There are many methods and tools available to monitor social media, but it’s important to remember that all you are seeing is a snapshot in time. Often the view is muddied by returning visitors and multiple clicks. Are you counting the same person twice and does it matter? A still picture of a sports match is great… but what we want to know is what happened next – we need a video… we need movement.
Often the most reliable data analysis you can do is to average figures and look at how things move over time. This is an obvious strategy when looking at campaigns, but it’s a sensible approach to our general measurement. You don’t want an out-of-date picture – you want to know what is happening. You want to see trends – to predict. Knowing how many followers you have tells you nothing about their experience or how the feel about you. Seeing what they do over time tells a great deal.
Good or bad, it’s behaviour that matters.
What we are interested in is behaviour: we need to see how people engage with us, how they respond to our actions and how this behaviour changes over time.
Fortunately the data is there and the simplest of tools can help us. At the most basic level, once we have decided what it is important to measure, we need to make a benchmark. Simply put, that is where we are now. Put the data in a spreadsheet, then at regular intervals re-measure the data and add it to the sheet. Graph the data and compare it to your activity over the same period.
We are lucky that the social media arena is full of tools that do all that analysis over time for us. Google analytics, Klout, Socialbro and Hootsuite, for example, are brilliant at providing data on movement and behaviour. What you need to do is keep a record of your activity – your posts, campaigns and tweets etc.