Three Ways to Measure Your Twitter Effectiveness

Twitter Stats

Twitter Stats

Social media metrics are important for many reasons. Related to your own objective for using social media, these metrics serve as an indicator and a guide for how effectively you’re using social media.

Twitter is one of the more widely-used social networking tools, and the ability to track Twitter metrics can be key to your overall strategy. Here are a few tools you can use:

Twitter Counter This tool will keep track of the number of followers you have and display that information in a line graph across a three month period of time. This allows you see the growth of your follower list. You can compare your growth rate with that of any other account holder by typing in their Twitter name.

Twitter Grader This tool by HubSpot, a company that provides inbound marketing software, is one of their many free resources to help you become a sophisticated user of social media. They will grade your Twitter account (on a scale of 1 to 100), and even offer suggestions for improvements you can make to your account. There’s also a link to view your follower and following history for the past three months.

Tweet Stats From the first time you access this tool, it will start tracking the changes in the number of followers you have and the number of people you’re following. Immediately, however, it will show you a number of different bar charts showing your tweet stats (e.g., average number of tweets per day, retweets, @ replies) and activity patterns such as density and frequency.

Although these tools are similar, they each have their strengths. Depending on what you’re tracking and why, you can use any or all of them. A Google search of ‘twitter ranking tools’ will give you hundreds of other options. But the three above are ones that I have found to be useful when setting goals and tracking my progress toward them.

If you use a tool for tracking your Twitter metrics that you like, please leave a comment here with the information so I can check it out.

May 11, 2010 at 8:51 pm Leave a comment

You can’t improve it if you can’t measure it

DebiDavisDriven

3D Communications

Anyone who has a website or blog knows the importance of driving traffic to it. But how do you know how much traffic you’re getting and where it’s coming from?

I received a bit of advice through my Twitter feed this morning from social media maven, Guy Kawasaki. He provided four steps to track your social networking success . The first step very emphatically reminded me of the importance of Google Analytics. I was aware of this tool, but haven’t spent the time to learn how to use it. Today was the day.

I spent about 10 minutes reading and following simple instructions for getting started with Google Analytics and another 9 minutes watching a YouTube video about how to use the analytics reports. I’m feeling pretty smart for getting it figured out, but pretty dumb for waiting so long to do this!

The 10 minutes of reading included actually installing the tool on each of the six pages of my website. Honestly, it was a matter of copying & pasting code into the five Java Script blocks that were clearly marked and easily accessible on my website’s dashboard. According to something I read, it takes about 24 hours for the analytics tool to start capturing data. But, for some reason, data for my site was available immediately. After viewing the above-mentioned video about the reports and then reviewing my reports, I realize I need to look very differently at my whole strategy for my online presence.

Things I need to do to my website:

  • Consider it an ultimate destination, and therefore, develop a plan for making it
    1. a valuable source of information,
    2. interactive,
    3. a place for creating connections (through a “call to action”)
  • Include links to it in my social sites and activities
  • Set goals related to keyword searches, page views, and time spent on my site that can be measured (a function of Google Analytics) so I know if I’m making the desired progress.

I still have much to learn, but by following the above steps I will be learning in a very productive way. Considering how much I value both “learning” and “productivity,” I’m pretty happy with this plan.

If you’d like to help me, please click on the link to my website so that I have some traffic to analyze. And, while you’re there, if you see something that needs to be improved, I’d love to hear from you. Suggestions, ideas, anything at all will be much appreciated!

May 1, 2010 at 9:22 am 2 comments

How to Manage Information Overload

Hay Truck

Haytruck by Stewsnews

I have set out to turn “information overload” into “an abundance of options.” Doesn’t that just sound better?  Based on what I’m hearing and reading, we’re all feeling the pressure and the frustration, and it IS tempting to join the chorus.  But, the alternatives – censoring and regulated filtering – are neither desirable nor practical at this point.  With countless contributors who have unlimited access to the Internet, information will continue to be generated at lightening speed, and it could feel like “overload.”  But, the problem is not that we have too much information.  The problem is finding a way to manage it. That solution will be a little different for everyone.

I’m a strategist by nature and profession, so my approach to this problem looks like this:  I start out with my lists of objectives and values, and I let those be my guides.  I throw in a bit of discipline and time management and I’ve got the beginnings of a recipe for managing the information overload.  I complete it with the not-so-secret ingredients: tools.

