Five useful and free tools to measure your union’s social-media impact
April 15, 2011
After setting up your Facebook page, your Twitter account, your MailChimp (or Campaign Advantage) account and your campaign website, what next?
Knowing whether your online campaigning and social media efforts are succeeding is important for any organisation, no more so than unions, who need to ensure that scarce resources are put to best effect.
(You’ve set goals, right?)
Metrics is the way you can check whether your union’s social media is delivering. Many unions overlook this part of the equation. There is also no clear consensus on what to measure – or how. Pageviews, referrals, retweets, likes, followers, opens, clicks, conversions – the list goes on and on. This diversity is partly because social media metrics is still maturing, and partly because different campaigns will have different goals.
However, if, like many unions, you’re just dipping your toe in the social-media water, here’s five useful (and free) tools to help you measure your impact. Most of these I use regularly – and they help me get a snap-shot of how the various organisations and campaigns I run or help are travelling on the various social media platforms.
Klout is a fantastic little tool that measures your “influence” on Twitter and Facebook.There are many different variables that use, including followers, re-tweets, and “network. Here’s how they describe social-media influence:
We believe that influence is the ability to drive people to action — “action” might be defined as a reply, a retweet, a comment, or a click. We perform significant testing to ensure that the average click-through rate on links shared is highly correlated with a person’s Klout Score.
If you’ve read many of my earlier blog posts about online campaigning and social media, you’ll see why I like Klout. Social media and online campaign should be all about getting people to do something. While Klout can’t measure people doing things in the real world, it can measure people doing something on social networking sites.
Wildfire is a nifty little app that lets you compare the performance of several organisations on Facebook and Twitter. I really like it because, as it says “no company is an island” – and no union is an island. While there’s not much point in unions comparing themselves to each other, you can check how you are faring compared to an employer. For example, I could check the NTEU against the social media performance of a university.
Wildfire is also a good tool to create benchmarks for your campaign – for example looking at a union with a similar membership demographic or membership size. How are they doing? How long have they been on Facebook or Twitter? This then helps you set expectations and milestones.
3. Facebook Insights
If you’ve ever set up a Facebook page, you’ll be reasonably familiar with Facebook insights – which is like a simpler, friendlier version of Google Analytics for your page.
As a Page admin, your dashboard gives you access to a trove of data: daily active users, monthly active users, daily new likes, daily interactions such as comments, geographic location of your visitors (broken down by country, city and language), external referrals, internal link traffic and more. When you have spikes of user engagement, Insights will show you caused them.
There are limits to Facebook Insights and it can be unreliable sometimes, but it’s getting better.
4. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the indispensible tool for getting a comprehensive picture of your online campaigns. The Google API means that it integrates with a lot of other fantastic tools – like MailChimp (so you can also track the success of your email campaigns) or Google Ads (so you can measure that success of your online keyword advertising).
Unless you’re really into large-scale campaigns with a lot of resources, most of the tools offered by Google Analytics will probably be more than you need, but in the right hands, it can be one of the most powerful metric-measurement tools in your kit.
I find it useful to give my union leaders and other decision-makers a good understanding of the most important parts of a website and some important measures. For example, the bounce-rate, popular pages and exit pages are all important pieces of information. It can be tempting for unions to create mamoth websites with 100s of pages, but if 99% of the traffic goes to either the “Join” page and the “Contact” page then that tells you something about the interests of the site’s visitors. Similarly, if your bounce-rate is very high (the bounce-rate is the number of people who look at one page only, then leave the site), then you can consider how engaging or “user-friendly” your site is.
I like Postrank because it easily integrates with WordPress and Google Analytics, and gives me a great snapshot of the engagement of my readership. As Postrank say “80% of the engagement with your content doesn’t happen on your site” it happens in social media. Postrank does a good job of finding most of the social-media commentary on your content – although it does miss one very important (but elusive) source of engagement: forums.
Nevertheless, Postrank is useful for campaigns – and lets you find where people are talking about your issue and engage with them. It comes with both a free and premium service, but unless you’ve got a lot of resources to devote to social media, the free version is good enough to provide you with a useful snapshot of what’s going on.
Any other great tools?
These are five tools I use regularly – and they are free. What are some other great tools out there that you use?