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5 stats you should track to be successful on social media

Measuring the impact of a social media engagement program can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are just getting started. With a seemingly endless supply of social data at your fingertips, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Don’t stress! Stop, and take a deep breath. Social media measurement is more manageable than you think.
The key to success is to start small and establish a few important bases before you try to tackle complex social media ROI models. Whether you are brand new to social media or can tweet in your sleep, we have compiled a few of our favorite metrics below to help you kick off (or extend) your measurement efforts. What makes these metrics so special? Three things: they are specific, they are easy to measure over time, and they are actionable. So take a look, and get going!

1. Reach (Facebook): How many people saw your post


No calculations necessary. See the number of impressions on your Facebook posts by simply looking at the number that appears under each post on your page. Additionally, if you have more than 30 fans on your Facebook page, you can click into your Facebook Insights and monitor the “Reach” for each of your posts. (“Reach” is the same thing as “# of people saw your post”.) For even more insight, sort them to see which of your posts gained the most views.
Action: Look for a theme in your most viewed posts and capitalize on this theme in future posts.

2. Engagement (Facebook): People talking about this (PTAT) / Likes


Find these stats under your Facebook page name. Dividing your PTAT value by the total number of Likes on your page will give you a sense of how engaged your base of fans is. This percentage, which typically ranges between 2-5%, gives you an up-to-the-minute view into just how many of your fans are interacting with your page through any variety of interactions, including likes, comments, shares, mentions, and tags. While it’s not uncommon to have a 2% engagement value, shoot for 5% for a truly stellar Facebook business page.
Action: Pay attention to any peaks or troughs in your engagement metric. Re-engage fans by sharing photos, asking a question, or celebrating your fans’ milestones.

3. Time (all networks): Hearsay Social Metrics

Do you ever wonder when you should post content? Should you post at 9am or 9pm? On Tuesdays or Thursdays? The answer is unique to every business, every page, and every social network. With Hearsay Social’s “Engagement” data, found under “Metrics,” you can determine which day of the week is the best to share content and even what time of day will earn you the most engagement.
Action: Craft your engagement strategy around these metrics. Schedule content for popular times and make sure to respond to your engaged fans.

4. Shareability (Twitter): Search “@yourtwitterhandle” at search.twitter.com


Creating content for your social media audience is a good thing. Inspiring your fans and followers so much that they decide to share your content with their audiences is a great thing. To measure this in Twitter, simply search your handle (or use Hearsay Social Metrics) to see exactly how many mentions and retweets you’re receiving. Are people retweeting what you have to say?
Action: If you get lucky, you might just find your brand enthusiasts through your retweet search. Think about engaging them directly by thanking for them for their support in a tweet.

5. Relevance (Twitter): Total You Are Following on Twitter / Total Twitter Followers


If you’ve ever wondered whether your tweets are resonating with your follower base on Twitter, wonder no more. Divide the number of accounts you’re following on Twitter by your total number of Twitter followers to calculate a relevance percentage. If you get a value around 30% or lower, you are doing very well. As a thought leader, you’re like accumulating a healthy following by sharing great content. Having a relevance value around 50% or higher, on the other hand, might not necessarily be a bad thing. Perhaps your strategy is to simply follow back anybody that follows you, a policy that many Twitter users have adopted.
Action: Follow people who you would like to follow you back. Consider tweeting at prospective followers to invite them to follow you.
That’s it! With five easy steps, you can start tangibly measuring your social media efforts to track exactly how your posts and conversations resonate with fans and followers. Each of these metrics lays the groundwork for you to analyze the business impact and ROI of your social sales and marketing efforts.

What Facebook Graph Search means for marketers

Facebook earlier today announced a new tool called Graph Search, which greatly expands the power of search on the social network.

Graph Search is essentially a search engine dedicated entirely to Facebook’s Social Graph. In the works for several years, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Graph Search will be a powerful new way for users to search for people, places, and things within their personal network.
Want to know which of your friends live in San Francisco? Simply search “friends who live in San Francisco.” Looking for music recommendations? Search “music my friends like.” See more examples of how one might use the new feature on the page Introducing Graph Search.

