Real-time Analytics for Social Media Marketing

Real-time Analytics for Social Media Marketing

To fully benefit from the potential lift of social marketing, or social amplification of your digital marketing you need to understand and invest some time in real-time analytics. Google Analytics has a real-time section that is very helpful, but sometimes the data is overwhelming. I’ve reviewed elsewhere, but I continue to pay them monthly to get access to all of my real-time data in one place. I can see multiple sites that I manage. When I click on a single property I get the trends and the top-5 pieces of content and the top-5 referrers.

With as quickly as a tweet or Facebook post fades in importance, it is critical that you see what’s working and what’s not in real-time. When a post really takes off, I can do a few extra things to boost the potential escape velocity. The hope is that through this amplification of the social signal, I could grow the momentum and achieve a break out, or viral, post. It’s happened only a few times since I’ve been blogging, but when it does, it’s amazing and thrilling. And if you are watching in real-time as the huge surge happens you can do your part in boosting the excitement. But, once a post has taken off there is very little you as an individual can do, even with thousands of twitter followers. The viral hit happens on the back of some other big source that starts the cascade of influential boosts.

So during the day, when I have that down moment, when I’m switching projects or tasks, for example, I check my dashboard and see if anything interesting is happening. Once you begin to get in the habit of checking this real-time dashboard you become more familiar with the ebb and flow of your different content streams.

For example I know that one of my blogs gets a huge lift from syndication on the Huffington Post. And I’m hopeful that if some post really takes off, I might make it to the “featured blogs” area of the front page. It hasn’t ever happened, and they don’t tell us contributors how those posts are selected, but I’m still hoping and doing my best to promote the Huffington Post versions of my content along with my self-promotion.

And one of the things you begin to see, is how quickly a tweet activates your followers and then dies. In my estimation, the average life of a tweet is about 1 – 2 minutes. After that, you might see some traffic throughout the day, but that’s the few stragglers that find you from a #hashtag search or through some twitter dashboard like Hootesuite or Tweetdeck. And the Facebook post, with the new drooping reach imposed by Facebooks profit initiatives is active for about 5 minutes. After that I rarely see any traffic other than the people who visit Facebook through my own links.

So if you miss the tiny rise attributable to your followers, you might miss an opportunity to spot a winner. And when you have a winner (meaning the post takes on a life of its own, sharing and retweeting is happening) you can do some extra socializing to build that lift.

Real-time social media is about watching and responding to how your content is behaving within your audience. You can only push things into the stream, you cannot determine who will share, who will retweet, or who will mute your posts. But not learning about your real-time trends and follower’s behavior you are missing a huge opportunity to carry on the conversation with your audience. For example if a tweet get’s a few retweets or better yet responses, you should be around within 30 minutes or less to respond. A “thanks for the RT” goes a long way towards building rapport with readers, other marketer, and new followers alike.

Social is about being social. If you hammer your feeds with “please share” or “please retweet” you are not really going to get the results you’re looking for. But if you notice a specific piece of your content is taking off right now, as in Friday morning (when I’m writing this post) you can have some influence over the conversation around the content, and potential help that content reach a wider audience.

Get your real-time metrics under control and do some real-time responding and let me know what happens. What’s your favorite real-time tool or technique for increasing your reach and influence?

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
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