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Social Media Analytics Month – Introduction
TopLineFounder | October 1, 2012
Hi. Thanks, the B2B Social Media Guide, for asking me to be your guest editor. It’s a great honour, and one I won’t take lightly.
The topic I’ve chosen to cover in my month as guest editor is social media analytics. What’s that, you ask, counting Tweets and Facebook likes? Well, yes. But there’s a bit more to it than that. If you’re interested in learning more (as I am) then keep an eye on the blog throughout October as we update with posts from lots of lovely, knowledgeable contributors.
We’ve got the low-down from a marketer’s perspective, to ease us in, as well as some more in-depth discussions. An exciting tech start-up discusses the large-scale application of social analytics, and a new social media research branch of a socio-political think tank tackles a piece on the need to look beyond traditional marketing and advertising metrics in favour of an interdisciplinary, applied study of human behaviours from which to draw meaningful – and ethically sound – results.
I also got in touch with the communications team at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to find out how it’s embracing social media, and how it helps businesses that want to follow suit. The team answered my question with uncharacteristic efficiency: they didn’t respond. I mean, it’s not like I was asking Vince to retweet my granny’s birthday (she doesn’t have Twitter: she’s dead) – I just wanted some comms intern to acknowledge my good-natured approach with an agreement to pass on some self-congratulatory public campaign pumps and (dare I dream?) insightful comment. Oh well.
So why social media analytics? You’re reading a post on a blog called the B2B Social Media Guide, so I won’t waste your time with ‘the future is social’ and other pearls of web wisdom. The peddlers of social media guruspeak do that well enough to make parody redundant. I’m interested in influence: in how social networks become arenas for influence (peer-to-peer and business-to-client), how this can be recognised and – most importantly – put to good use. Your definition of ‘good’, if you’re a B2B tech business, might be ‘profitable’. At least one of our contributors will disagree with you on the semantics of good analysis.
Looking outside the business box, a report last month showed the power of peer influence over social media, as Facebook was credited with driving 340,000 extra voters to the polls in the 2010 US Congressional elections (a little retrospective, I know, but the analysis is interesting). By clicking the “I voted” button, users could share the fact with their network of friends, and invite them to exercise their democratic right too. The influence of this social notification (how many people went on to vote after viewing the message) was compared with results from two further samples: those who viewed a general invitation to vote (not from a friend); and those who saw no message at all. The report suggests that the introduction of the messages resulted in 340,000 more votes, but the interesting trends appear when you compare the two kinds of message. Those who saw the ‘social’ message were 0.4 per cent more likely to vote than those who saw only the ‘informational’ message; they were also more than two per cent more likely to share their experience over the network. The power of influence was found to be directly related to the closeness of the relationship, judged by the level of interaction between users.
There’s also the classic upshot of businesses’ use of social media analytics: how should you deal with negative sentiment and customer complaints? What do you do, for example, when one of your customers blogs about sub-standard service, broadcasting (with targeted hashtags, #obvz) a warning to other prospective customers?
It’s these questions, and more, that we’ll consider this month on the B2B Social Media Blog. Stay tuned for regular updates, and join in the conversation wherever you can – that’s the whole point, right?
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