I don’t mean to oversimplify the process because it’s really not simple at all.  In fact, it takes real effort. For me, the greatest challenge is in those elusive and constantly evolving objectives.  Fortunately, the values tend to stay pretty consistent.  The discipline is part of my character; and I’ve been developing my time management skills for decades.
Choosing the tools can be difficult because the options are extensive and you might find yourself in a chicken-or-the-egg situation with the overload of information about the tools.  But, this is where I did try to simplify the process.  I started with tools I was familiar with and then added a couple more that seemed to keep coming up in conversation.

Here’s how it all plays out for me:

Objectives:

  • To learn how businesses integrate social media into existing strategies and practices
  • To become familiar with valuable resources and thought leaders in the field

Values:

  • Continuous learning
  • Productive use of time

Time management:

  • Pre-plan a realistic weekly schedule for reading and research
  • Document every session related to the purpose, the amount of time spent, the outcome, and how new information will be applied to the progress of existing projects.

Discipline:

  • Ensure productive use of time (see values) by consciously committing to objectives before each work session
  • Make weekly schedule a strict priority (see time management)

Tools:

  • Microsoft Outlook® To-Do List, Journal and Reminders
  • Google Reader (for RSS feeds)
  • Bookmarking functions found in Google (stars), Delicious and Twitter (favorites)
  • Amazon.com wish list
  • iTunes (for subscribing to podcasts)

The process I use is pretty structured and disciplined.  But, it has been extremely effective windmill and haystacks by somebody_in turning information overload into an abundance of options.  I know this because I’m making good progress toward my objectives, and my interest and enthusiasm remain high.  What’s more, with an eye on the prize, it takes only a little conscious effort to resist the temptation to wander off my path.
While I have been practicing this strategy for a long time, writing this blog has reinforced my commitment to it.  Although everyone’s own strategy will be unique, I would recommend writing yours down and making it work. Don’t allow the perception of information overload keep you from the abundance of options that await you.

April 4, 2010 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

Social Media is a calculated risk. Surprised?


Street Chess Originally uploaded by ocadotony

Inspired by a blog posted today by @ShelHoltz (Six questions to ask before launching a Facebook Page) and a question that was posed in a webinar presented by Marketo today – The Definitive Guide to B2B Social Media – I’m pondering two points I most frequently hear from non-users of Social Media. They relate to ROI and “Why?”.  These reactions to the suggestion that social media be used as a business tool seem somewhere between clueless and incredulous. I’m wondering if people think that because social media is free, it shouldn’t be taken seriously.  Maybe that’s why it’s not respected like any other business tactic – and should be viewed as a calculated risk.

Let’s break that down and make it simple. We’ll start with calculated. Definitions for “calculate” provided by dictionary.com:  1. to determine by reasoning, common sense, or practical experience; estimate; evaluate; gauge.   2. to make suitable or fit for a purpose; adapt.

In other words, a certain amount of thought and reasoning needs to be part of any business tactic – whether you’re planning a tradeshow exhibit, customer focus groups, a training program, a sales presentation, or a Facebook Page (as highlighted in the above-mentioned blog).  Any one of those maneuvers requires a plan that is aligned with an overall strategy.

And then there’s risk. Dictionary.com gives us: exposure to the chance of . . . loss; a hazard or dangerous chance.

It’s no secret that dumping tens of thousands of dollars into a marketing blitz is no guarantee that you will get hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales . . . or any sales at all.  Whether your marketing blitz involves television ads or radio spots, glossy flyers mailed to the ends of the Earth, flying monkeys branded with your logo, or a Twitter stream posting coupons for free stuff, your campaign is still subject to risk.  Of course, the more you put into the “calculated” part of the equation (no pun intended), the more likely you are to reduce your risk.

That’s not to say that I don’t give credit to the prudent business person who must ask about ROI and question the reason why. But appearing incredulous or clueless on the subject of social media is not going to be tolerated much longer.  If one wants to protect his or her own professional image, one should at least be aware of how the consumer is using social media – and that can best be done by spending less than 30 minutes setting up an account on a few social sites and looking at them for 10 minutes each week. Even in that little amount of time it will be easy to see that businesses ARE using social media successfully and that it IS being taken seriously as a business tool, and as such, is a calculated risk.

I predict that in the very near future, when the topic of social media comes up, resisters will be expected to defend their position for not modifying their use of traditional communication methods. The tables will be turned, and they will be the ones having to respond to questions related to ROI and “Why?”

