When’s the last time you left your BlackBerry, computer or IPod phone at home? NEVER. Are you kidding me? Leave my devices behind? According to a study by The International Center for Media and The Public Agenda and University of Maryland, College Park "most college students are not just unwilling, but functionally unable to be without their media links to the world". Digital media continues to consume us all. Texting, instant messaging, and social media are here to stay. Universities continue to struggle with social media on several fronts. How do we measure conversation? How do we measure the ROI of our social media efforts? Without measurements in place universities are unable to make effective decisions about social media marketing investments.
4 benefits of Social Media Monitoring:
1. Traffic- According to Nielsen, Facebook is the most popular network with over 250 million users. Does this mean all your prospects and students are engaging 100% on Facebook? Maybe. Maybe not. They could also be engaging and sharing conversations in MySpace, Digg, Delicious, Bebo, Twitter, Reddit, or Linkedin? Which links should you use in your email messaging? There is no right answer. Use the social sharing links that resonate most with your audience and align best with your content.
2. Blogs and Tweets- Track how often your brand is getting mentioned by other influential people over a given time frame. How much buzz is your brand getting on Twitter and in the blogosphere over what time period? What key words are continually used when your audience blogs? Monitor top tweets for your brand and your competition. When you initiate a new marketing campaign or social effort are you seeing the corresponding uptick in social media buzz that you had hoped for? What types of buzz are competing universities generating?
3. Social Sharing- Understand the potential increase in reach through social sharing. The ability to extend your email message reach to hundreds of recipients per individual share activity can be understood through analytical reports; reports that compare and contrast over a specific time period your social reach. What generated the buzz? What motivates your prospects to share email messages within their social networks? Variables that impact social sharing include: link location, design (text links versus the networks' official icons), content relevant to what motivates your prospects/students, and demographic profiling to ensure you are reaching the right audience.
4.Social Influencers- Who are your "cheerleaders" that continually share articles, videos, and links to people in their network? These are your social influencers. With whom do they share them? Track how often your brand is getting mentioned by influential people over a given time frame.
Social media monitoring will give your university the tools to help make effective decisions about social media marketing investments. Measure what matters. Don’t throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.
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