The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

In God we trust, all others bring data

You might have been able to avoid them and get away with it but eventually you will have to back your social media efforts with hard numbers. Sooner or later someone is going to ask for them. So beat them to it!

Start small and establish a routine

If you are managing social media for your organization it is pretty likely you have an overall idea of the health of your accounts.  But if you start looking at data over a period of time, you will be able to see trends, which are hard to see on a day-to-day basis, as well as anticipate reactions to different type of posts.

Personally, I had an aha! moment when I analyzed the engagement on our Facebook page and realized that what our audience liked best were photos and then videos. This simple insight made me rethink how I present content. It’s ok to keep distributing news about our organization but not ok to just share a link and some text. Instead, I have been trying to use images and videos more whenever possible. I would have never made this realization without taking a second look at our Facebook insights.

Set up a simple excel file and keep track of your followers, likes, reactions to posts (likes, RT, replies, mentions). Ideally, you will do this weekly but at least monthly.

Share! If you don’t communicate it, you didn’t do it

I had a boss that would always say: “If you don’t communicate, you didn’t do it.” Find a recurring event in your organization (team meeting, weekly reports, weekly emails) that you can use to share your metrics. I share our statistics on a weekly basis during our crew meeting and try to highlight posts that worked the best, among other things.  At my previous job at LinkedIn, I would compile statistics related to user acquisition and report to the executive team in a weekly email that went out every Thursday at 4pm. Share insights and your interpretation of the data that can be easily reused by others (graphs are key!) A sophisticated excel file that is hard to understand will go unnoticed. KEEP IT SIMPLE. You don’t have to share everything you collect. Rather, select some key metrics to share that make sense in the context of your organization.

Sharing this kind of information will do two important things: force you to stay on top of your statistics and educate others in your organization about what you are doing.

Find the right tools

There are more tools out there that you can use. A lot of them are free or available for a small monthly fee.

Decide first what is it you want to track. This will make it easier to find the right tools. You might also decide on some new indicators once your start using these tools but set your goals before diving into the ocean of tools available. For example, if your organization has just built a new library, it might be interesting to keep track of check-ins (provided you have a Facebook place or Foursquare location) and mentions. Or if your admissions office seeks to enroll more graduate students, keep track of your Facebook likes user demographics. You can always just focus on what are known as “vanity metrics” such as followers, RT, replies, mentions, and likes.

Facebook Insights: Need I say more? Facebook might know everything about us but at least we can benefit and get great stats from their Facebook page insights. Get into the weekly/monthly habit of downloading them. I have analyzed 6-12 months at a time and it ain’t fun. You will get really good with Excel.

AllFacebook stats: These guys are based in Germany and will send you a weekly email with your like growth on Facebook. I have not used their full service but really like getting their weekly emails.

Twittercounter: As we all know, trying to get historical information about your Twitter account can be hard. This little tool makes it a lot easier plus you can track your competitors’ account as well. You have the options to download the data to excel and create some graphs. However, to obtain 3 month and 6 months figures you need to pay a $15 monthly fee.

Google Analytics I have said it before and I will say it again: Get access to your analytics to see if your social media efforts are resulting in more traffic.  Become friends with your webmaster and take the opportunity to learn about his/her goals for the year. You might be able to help.

YouTube Analytics: All Google products will provide you with great insights. My favorite is the “audience retention” metric which shows your video’s ability to retain audience through its playback. It’s a great way to learn what length works best or at what moments retention fell. Share these periodically with the person in your team who creates videos.

LinkedIn Company page Analytics: While I don’t analyze these, I do keep track of followers and share with my team any new followers that could be of interest to them. Unfortunately, no analytics are offered for groups. More of a reason to get a hold of your Google Analytics and see what kind of referal traffic comes from LinkedIn for example. Staci Baird, social media manager at Stanford’s School of Engineering made us aware of this tool during the Fall 2011 Study Tour. Timely will schedule your tweets to the time your audience appears to be more engaged—the tool will require some time first to determine this. In addition, it keeps track of the performance of your tweets. You also get a nice weekly report in your inbox.

Crowdbooster: Another one of my favorites, which I use to get quick weekly stats. It will also give you some recommendations about when to tweet or post on Facebook. In fact, I have found this feature very useful for Facebook as it allows you to pick the thumbnail and exact link description, which sometimes is hard to control on Facebook.

Social Media Presence Reports: We are already doing some of the hard work for you. You can cheat your way through 2011 and just use these to show traction and progress. Download the appendices with the excel files if you want to refine them further. And if you notice something odd, let us know.

Radian6 reports: If you have not taken a look at these, download your report now from this website. These reports will provide you with graphs and complete list of mentions, share of voice, and more.

