Online Tools of the Trade When Measuring Impact

In a previous post, I discusses Alan Rosenblatt’s recommendations the basic elements  to accurately measure the impact of your social media campaign as well as the major rules to follow when engaging with others via social media tools, particular Twitter. As social media is paramount for advocacy campaigns to grow and become successful, these two articles shed light on the best practices for organizations to reach their ROI. This post recaps those main points while incorporating what I’ve experiences when working with online metrics tools.

1. Audience Size: This is probably the most obvious of the ways to see how far your advocacy program’s reach is. By seeing how many people have began to follow your Twitter handle, how many people “liked” your campaign’s Facebook page, and even how many people have joined your website’s email database, you can get a sense of whether or not you are reaching your campaign’s online potential.

One of the best tools I used to gauge the strength of audience size would be Klout. When I used Stop8.org’s campaign as an example, Klout provided metrics on how strong Stop8.org’s reach was and where it needed to grow. It also provided a great data visualizer whereby one could track the growth of the campaign day by day.

2. Hashtags: Hashtags — for those who don’t know — are a way for Twitter users to create searches amongst the cacophany of conversations happening in the Twitter sphere. When someone posts their tweet, they add a “#” and term. For instance, “#equality” is what many Twitter users use as a hashtag when talking about the gay marriage debate. Then, when you are in Twitter you can click on the “#equality” and Twitter will then pull up all the Tweets that have the same hashtag. This is an excellent way to see if others are picking up on your campaign.

A fantastic tool to monitor hashtags is SocialMention. Again, when using Stop8.org, the tool was able to provide the most used hashtags by those who follow the same topics, such as #GLBT, #DOMA, and #equality. By adding these hashtags, Stop8.org can how integrate its tweets within the online community that follows campaigns similar to its own.

3. Impressions: You can use tools like Backtype.com to see how many times someone has tweeted your campaign’s website’s URL. This is huge as it lets you know whether or not you are promoting your site appropriately. One may also want to consult Google Analytics as well (if you are unfamiliar with this, definitely check it out!).

Bit.ly is another excellent tool for tracking the number of times one’s URL or links have been shared. By shortening one’s links and adding a “+” to it, Bit.ly lets you track where a link has been shared and by how many. Since Bit.ly creates smaller, more easily used URLs, this functionality is great for Twitter’s 140 character limit.

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About digipolitics

Just your average Johns Hopkins University grad student learning how to leverage the online arena to engage potential advocates for issue advocacy campaigns.
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