Wednesday, January 23, 2013


As businesses continue to work towards new ways of communicating their brand to existing and potential customers, many new, and constantly evolving, methods are being used and explored.  One very important vehicle for this process is something that has become commonplace for the average person.  Social media.  Most of us have some type of presence on a social networking site, professional networking site, dating site, or,  at the very least, explore blogposts when researching something online.
Pushing your brand through a social network is fairly simple for a company to do because of the low to non-existent start up costs.  A far more challenging, but useful, initiative is to explore how well those efforts are working towards accomplishing your brand’s goals.  Maybe, an even more basic question is to ask,”What exactly is even happening?”  This article and video give a great overview, to get you started.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKpUkRngPqo

Social media, simply put, is the next evolutionary step in a classic business theme...word of mouth advertising.  Social analytics is a new tactic, stemming from other web analytics approaches, that aims to find out, “What are people saying?”  
Social analytics aims to quantify 1) who is seeing your brand through social media? 2) what are people saying about you brand through social media? and 3) what traffic is being generated to your website?, through your brand’s links on social media.  Like web analytics, many free and robust tools exist to answer these questions, along with more costly services.  Many articles and resources exist to explore your options but this article is a good place to start the ball rolling http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2011/09/02/the-best-new-social-media-analytics-tools-of-the-year-so-far/
When I explore topics in any area of web analytics, there always seems to be a mention of Google Analytics, and its no different with social.  Google Analytics, has added new reports that aim to address those questions for brands that have a social media presence. This article talks more about GA’s social reports exclusively http://blog.kissmetrics.com/google-analytics-social-reports/. In todays world, its probably safe to assume that your brand does have a social presence, whether you intended to or not, which makes understanding what is happening all the more important.
In order to capitalize on the use of social analytics, as well as, choose the right technology for your company to use or invest in, your brand needs to understand and defines its goals for social media, and the analysis thereof.  Are you looking for basic exposure or traffic generation?  Are you looking for a less costly and more realistic method for customer feedback? Or maybe, you want to spread the word about promotion or a new product?  These question need to be addressed when understanding what it is your brand is looking to gain from a social media presence.  Its also important to understand what you wish to gain from social analytics. A report on what is happening, or insight into how different tactics could be used to achieve the above mentioned goals more effectively?
Shifting gears from big picture to logistics, as you enter into the world of social analytics with your brand, consider how your web-presence is set up for easy access to social media sharing and activity.  Its great to think about things from the perspective of “pull”.  How is social media pulling activity and customers to my brand, this of course is the whole idea behind social analytics! But in addition, what are you doing to “push” your brand out through social media.  By this I am referring to social media tags.  Tags allow visitors to your site or, any online presence your brand has, to quickly and easily take your brand and advocate it through their social media channels.  Instead of copying and pasting, or some other archaic method, people “like” your brand on Facebook, or “pin” one of your products on Pinterest, and “retweet” your latest Twitter feed. This is a great list to illustrate tags, different ways to use them, and all the different sources that you can explore to add them to your brand’s web presence. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/tags/social-media
Social analytics is very exciting and valuable to brands, because it allows a means to measure word of mouth. Word of mouth can now, not only be valuable, but measurable and better executed as well.