March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm Leave a comment

Three Things to Know About Keywords

Tags:  Keywords to describe digital objectsThe use of keywords has taken on considerable importance. From public appeal to SEO (search engine optimization), they can be the deciding factor in your online success. Yet, I heard mention of keywords for months and months before I even realized what they were. Then, it took pointed questions and much digging around before I found an explanation of why keywords mattered and how to use them.

The subject is actually quite deep, and I still have much to learn. However, I feel I’ve at least scratched the surface on the subject, and am qualified to provide a few easy pointers to the 101-level social media users. They are:

  1. Identify keywords that are broad yet unique
  2. Know where to put your keywords, and how to put them there
  3. Use your keywords to do your own searches when wanting to learn more or make connections

Keywords are just that: key words; words that describe and relate to your area of specialty. As simple as that sounds, I was surprised at how difficult it was to come up with my own key words. After all, “communication” and “social media” are pretty broad; and considering that my keywords are how people are going to find me on the Internet, I knew I was going to have to come up with something clever. I was relieved when I finally learned about Google’s Keyword Tool.

Identify keywords

Click on the link above, or use Google search to find the Google Keyword Tool. Then,

  • Enter one keyword or phrase per line in the box provided (for me, I entered social media on one line, then organizational communications on the next line, and followed with two or three other equally broad keyword phrases)
  • Click the check box in front of ‘Use synonyms’ to use this option
  • Click the button marked ‘Get keyword ideas’

This tool provides lots of information, but for your purposes, use the list it provides you for some ideas when choosing your own keywords. You will likely find several you hadn’t thought of before.

Where to put keywords

If you are using your website as a hub for your online presence, you’ll definitely want to make it searchable; i.e., have your keywords properly placed in the code of your website. This article, Implementing Keywords Into a Website is helpful.

Keep in mind that the keywords listed in your source code must, in fact, appear in the copy text of your website – and be used appropriately and legitimately. Search engines monitor keyword density, which is the percentage of times keywords are used within the total indexable words on a web page. Misuse or misrepresentation could result in banning by the search engine.

Use your keywords in your blog titles and headings. Your keywords should also be listed in the tags that most blogs allow you to highlight. To gain further visibility, use keywords in status updates on Facebook, Twitter and any time you contribute to your digital sites (e.g., YouTube and Flickr). In fact, Google is now transcribing and indexing audio, including the audio track on your videos.

While it’s claimed there is no “black magic” to SEO, every search engine has proprietary methods, and they’re constantly being updated and refined. In my humble opinion, maximizing the strength of keywords is a balance between a well-designed strategy and natural occurrence in your conversations and content.  So, don’t contrive your use of keywords; at the same time, don’t miss an opportunity to use them, either.

Use keywords to search

The most obvious use of keywords is to do your own searches using services such as Google, YouTube and Bing. One trick I found very useful when typing in your search is to precede your keywords with “allintitle:” to get a list of pages that include the words in the title of the page, video, etc. (ex: allintitle:landscaping Denver). Some other tips can be found in this article: 12 Quick Tips to Search Google Like An Expert

One of my favorite demonstrations of search-in-action is this Google Ad that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl.

As I mentioned, I have much to learn about keywords.  An entry in my Facebook Notes, aka The Learning Curve documents how I’ve gotten to this point. I’d also like to thank Mimi Tenace of Video-Web-Marketing for her insights, guidance and great notes!

(photo:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cambodia4kidsorg/260004685/)

March 17, 2010 at 3:52 pm 2 comments

Seven Irrefutable Characteristics of Social Media


I have been keeping a journal and a blog to document my progress since the day I set up my Facebook profile (May 2009). Although I had been on LinkedIn for several years, I didn’t get serious about using social media until last year.

Now I’m asking other business owners about their experience with and interest in using social media to enhance their various operating strategies:  communications, marketing, customer relations, etc.  There seems to be general recognition of seven irrefutable characteristics that invoke across-the-board reaction to social media, and mark the stages of acceptance.

  1. Curiosity – and the need to do what everyone else is doing.
  2. Abundance – like an all-you-can-eat buffet that’s not only free, but you can come back as often as you want and stay for as long as you like.
  3. Novelty – With new features, functions and platforms being introduced daily, the novelty never wears out.
  4. Frustration – With the overwhelming amount of information and options, with the challenges of learning how to use the tools, and with the amount of time it’s sucking from your life.
  5. Fear – You can’t afford to devote this kind of time and energy to something that’s seemingly providing no real return.  But, you can’t afford NOT to because traditional methods of mass communication are becoming even more expensive, and less effective (aka the groundswell approach-avoidance syndrome).
  6. Rationale – Social media offers powerful business tools that can save you time and money, and maybe even help you make money.  But a haphazard approach to social media won’t work any better than a haphazard approach to any business strategy. You get serious about putting together a strategy and committing to it.
  7. Realization – With the strategy in place (and once it is, you wonder why you didn’t do this sooner), you feel the weight of the earlier stages of this learning curve begin to ease.

