ROI Update: Report Templates in Hootsuite

If you’re a Hootsuite user, you may have noticed a new built-in tool provided by our friend, the Owl. It’s called Report Builder. This new tool makes generating data reports a little more streamlined and a little easier. But as I discussed in my series of posts about ROI, numbers and graphs aren’t the only thing you need to provide insight into your social media presences. YOU and your human brain are still the most important element.

Here’s how it works: log in to Hootsuite, and in the left hand column you’ll see an icon that looks like a bar graph. Click it, and you’ll have access to the Report Builder. Click “create new report” to get started.

You can choose a built-in reporting template, or create one from scratch. The drag and drop interface lets you customize to your heart’s content, and you can add in the different elements you want to highlight from Twitter, Facebook, and Google Analytics. Some of the more customized options require you to spend “points” – the Owl’s currency. Pro Users automatically get 50 points per month, and you can add more points on an a la carte basis as needed. Don’t worry, free users: there are still plenty of tools for you to implement as well. You can also opt to have your report sent to your inbox on a regular basis, should you want reports delivered to you or your team.

In all, this service makes things a little easier to get under the hood and pull together data from disparate sources. But it doesn’t do away with the human element – actually taking a look at the data, analyzing it, and making strategic choices based on the results. Yes, the Owl is pretty cool, but he can’t replace you…yet.

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Sharing Your Success Part Five: Bringing it All Together

This is the fifth in a series of posts exploring some of the ways you can gather data about your social media presences, make sense of it all, and report your findings. Read all five parts; the most recent post is at the top of the page.

You’ve done the gathering, analyzing, crunching, and assessing – now you need to create your report and summary. You’ll want it to be clear, concise, and easy to digest. Make sure you know who it is intended for, and what level they are within your organization. Managers, directors, trustees, volunteer leaders? What types of information do those different groups need, and what questions will they have?

The key is to break down your report into categories. You can plug and unplug each category for the audience you are addressing. I’ve created a template to guide your efforts. Download it here (45K PDF). Copy and paste the general outline of the template into a new document and fill it in with your own organization’s information.

Here are a few tips for working with the template:

  • Start with an executive summary. This will give people like trustees and VPs a high level overview of your progress, goals, and the status of your efforts.
  • Assess your audiences and stakeholders. This is critical for making strategic decisions about engaging those groups. The more you know about your audience(s), the better. Show off what you know.
  • Describe your efforts in all of your social media tools separately (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and so on). Show qualitative and quantitative data. Draw conclusions and make assessments.
  • Highlight new tools and trends. Describe technologies that are new to the social media space that might solve a problem or fill a need within your organization. Explain why these tools are on your radar screen, why they may be effective, and if/when you plan on using them in an official capacity.
  • Restate your communications strategy. It is important to remind your reader that everything you do is governed by big picture, long term thinking.
  • Briefly summarize your report and write a conclusion.

These tips will help you provide the information your reader needs without bogging them down in unnecessary detail. Over time, your reports will help you assess long term growth and change in your social media efforts.

Sharing Your Success Part Four: Blog ROI

This is the fourth in a series of posts exploring some of the ways you can gather data about your social media presences, make sense of it all, and report your findings. Read parts one through three here; the most recent post is at the top of the page.

So you have a blog…does anyone care? Is anyone reading it? Let’s find out.

Many blogging platforms have built-in metrics dashboards. These will give you basic stats, like how many hits the blog received (lifetime, in the past month, or even a particular day) and the most viewed posts. All of this is valuable quantitative information that will give you a few pieces of the metrics puzzle.

Having numbers is great, but counting the number of times that someone landed on your site doesn’t tell you much about your audience. How did they get there? Did they like what they were reading? How did they interact with the content?

Gathering data from multiple sources will give you a clearer picture of the impact of your blog.

Don’t underestimate the comments. Just like Twitter and Facebook, the things people say about your content can be incredibly valuable. Copy, paste, and save comments and feedback. Take a critical look at the comments and use them to guide your future efforts. What did people like? Not like? What generated the most interaction?

How long did they stay? By using a tool like Google Analytics, you can find out the amount of time people spent on your site. This is a particularly useful stat for blogs. If on average, users spent more than 20-30 seconds on a blog page, they were probably reading. Remember the lurkers: readers who don’t leave comments or otherwise interact. This is a good way to get information about those enigmatic readers.

How did they get there? You can learn a lot about your traffic by taking a look at your other social presences. I call this “data layering.” For example, look at the shortened urls you used to promote blog posts via Twitter. How many people followed those links? How many people RTed those links? And how many people mentioned that post in a tweet?

Search Terms: What search terms brought people to your blog? What did they search for once they reached your site? Frequent search terms can provide valuable insight into your audience’s needs and interests. Make note of them.

Next time…bringing it all together: tips on generating reports.

