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Social Media Trends 2012 – Analytics and Measurement

Today I am going back to the four social media trends Beverly Macy predicted would be hot in 2012 in the Huffington Post

The rise of Social Intelligence
Better use of analytics and more focus on measurement
Content creation and curation
Social media education and training
Social Media Intelligence is a sure bet in my view – see this post.

Let’s take a look at Analytics and Measurement.

Measurement

One of the aspects of social media that is changing as it matures is measurement When businesses first started to experiment with social media activity no-one was particularly concerned with measuring anything. Kind of like we found a new game of water polo, we all jumped in at the deep end, splashed around a lot and the more people in the pool and the more people we splashed, the better. We were playing the game, but we weren’t too sure who was on our team or where the goals were. But since everyone else was there, it seemed like we should be too.

Social media is no longer a game or an experiment. It’s an accepted and effective business strategy. It is on the CEO’s radar. According to a report byUseful Social Media, 12% of the companies surveyed claimed that social media was under the direct control of the CEO.

There is certainly an increased pressure on corporate social media practitioners to deliver on investment – there’s an ever more pressing need to demonstrate ROI, along with progress against other crucial KPIs. But this simply represents social media being treated as a regular business investment, says the report.

74% of CMOS agree that social efforts were finally tied to hard ROI. What are they measuring?

Some of these are outputs and outtakes, but a good number of them are outcomes: what did people do as a result of reading your content or engaging with you on a social site?

Did they click a link, share your content, visit a landing page, fill in a form, download a whitepaper or a coupon, watch a video or recommend you to a friend?

CMOs are also measuring purchases and customer satisfaction via reduced returns, lower call center volume and fewer complaints.

One measurement that rarely gets mentioned in these studies is amplification. We know that word of mouth is powerful and it’s even more so on social media. When a friend shares something with you it has a much deeper effect that if you received it from the brand.

It is possible to measure how many times your message gets shared by your fans and followers in Facebook and Twitter and it gives you a good measure of the success of your social content. It also highlights brand affinities and identifies your brand advocates.

Analytics

This is an area that traditionally has not been a PR skill, but it is one we have to master. And we need to do it in a hurry!

Several years ago Jim Sterne of the Web Metrics Summit said that someone who can understand web analytics and interpret the numbers for the marketing and PR people is worth their weight in gold – and I believe that is still the case today.

So how can you measure all these items? What tools can you use?

Start by learning the basics of Google Analytics. and spend 10 minutes a day reading it.

Facebook Insights has a fairly robust set of analytics. Read their product guide here and watch this video tutorial.

TweetReach is a good tool for tracking amplifiers in Twitter.

And what about Google+? Christopher Penn has a very smart idea of what to do with your amplifiers – create a G+ circle for them

Although measurement, statistics and analytics have not been top of the list of PR skills in the past, they are going to become more and more important going forward. It’s no surprise to me that they are on the list of hot trends for 2012.

About the Author:
Sally is the author of Website Content Strategy blog: Information about the shifts in media consumption and the use of technology in marketing and PR so business can stay in touch with their rapidly moving audiences.

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