Your curiosity is satisfied.  You’ve come to understand that there’s always going to be something new around the next bend.  You’re comfortable within the social media space, and you have a system for staying current with whatever is relevant to your needs.

The abundance will also be there.  But now, that’s a good thing.  It doesn’t have to be distracting or confusing.  It simply means you will have as many options as you could possibly want.

The novelty is refreshing.  It means that social media tools are being advanced and (hopefully) improved.  But you know now that ironically, novelty is nothing new.  It’ll be there for you whenever you need a dose of it.

Frustration levels are diminished by the sheer fact that your level of competency is increased as a function of your experience with the learning curve.  This doesn’t mean that you won’t still get frustrated along the way, but you’ll know where to go to get help you need, and you probably won’t need help as often as you used to.

The fear has turned to love.

The rationale that led you to developing a strategy will be the most important lesson learned.  As your experience with social media as a business tool evolves, you will always come back to the realization that every new step should be strategically aligned with your business objectives.

Related Reading
7 Questions to Help Businesses Get Ready for Social Media

Architecting a Social Web Marketing and PR Strategy

March 9, 2010 at 7:30 am 8 comments

A Social Media kinda’ day

Earlier this week a Facebook friend, a small business owner, updated her status with the announcement that she had joined the local Farmers’ Market and would have her Colorado Easy Mix collection available there every Saturday.  I checked out her Facebook Page (of which I’m a Fan) and saw that one of her other Fans had posted a recipe for mango coconut muffins made with Colorado Easy Mix.  I love coconut!  So, I marked my calendar to go to this Saturday’s Farmers’ Market.

It’s March, but I’m in Colorado, so it’s no surprise that the sky this morning was a beautiful crystal blue, and the forecast promised warm temperatures.  It was a “Farmers’ Market kinda’ day in Colorado” – which is exactly how I updated my Facebook status early in the morning as I anticipated my day.  Before I left the house, I tweeted to the world (well, to my 236 followers, anyway) that I was on my way to the Farmers’ Market.

Upon arriving, I accessed FourSquare from my Blackberry and “checked in” at the Homesteading Farmers’ Market.  (And because I was the first to add the location to FourSquare, I got extra points!)  The place was bustling and it smelled sooo good.  I quickly found my friend’s display, (see photo) tasted her samples and chatted a bit.  A woman helping with the Colorado Easy Mix display turned out to be someone I had met recently at a networking event, and we discovered we were both planning to attend the same event this coming week.  (I mention this because I’m a strong advocate of maintaining balance between networking through social media AND traditional socializing.)

I wandered through the market and perused the vendors and small businesses there. I nibbled cheese, chunks of bread, and homemade soups.  In fact, I bought two soup mixes from Ginger’s Gourmet. The chicken noodle soup is her grandma’s recipe and is delicious.  I’ll be having that for dinner tomorrow.  I chatted with Ginger herself who allowed me to take a picture of her display.  She admitted she doesn’t have a Facebook Page for her business yet, but suggested that I “friend” her and send this picture to her Facebook profile.

As I left the Homesteading Farmer’s Market I added my name and e-mail address to their mailing list.  I grabbed the owner’s business card and was happy to see he has a website.  I’m guessing that by this time next year, he’ll be connected to this community on social networks, too. Then, from my Blackberry, I uploaded the pictures I took of the Market to my Facebook profile and sent one out to Twitter through OpenBeak to give a shout out to my friend and owner of Colorado Easy Mix.

After visiting the Market, I came home and baked the mango coconut muffins that inspired me in the first place.  They are still warm on a plate in the kitchen . . . except for the two that I’ve already eaten!  They are so delicious.  It seems a shame not to share them.  So, I’m posting pictures of them on Colorado Easy Mix’s Facebook Page and on this blog.  It seems only right.  It started with a suggestion that came to me through social media, and so I will send it back out through social media.



See and download the full gallery on posterous

March 7, 2010 at 7:50 am Leave a comment

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