May 3, 2009

Real social media metrics from SM2

Fresh Air Fund Mentions Labeled with Outreach Dates

Chris AbrahamWhile Gerris digital, has been doing digital PR in the form of blogger relations, social media outreach, online brand promotion, Twitter and Facebook community management, and even reporting, we’ve tended to spend our resources more on operations than on metrics.

Once we got our hands on the social media metrics service SM2, by Techrigy, and started playing around, we kicked ourselves! Not only are metrics an awesome way of proving efficacy to our clients but they’re also amazing business development secret weapons, allowing us to create real-world scenarios that aid in our wooing of clients, both in casual correspondence as well as in proper proposals.

I would like to give you a quick run through some of the charts we have been creating for ourselves and our clients. The Fresh Air Fund has been nice enough to allow us to use their charts and metrics as examples of the kind of interesting and useful metrics we are able to collect and monitor.

The great thing about SM2 — aside to being one of the most affordable solutions available today — is that Techrigy’s data servers have been collecting everything — all social media conversations — since late 2007. This alone allows us to time-shift our reports.

Gone are the days when one needed to get a pre-campaign snapshot because that snapshot, and the entire year before we start our campaign, is available to us. It’s a snap to show how dead (or negative, or lame) social media online chatter was before we came on board and rocked their world.

Well, long story short, we can do a lot of cool stuff. Let me show you with pretty pictures. Below is a chart showing online mentions of the Fresh Air Fund from before our contract began through our online engagements and blogger outreaches.

The chart is cluttered because we have done quite a few blogger outreaches since our contract began, which are conveniently labeled to the right of the chart:

Fresh Air Fund Mentions Labeled with Outreach Dates

Below you will see a comparison of conversation online about the Fresh Air Fund, comparing, in blue, the organic online conversation occurring while Abraham Harrison has been retained by the Fresh Air Fund with the conversation that occurred in the same time the previous year, in red.  It is an amazing illustration of efficacy:

Comparison of Conversation from Same Time During Separate Years

One of the great things that SM2 can to is use contextual information associated with each mention, each site, and each conversation and sort of break it down into lots of cool descriptors.

Below, you will see that the online conversation — all of it, not only what we at Gerris digital encouraged — was broken down into the sort of platforms said conversation occurred. While not all the conversations are because of us, many are. Because we’re focused on blogger outreach, there are many blog posts. Also, we’re focusing heavily on Twitter, a microblogging platform, so there are quite a few combined mentioned there, too:


OK, let’s see what other cool charts that this SM2 newbie can share with you. As I said, SM2 can make a lot of assumptions based on a lot of behind-the-scenes information about each social media outlet.

It understands names, and attributes a “woman” to Sara, in terms of gender, and a “man” to Dan.  As a result, it can make an assumption about the gender of the gender breakdown of the conversation surrounding a client.

For example, here’s the gender breakdown of Fresh Air Fund mentions:

Gender Distrobution Chart from SM2

Notice, please, that I might assume that more women blog and Twitter about the Fresh Air Fund than men — and that might still be the case because you really must notice that unless SM2 is sure, it doesn’t make too much of an assumption — 1,431 of the results are defined as “Unknown.”

Age is also something that SM2 takes a stab at, and we come up with “Fresh Air Fund Bloggers” skewing 25-34; however, 2,263 of the mentions are also “Unknown,” so these results, though interesting, may not fully represent the mentions as the Internet is still a pretty protected and anonymous environment:

Breakdown of Social Media Mentions by Age

The holy grail of online intelligence and metrics — open source intelligence — is being able to take a pulse on the current conversational tone — automagically!  Well, I was told by the gang over at Techrigy that they did a lot of their shopping in Northern Virginia, in the world of spycraft and ESCHELON, so they have been able to discern the tone of the conversation pretty well.

The tool does offer pretty effective manual tools for work flow to allow online analysts to be able to add real-world, human, POS/NEUT/NEG context on mentions; however, I think “automatic mode” does a gorgeous job, especially since it paints Fresh Air Fund pretty accurately from what I have been able to experience in “in the field.”

Next, we have a pretty good chart that explains, visually, how the conversation — the quality of the influencers — maps across all the online mentions.  SM2 uses an assortment of ratings, all mashed together, to create their 0-10 rating; however, if I just boil it down into Page Rank, it is easier to understand. Or, into A, B, C, D-Z-list mentions.

Since my colleagues and I at Gerris digital pride ourselves on our ability to pitch and receive earned media coverage from both A-list bloggers as well as deep, long-tail D-Z-list bloggers, this breakdown is very consistent with our method model:

Popularity of Social Media Mentions

Finally, I have some left-over slides, and I’ll post them here. We’re not doing intelligence or monitoring for the Fresh Air Fund (and because they’re a beloved brand), but I am assuming that POS/NEG as well as monitoring “emotional words” are very important things when you’re keeping an eye out for trending attacks or hot spots or early-alert brand attacks or assassinations — if you think about the NSA and their constant sifting for terrorist keywords, you’ll get what I mean.

That being the case, I believe these can be very useful, so check them out:

Keyword-Based Emotional Trend Tracking
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Chris Abraham is a partner in Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

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