Facebook Graph Search for sales and marketing

For brands and marketers hoping to make an impact on social media, today’s announcement is especially significant. As Graph Search rolls out in the coming weeks and months, more and more of your customers will increasingly rely on Facebook for their purchasing decisions.
As an example, somebody looking for a dining recommendation could search “restaurants in London my friends have been to.” In this case, it would be crucial for your business to  have a presence on Facebook with complete location information filled out. Similarly, you can imagine users searching for “insurance agents my friends trust.” Your business page should be the first result!
Here are a few tips to optimize your Facebook Page for Graph Search:
1. Update your business page
It has always been important to keep your business page up-to-date, but with Graph Search it will be even more crucial. Under your Page settings, select the right category and sub-categories for your business, pick a vanity URL, make your address is correct, and update other information for your business. Indexing piles and piles of business pages across the site, Facebook will be using this key information to accurately surface your page in Graph Search results.
2. Connect with your customers
Boosting the number of likes on your business page is good for more than bragging rights–with Graph Search, likes are your entry point into search results. Specifically, the more connections you have, the more likely your page is to show up in a search. Nothing is more valuable than a recommendation from a friend, and now what may have been passive connections on Facebook have become searchable recommendations. Make sure to connect with your most loyal customers so that their friends and family have a good chance of finding you.
3. Keep sharing great content
As always, consistently posting photos, links, and other valuable content to your business page will remain a cornerstone to your Facebook sales and marketing strategy. Before, it was mostly important for keeping up your EdgeRank, the algorithm that determines how and when your posts show up in customers’ News Feeds. Going forward, we expect EdgeRank will also play a role in ranking you in search results via Graph Search.
Facebook says Graph Search “is available now in a very limited beta program for English (US) audiences,” but we expect it will slowly roll out to more users over the coming months. In the meantime, stay tuned to the Hearsay Social blog for more information on Graph Search and other Facebook tools.

The future of social media

Half a year after the Facebook IPO, one of the biggest in Internet history, CNBC checked in with Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih for her insights on the social network, the viability of its ad network, and the opportunities for business. In short, Clara believes that first-movers, those early adopter organizations that reach out to their customers on social media today, will reap the most rewards.
Watch the “Squawk on the Street” interview in full below:

What every CMO can learn from the insurance industry's innovations on social media

Ed. note: The following post, penned by Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih, originally appeared in Advertising Age.

Insurance agents are the most natural “social networkers” on the planet. They were educating clients, investing in long-term relationships and growing their businesses through word-of-mouth referrals long before social, mobile and digital technologies existed.
It therefore came as no surprise when the International Data Corp. over the summer named the insurance industry overall as an early adopter of social media. Although insurance, along with financial services and other regulated industries, is cautious by design and at times slow-moving, insurance agents have blazed the trail on social media, and their carriers have kept up. Indeed, the Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter initiatives by Fortune 500 insurance organizations such as State Farm, Allstate, Thrivent Financial and Northwestern Mutual are among the most forward-thinking and most admired across all of social media, and worth examining by any serious CMO.

It’s all about relationships

During the first wave of social business, every company rushed to get as many “likes” as possible on its Facebook page, but these have failed to convert into lasting value and tangible return on investment. Today, many realize that they need to focus on results achieved through true engagement. Just as it was long before the digital age, developing longstanding relationships is key to building a successful business in the social era.
What does this mean for CMOs?
First, invest in highly unique and relevant content, because this is what builds brand equity, differentiation and loyalty. The specific content will vary by industry and the products or services you are selling. Insurance companies excel at this by sharing materials related to topics like retirement planning and flood protection.
Second, empower your people. As an example, Thrivent Financial, a Hearsay Social client, has hundreds of agents actively managing their own local Facebook pages. Between Kent Larson in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Door County Team in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and hundreds of others across the country, chances are good that Thrivent clients and their friends can easily connect with local agents on social media.