Other fun tools

Set your priorities and start today

The most important principle to keep in mind is to first decide on what you are going to track, set up a simple excel with several worksheets to store statistics over time, and force yourself to share this information with your team on a regular basis. Establishing simple milestones and deadlines, will not only force you to keep an eye on your accounts but will also help you be more effective and efficient, and more importantly educate others about your efforts and achievements.

More information

Mashable had nice post “5 Essential Spreadsheets for Social Media Analytics” on available tools that offer spreadsheets, which you can then manipulate to your own needs.

Social Media Examiner’s post listing 13 tools to help you manage social media

San Francisco’s Social Media Club held a very interesting panel discussion on Social Media Analytics, which inspired this blog post. Thanks #smcsfo!

Social Media Program News

NewsWe have been busy putting together plans for the second year of our program and have a few announcements to make.

Top news of the week posts

Learn what’s happening in social media, new tools, and practical tips from the best sources out there. Look out for our weekly posts or subscribe to receive our blog posts via email.

Upcoming events

SAVE THE DATE! May 16, 2012 – 2nd Social Media Program Meeting in Zurich.

Nearly a year after we first met in Bern, we will hold our second program wide meeting at facilities generously offered by Swiss International Air Lines in Kloten, by the Zurich Airport. We will share the overall social media status of Swiss Academia in social media, keynote presentations from social media leaders from Swiss International Air Lines and others (to be confirmed!), and workshops. Per your feedback received in 2011, we will hold parallel sessions according to knowledge levels and interest, and case studies from Swiss institutions.


Radian6 reports for January 2012 have been posted. Please visit your landing page to find out who has been talking about your institution.

Presence reports. We have been working compiling the status of social media for our participants for Q4 2011, and we are near completion. Expect notification in the next 7 days! Read more about these reports.

Spring 2012 Study Tour

We are less than 30 days away from our Spring Study Tour. We are excited to receive a diverse group of participants. As in our Fall 2011 Study Tour, expect a lot of news, stories, and reflections from the group during their stay in the Bay Area. You can follow the group on Twitter using the hashtag #springstudytour or by following the study tour Twitter list.  In addition, expect daily blog posts, photos, and more.


February 29, 2012 – LinkedIn 101 via webex
I will lead this webinar and it will be recorded for future reference. We need your feedback regarding the time of this webinar. Have a say below. Please respond by Tuesday, February 21, 2012.

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The future of Social Networks and other Top News

This week we share top news and a short write-up on SFAMA‘s event with Charlene Li that took place at ING Direct Cafe in SF.

News that caught our eye this week:

And the top headline this week:

  • HSG Embraces Social Media. We are so proud of HSG for such professional and successful launch. Can’t wait to see HSG make strides in social media!
In addition, we attended the SFAMA event with Charlene Li on the Future of Social Networks. Throughout this program, we have referenced Charlene’s work and thoughts related to the importance of social media for organizations. If you have not yet read her books Groundswell and Open Leadership, make sure to put them on your reading list.
Charlene first delved into the past to take stock of the speed of the developments that have taken place in the social media sphere. Some milestones to remember:
  • January 2007: The iPhone debuted
  • May 2007: Facebook opened its platform to outside developers
  • January 2010, Android phones appear in the market
  • April 2010: the Ipad is released
Now to the Future of Social Networks. Three main points:
  1. Social media wil be like air: It’s everywhere and hard to avoid. It will permeate all of our activities.
  2. People want to be known: Consumers will expect a better consumer experience when they shop. After all information from social media accounts provide merchants with the interests and likes. One interesting factoid caught my attention: check-ins constitute 40% of social media conversations for big retailers such as Safeway (grocery store)
  3. Connected employees will create a culture of sharing: Employees speak about your brand/organization so empower then via training but also provide them with social media guidelines.
  4. It’s time to get serious about social media: All of the above points to the importance of having a coherent plan, a triage, and response plan for social media. A quick show of hands at the event, still showed that very of us present have all of these in place.
I have been lucky to hear Charlene present three times so a lot of what she mentioned resonated with me and reminded me of the recommendations she made in her previous publications. After listening to her, my main conclusion is that there are some fundamentals that we all need to tackle: plan, plan, and prioritize!
NOTE: Of course, I wanted to find what’s HOT  so I asked her about Pinterest and what makes it so special. “It shows a very emotional side of people that other networks can’t really show.” The real question is how can brands and organizations leverage it. I have seen some great examples (Oberlin College) that have inspired me to create an account for swissnex San Francisco. Check us out. on:
Find below Charlene’s deck for more details:

Top Social Media Stories of the Week – Feb 2, 2012

The big story of the week was without any doubt the Facebook IPO. In addition to that story and other worthy items below, find a useful presentation including recent social media statistics that you can incorporate into your own. Happy reading!