Sharing Your Success Part Three: Twitter ROI

This is the third in a series of posts exploring some of the ways you can gather data about your social media presences, make sense of it all, and report your findings. Read all three parts here; the most recent post is at the top of the page.

Measuring your Twitter presence turns out to be a little more complicated than Facebook. Instead of just one, there are several tools you can to use to get a good picture of your progress to date. Below, I list some of the tools I use (and each name is a link to that service), and summarize the service(s) they provide.

The Tools

Hootsuite: Dashboard for managing your Twitter presence. It can also be used to manage other social media tools (LinkedIn, Facebook) but I find that it is most effective for Twitter. Hootsuite includes a built-in URL shortener. Provides user stats such as language and home country. Lists your most popular tweets, and greatest advocates (users who retweet your content). Hootsuite, a previously free service, recently converted to a paid model. I find their new service and pricing menu a little overly complicated, but it still provides the useful services I’ve come to value.

Twitter Counter: Graphs the number of new followers of your Twitter account over time (see example below). Creating a graph for a time period of up to three months is free; six months or more requires you to send a tweet from your account lauding their services.

HashTweeps: Lists the number of times a particular hashtag was tweeted, the user(s) who tweeted it, and how many times that person tweeted it. Use this for measuring your institution’s hashtags.

WhoUnfollowedMe: Notifies you when users stop following you, which may help you better assess how your tweets are coming across to your followers.

Don’t forget to capture tweets that you want to highlight in your report – good conversation threads, positive feedback, etc. Copy and paste the text and the user who said it into a spreadsheet or database for future use. This is a similar tactic to the one I described in my earlier post about Facebook.

Analysis

Much of what I mentioned last week about analyzing your findings in Facebook applies to Twitter as well. Here’s what I said with a few updates for this week (changes in italics):

Take a good hard look at what the numbers and the comments are telling you. Ask questions such as:

  • Which tweets were more popular? Which ones weren’t as popular? Why do you think that is?
  • Which days of the week and time of day had more response than others?
  • Who retweets you most frequently?
  • What kinds of tweets cause people to unfollow you?

Asking good questions about what you’ve found will help you draw smart conclusions on your findings. Use those findings to set new goals. What new things will you try? What will you continue to do the same? What will you abandon entirely?

Next time, we’ll talk blogs – how many people read yours, and are they really reading it?

Note: Thanks to Andy Shaindlin of Alumni Futures for first telling me about HashTweeps.

Sharing Your Success Part Two: Facebook ROI

This is the second in a series of posts exploring some of the ways you can gather data about your social media presences, make sense of it all, and report your findings. Read part one here.

Facebook: One Tool to Rule them All

In this post, I’ll highlight the built-in metrics tool for Facebook, as well as some other hints to putting together a report from your findings. Social tools like Twitter require you to make use of several third party services to get information about your audience and growth. But Facebook has one, built-in tool that can handle most of your data-driven needs.

Quantitative Measurement

In the left-hand column of your Facebook Page, you’ll find a section called “Insights” and a small link that says “see all.” Click it, and you’ll be presented with a couple of graphs representing the status of your Page. While these graphs are all well and good for a quick snapshot, the most important part lies under the “Export” button in the top right corner. Click that and you’ll see this:

Select your time frame and click download. What you get (either in CSV or XLS) is all the info you’ve ever wanted about your Page, dumped out into a big ugly spreadsheet. BUT all of that ugly is soon to become your best friend. That spreadsheet contains the raw data to create custom graphs and charts depicting the exact parameters you want to highlight and display. Using the charts tool within your spreadsheet software of choice, you can graph the number of “Likes” you’ve garnered over time, the increase in Fans, anything you like.

Back on the Insights page, there are two more links in the left hand column: one called “Users” and one called “Interactions.” The Users section will provide valuable info about your audience members – including age and gender. Interactions will give you data about how your audience interacted with individual wall posts.

The Users section provides valuable information about your audiences you can’t find elsewhere due to the fact that Facebook can pull internal data from individual user’s profiles.

Qualitative Measurement

Don’t forget to capture positive comments and interactions on your wall. Use whatever system you’d like: take a screen shot, copy and past the text into a spreadsheet or database, whatever works for you. Just remember to keep all of them in one place so you can pull them up later and share them.

Analysis

Gathering all of this information together in one place doesn’t mean your task is complete. Now the real work begins: the analysis. Take a good hard look at what the numbers and the comments are telling you. Ask questions such as:

  • Which posts were more popular? Which ones weren’t as popular? Why do you think that is?
  • Which days of the week had more response than others?
  • Who are your biggest fans?
  • Who is re-posting your content to their Page?

Asking good questions about what you’ve found will help you draw smart conclusions on your findings. Use those findings to set new goals. What new things will you try? What will you continue to do the same? What will you abandon entirely?

Stay tuned for next week’s ROI installment: Twitter.