As financial experts, Thrivent representatives share value with their close-knit communities by consistently posting relevant content, like IRA calculators and market analyses. But it’s not just all business talk. To spice things up and drive even greater engagement, Thrivent reps share personal stories from their lives. Photos from the last church event and Bible verses serve two needs, both breaking up the business content and conveying the Thrivent brand.
Organizations with local social media presences are many times more effective than when the same messages are shared from a corporate page. While having five million fans wins bragging rights for any brand marketer, from the consumer’s perspective, it can be much more powerful to be a part of a smaller local page that is highly targeted and relevant. Your customers want to feel special.
Any savvy CMO knows that social media ROI cannot be computed just by soft metrics like fans, followers or retweets. The effectiveness of your programs comes down to customer acquisition and retention, and the insurance industry has cracked the code.

Don’t have a tangible product? Create one!

It’s easy to get consumers to remember and feel loyal to tangible products like Diet Coke or Nike shoes. Insurance, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated and less tangible. To help quickly establish brand connection, association and differentiation, some insurance companies like Allstate and Progressive have created some of the most interesting and memorable personas in the history of marketing — enter Mayhem the Allstate villain, Flo the Progressive Girl, Snoopy representing MetLife, and the GEICO gecko. 

These efforts span not just social and digital but also TV, print, radio and billboard marketing. Consumers know these ads when they see them, and can often quote their “spokespeople.”
For an industry completely dependent on selling a product that you can’t hear, see, smell, taste or touch, this is nothing short of impressive. And it significantly affects social media strategies. 

Having a recognizable character or theme allows the company to create a social media asset for their character (e.g., the Facebook Page for Mayhem) and ability for consumers to “like,” providing yet another entry point into the News Feed. These pages do a great deal to increase engagement for the brand and drive sales.

 When your local MetLife agent posts a picture of a sleeping Snoopy with the text “TGIF,” how can you not click “Like”?

Governance matters in any industry

For publicly traded companies and those in highly regulated industries, setting clear expectations and making sure employees follow them are crucial for success. Insurance companies, which can have hundreds or thousands of their agents actively posting to Facebook, tweeting on Twitter and connecting with customers and prospects on LinkedIn, take responsibility for making sure those business communications comply with standards set by the corporate marketing department and federal regulators.
But it’s not just government-regulated businesses that need to think about governance. Consider brand compliance: no organization wants its representatives using an outdated version of the company logo. And in the cases of profanity or personally identifiable information popping up on social media pages, that’s not good for any company, whether it’s a corporate page or a local page representing the overall brand. 

As one example of a company that understands this, online shoe and apparel shop Zappos.com trains each employee on social media best practices.
Sometimes clear guidelines and best practices training aren’t enough, though. Smart organizations use tools that make it easy to make sure content doesn’t lead to branding or compliance violations.

 Leading the way, 

IDC calls insurance companies “early adopters,” but they’re already so much more. By expanding beyond simple social advertising campaigns to coordinating large-scale, enterprise-wide social media deployments, insurance companies are among the first to transform into true social business powerhouses.

What Facebook Global Pages mean for marketers

Facebook recently announced a new Global Pages structure, enabling brands who are present in multiple markets to adapt their branding and messaging to the needs of local markets.

Depending on the country they’re logging in from, a Facebook user who connects to facebook.com/MyGlobalBrand (for example) will see a localized version of the page with different cover photos, profile photos, apps, milestones, “About” information, and News Feed stories shown in the local language.
This is of interest because it allows the creation of content and messaging better aligned to the local market conditions, eliminating the need for corporate marketing departments to maintain multiple and disconnected Facebook Pages. Furthermore, it takes away some of the pains of having to manage and coordinate local pages by centralizing these in a hub and spoke model, with the added benefit of being able to track overall performance in a Global Insights dashboard. This new structure is currently only available to companies who have a direct relationship with Facebook such as Unilever, Holiday Inn, and Nestlé.
Moreover, today’s news validates the approach Hearsay Social has long advocated: there is a tremendous opportunity to establish trust and generate loyalty by facilitating proximity between a brand and its customers. We do, however, take it one giant leap further by enabling field agents and those that are in direct contact with their customers to strengthen their role of trusted adviser. Contact through social media interaction serves to strengthen this relationship even more because these trusted advisers can pick up on signals that someone at the country or corporate level would find difficult to manage.
Overall, this is a positive move for international companies as it reinforces corporate branding in the local market whilst reducing the risk of dispersing marketing efforts. Hearsay Social complements this approach with its “corporate-to-local model” and further activates the person-to-person relationships that are the ultimate proximity lever for establishing brand equity with your customers.

