This builds on Beth Kanter's post, "What is the value of listening to social media channels for your organization?"
As a web analytics person, a challenge has always been getting the right metrics to the right person at the right time.
In this post I'm going to focus on two areas where we currently provide metrics for World Resources Institute staff.
Website metrics (http://www.wri.org)
Moving from Webtrends and AWStats to the free Google Analytics tool was the first step in unlocking our content.
Having said that, we are still using AWStats to track PDF downloads because not all links to PDF downloads originate through our website.
Social Media metrics
In preparation for incorporating major social media stats into these analytics dashboard, we have labeled website content using the Google Analytics campaign schema:
We use tweetburner.com to both shorten our URLs for posting on twitter (twurl them) and to track our clickthrough rates. Having said that, tweetburner has had problems since Crosspring.com took over - around December 12, 2008. While tweetburner is still capturing clickthrough data, it isn't rolled up on a day-by-day basis so we can't track our growth in clickthroughs over time - something which we found valuable in the past:
There are more than 400 applications currently available to help you manage and track your twitter account. We use the following tools on a regular basis to develop twitter metrics, track conversations, and listen online:
* search.twitter.com. If you haven't used this tool, use it. It is by far the best tool for tracking the conversation on twitter. Search by @twittername, by #hashtags, and by keyword.
* twittercounter.com. This tool was recently updated to show graphs for last week, last month, and the last 3 months. You can also post a badge on your website to advertise the number of followers you have.
* tweetake.com provide you with a backup of all your Twitter data via a .CSV file. You can download and analyze information about your followers, friends and tweets.
* twittergrader.com measures your twittering mojo, just for fun.
* lessfriends.com identifies who follows you, who you follow and where there is mutual following. A good tool to make a quick account of who you may not be following (but should be).
There are many other tools out there - try them out and determine what works best for your organization's needs. Lists of many tools can be found through my delicious.com account - http://delicious.com/lldoolj2/twitter+tools
Listening to the conversation has taught me:
* Opt-in email newsletters are still king in terms of click-throughs. Email will never die, but you need to use it properly.
* People who enjoy the conversations I'm having and connect to me in one social media venue will often connect in other social media spaces as well (twitter, digg, facebook, linkedin).
* People who are leaders in online conversations about our issues are not always the same as those who are leaders in the offline world. You should reach out to both audiences.
* People who choose to follow me or my organization do so because of the conversations we participate in and the issues we care about. Keeping the trust of those who follow and support us is an important responsibility.
* It is important to leverage the active social media networks that are already out there - jump in, listen, contribute and you will develop a core group of dedicated followers who will become advocates for you and your work.
* Free tools I use to connect and to listen: Google Reader, Google Alerts, Google Analytics, Twitter, Digg, Delicious, Facebook, LinkedIn, Technorati, SlideShare.net, YouTube, Flickr and other social media. WRI has also been awarded a Google Grant - we are testing our keywords through Adwords and will continue to monitor our clickthrough rates.
* New staff and interns often connect to the World Resources Institute facebook group. There are a variety of ways for an organization to exist in facebook - as a group, as a page, and as a cause. Do your research before determining which of these best reflects the purpose of your organization on facebook.
* WRI's LinkedIn group members share news and respond to posts. It is worth building or expanding your organization's presence in this tool.
* It is useful to maintain both organizational and personal profiles in the major social media, as appropriate. This promotes different conversations and connections appropriate to each profile.