What is my social ROI?
Almost every brand across all possible verticals in this post-web 2.0 world has hopped on to the social media bandwagon. And most of the times their presence is found across multiple channels of the social web. Be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and what not, you will find the presence of every type of organization on social media. Here are some stats to blow your mind:
The serious, no-nonsense organization, The Prime Minister’s Office has a following of 91, 937 (as of 04/26/2012) on Twitter ). It also enjoys a following of 270K (as of 04/26/2012) on Facebook. Plus, the PMO’s office has a dedicated YouTube channel that broadcasts relevant events on the social web. At the other end of the spectrum, the IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore boasts of a massive list of 672K (as of 04/26/2012) followers on Facebook.
Impressive.However, amidst all that buzz, sometimes it’s quite natural to experience the feeling of being lost. Moreover, every CEO out there would want to know their social ROI. Yes, I have a fairly large social media presence. But what the heck am I deriving from it? Is my Facebook page driving any traffic at all to my site? Or is just sitting pretty, doing nothing, inside a digital void in cyberspace?
Naturally, if you are entrusted with the responsibility of handling the social media efforts for your brand, you would look for a relatively seamless way to get a hang of how exactly your social media efforts are paying off.
That’s where the social media analytics tools step in.
Rumbling through the jungle
Any search on Google with the keywords “social media analytics” would throw up a plethora of results. The boom of social media has given rise to a whole lot whole bunch of new age analytics tools that crawl the social web, glean the data, and present vast amounts of data to you in a number of ways.
So how can you choose? It’s simple. You choose what fits your need. For instance, if your need is to meticulously map and monitor only your Twitter channel, TweetDeck itself will suffice. If, however, you are active on multiple social channels and wish to control them from a common dashboard, you would need to look beyond.
This essay takes into consideration this fact. It envisages an user/web master who is tasked with the (unenviable) job of tracking the performance of all his/her social media channels. So the following is a quicky review of two of the most prominent social analytics tools out there that provide comprehensive dashboards to analyze multiple social media channels at a go–the old school (dare we say)
Google Analytics and the sleek new guy in the town – Radian6.
The best way tool to make sense of static social data
As with most of the Google goodies, this is a freebie.
In the pre-social web of organic online marketing Google Analytics was the absolute go-to tool. It still is when it comes to purely organic search and analytics. However, when it comes to the social, like Google itself, Google Analytics has not quite lived up to its otherwise lofty standards yet.
Sure enough GA gives you a good enough run-down of all the social traffic sources to your site. It shows you whoever has driven whatever traffic to your site under the “reference” section. It also gives you all the numbers to crunch and munch – number of visits from your social channels, time spent on your site from individual social channels, bounce rate, and all that.
What is does not do, however, are:
1. No real-time donuts: Google Analytics gets updated only once in 24 hours. In the mad rush of the world of social media, that is a bit slow.
2. Does not chart the exact social path: Google Analytics does not show how exactly social media is driving traffic to your site. For instance, it won’t show which of your tweets has done what for you.
3. It’s impersonal: Google Analytics also does not show you how the social media influencers are driving traffic to your site.
All said and done, Google Analytics will pretty much do the job for you unless you are not looking to analyze real time social media data.
Note: However, Google has recently added a social tracking code that makes things a whole lot different. It still does not quite replace Radian6 though. Still it’s worth integrating to your analytics dashboard.
Delving deep into the social web
Cost: The price ranges from $600/month to $10,000/month. A bit high, but it also gives value for your money.
The most comprehensive social media analytics tool out there is Radian6. With Radian6 you would really get the feel that the tool eavesdrops on the social web, picking up signals from all sorts of social channels that include blogs, forums, social networks and other alleys of the social web. Let’s see what Radian6 can do for picking up the social buzz around your brand.
Some among the rich array of features that Radian6 offers:
1. Real-time: First of all, the tool captures data in real time which is then fed on to its dashboard analytics widget. It provides real time social intelligence that mushrooms around your brand.
2. Intuitive dashboard: The dashboard itself is easy to use. With an intuitive design that includes text, pictures and designs.
3. Social crawler: With a proprietary crawler of its own the Radian6 social engine crawls zillions of blogs, forums, and other social websites and from that provides a sentiment analysis for all of them.
4. Third party API: In line with its deep social media analysis, Radian6 provides an API that further supports the integration of third-party data as well as the integration of social CRM.
5. Sentiment analysis: It provides a sentiment analysis of the social engagement that happens around your brand. The elements that are taken into consideration include demographics and influencers among other things.
In a nutshell, if your enterprise lives and breathes on the social web, this is a must-have tool.
The jungle of social analytics tools includes quite a few other impressive tools like Hootsuite and Social Mention. However, most of your social analytics needs can be sufficiently fed by these two tools. Which one of these you choose would depend upon your exact needs. If your social media budget is low and you don’t really need to be on the edge 24/7, then forego the pricey options and stick to Google Analytics. If, however, you need to delve deeper into the marshes of the social web, go for the pro version of Radian6.
Featured image courtesy Mykl Roventine