better the knowledge to act on it.

Brand Audit Best Practices

Social chatter and noise can be very distracting when you try and measure what is being said about your company, key industry concepts and your site.   And as we all know the social networks are ever changing. We think conducting a brand audit is a good first step and a key elements of a successful social media monitoring campaign.

 

Brand Audit As A Baseline

 

Having an analytical baseline is a good starting point.  Some key points to look at when doing the brand audit are:

Volume of Conversations
– Sentiment & Tone of Conversations
– Brand Attacks
– Customer Service Issues
– “Attaboys”
– Influencers
– Locations
– Sources

After getting all the data you find relevant, map it out.  Social Report will even let you export the data to make it easier.  Even if you have to use Excel to map it out, know what is being said, by whom and how often.

 

What Opportunities Are Present

 

With the right data, organized correctly any social media professional can look for the opportunities that the social graph is showing you.  Expediency in getting data and feedback is a key element of social media marketing, so watching frequently for social trends is crucial.  A few opportunities to monitor, advance and in some cases save your brand can include:

– customer service slip-ups
– confusion about your product
– brand attacks by competitors
– employee PR issues
– press that is praising your brand

Remember though, this audit can’t tell you everything.  Think of the brand audit as a global thermometer to gage the what, the who and the where of social conversations.  Knowing what the outcomes are versus what the expected outcomes are, is the first step to getting any social media marketing strategy on track.  Social media is no magic bullet but it can make the difference in many company’s bottom line with the right data.