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How to create your own social analytics dashboard

web-social-media-dashboard

There are a lot of social media metrics and measurement tools out there aimed at corporate users. Some of them are quite good. Some less so. But pretty much all of them require us to buy into the way in which they define and calculate success. The problem with this approach is that there is little or no opportunity to fine tune either the KPI (Key Performance Indicator – how success is defined) or the algorithm (how the metric is calculated). This probably isn’t a big deal for organisations with no clear social media strategy but for the increasing number of companies that know what they’re trying to achieve with which platforms it soon becomes a problem.

So what’s the solution?

Well, as far as I am aware there is no off-the-shelf system available (correct me if I’m wrong) that allows these sophisticated users to build their own social media dashboard and track the KPIs that they define on a regular basis. So it’s left to the social analytics geeks like me to build bespoke measurement models (usually in Excel, albeit with some useful, informative charts and graphs) and either keep them updated manually or invest a significant chunk of budget in developing a software-based solution (nice work if you can get it).

Regardless, there is still a process that needs following in order to create such a ‘dashboard’. Here’s mine:

1. Objectives

Everything must start with objectives. What are you trying to achieve? This is the only thing your KPIs should be tracking.

2. Competitors

Who are your competitors? Do you care what they’re doing? Is it important to be beating or challenging them? If so, then make sure you build competitor tracking into your KPIs. It also has a bearing on the metrics you’ll be able to use.

3. Data Sources

Which channels are you (and your competitors) using? If you’re using them, you should be including them in your measurement model. Don’t leave them out because you already know you’re not performing well in those areas.

4. Metrics

The tricky bit. What metrics can you extract from each data source/channel and how easily/inexpensively? There are compromises that might need making here depending on resources and budgets.

5. Behaviours

Armed with all of the above, it’s time to decide what behaviours on social media (both yours and others’) most accurately reflect the objectives you are trying to achieve.

6. Calculations

The clever bit. Now is the time to take the metrics and work out how they should be combined mathematically in order to create KPIs that accurately measure the identified behaviours on each platform.

7. Augmentation

For me, the last stage is the most important – and most frequently omitted. By augmenting the KPIs with other business data that also measures your objectives (such as incoming lead volumes, sales, customer service requests, customer satisfaction data, etc.), you can link social media activity and investment with real, hard numbers that the board will understand.

PRINT™ links social media performance to brand value

Yesterday, my consultancy launched a solution to some of the more common questions marketers and social media strategists are asking of their organisations’ social media performance:

  • Does our brand’s social footprint add value?
  • Can this be defined and measured in a meaningful way?
  • How can we use this information to make improvements?

We, like many of our clients, have been frustrated by the lack of a practical set of metrics, or even a common measurement framework. The tools we found were too narrow in scope, too vague in their outputs or simply too expensive.

So we set out to develop our own methodology and it is launched today.

It is called PRINT™ because it measures social footprint based on five attributes – popularity, receptiveness, interaction, network reach and trust. We think it has the potential to become a valuable KPI for marketers and social media strategists because it allows brands to compare their social media performance directly with other chosen brands, across multiple channels. And the output is a set of specific actionable insights.

Above all, unlike other public measures of ‘influence’ (e.g. Klout, PeerIndex, etc.) PRINT™ correlates closely with established measures for brand value and growth from respected sources like Millward Brown (BrandZ) and Interbrand.

It comes in three flavours:

  1. PRINT™ Benchmark – a one-off report for £950 (US $1,500)
  2. PRINT™ Annual – a one-off report plus 2 updates over the course of a year for £1,800 (US $2,900)
  3. PRINT™ Tracker – a one-off report plus 11 monthly updates for £4,250 (US $6,800)

There’s more information about PRINT™ available on our site – including a sample scorecard, insight charts, FAQs and a summary of our investigation into the link between the PRINT™ Index and brand value/growth. If you like what you see, please share it.

If you’re already sold and ready to buy, go straight here.

We’re already applying the PRINT™ solution to our own clients, but we’re also keen to investigate different sectors too. So watch out for the Sociagility Social Top 50, our list of the top global brands ranked using PRINT™.

Social media influence cannot be measured

A few different projects have got my mind focused on influence this week. The first is planning the research design for the centrepiece of my book on social media in B2B (can we measure the influence that social media platforms have on the different staging of the B2B buying cycle?). The second is connected with our cooperation next month with Twitter at the Cannes Lions.

In both contexts I am reaching the conclusion that influence cannot be measured, and thus is a futile metric for exploration. Sure, you can ask people how much influence something has or has had, but do they really know? And what is influence anyway? In my mind it is a power that makes someone do something, not a property that any individual possesses. Invariably when an individual does have influence, it is only over a specific thing. Even the most influential people in the world (politicians, one could argue) have no influence over whether I will buy a Sony or a Panasonic television this weekend.

In a public environment, you might (just) be able to attempt to measure influence by looking at people’s networks, the re-communication of their utterances, but to me this is just reach. Someone who says something that reaches 100,000 people is no more influential than someone who reaches just 100, if all of the latter act on that communication but none of the former do.

In short, influence needs to be measured in context and at the receiving end not the transmitting end. That is not something you can do by looking at their blog posts, tweets or Facebook profile.

So do we continue to try and measure things that cannot be measured, or do we measure things that can be measured and can give us as marketers comparisons that we understand.

I think it’s the latter.