Ed. note: Register now for our 11/13 webinar to learn even more about the power of going local from Hearsay Social’s Head of Data & Analytics, Greg Kroleski: http://bitly.com/Ql4qjc

Recap of the Goldman Sachs "100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs Summit" 2012


It is indescribably humbling and inspiring to be here on behalf of Hearsay Social this week at the inaugural Goldman Sachs Builders & Innovators Summit “honoring the 100 most intriguing entrepreneurs of our time.”
The afternoon began with a fascinating discussion with Larry Ellison and his personal journey founding Oracle. At dinner yesterday, I chatted with Deepak Chopra (he recommended a few iPhone apps to help with stress and meditation, including Stress Check), Premal Shah (co-founder of Kiva), as well as Danielle Fong and Steve Crane, who founded an amazing company called LightSail Energy.

Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein

During dessert, David Solomon, co-head of the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs, interviewed Lloyd Blankfein. Lloyd talked about how despite innumerable “known” risks such as a hard versus soft landing in China, how to balance austerity and growth in the Euro area, energy independence and stability in the Middle East, he has never been more optimistic about the entrepreneurial mindset of the American people.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and David Solomon, co-head of the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs

We have another great program today. I am looking forward to spending time with Steve Case (former CEO/founder of AOL), Reed Hastings (CEO/founder of Netflix), Kevin Plank (CEO/founder of Under Armour), Bill Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell, Condoleezza Rice, as well as one of our favorite investors, Dick Kramlich, who is chairman and founding partner of New Enterprise Associates and one of the pioneers of venture capital in Silicon Valley. It is truly amazing how innovation is transforming entire industries from the inside out across these 100 firms, including Hearsay Social!

How to improve your company's Facebook EdgeRank by going local

Facebook is constantly tweaking EdgeRank, the behind-the-scenes algorithm that automatically chooses which stories appear in each user’s news feed. As the biggest social network in the world—it recently surpassed the one billion member milestone—Facebook aims to only share the most pertinent and engaging content with its users.
The latest major change to EdgeRank specifically affects corporate brand pages. Facebook has opted to reduce the frequency at which corporate page posts appear on fans’ news feeds in an effort to declutter the amount of brand-sponsored posts served up on mobile and tablet devices. This change requires companies to rethink their Facebook Page strategy in order to maximize the amount of visibility, reach, and engagement of their pages.

Increase Your Facebook EdgeRank by Going Local

In a way, this news shouldn’t be too surprising for savvy social marketers. Earlier this year, independent researcher Mainstay Salire released a report analyzing social media posts from corporate pages versus local brand pages. The researcher found that a typical local Facebook Page fan (someone who has liked the page) is worth 40 times a typical corporate Page fan.
Having tracked 14 million consumer interactions across Facebook, the report revealed that local fans pack a much bigger punch than corporate Fans from a sales and marketing perspective. While, at first glance, corporate Facebook Pages have the clear advantage in their massive fan bases and engagement, Mainstay discovered that local Facebook Pages actually generate 5x greater reach per fan and 8x more engagement per fan reached. Ultimately, one local fan is equal to 40 corporate fans.
With Facebook tweaking its EdgeRank algorithm to even further limit the reach of corporate page posts, it is clearer than ever that major businesses must go local with their social media efforts.
If you want to maximize reach and engagement with your customers on a national or even global scale, doing so from one corporate page is not the best way to do it. Instead, you need to equip your local salespeople and stores with the knowledge and software (like Hearsay Social) to help them best represent your brand on social media.
To learn more about how local pages outperform corporate pages on social media, download Mainstay Salire’s report, The Power of Going Local: Comparing the Impact of Corporate vs. Local Facebook Pages.

LinkedIn launches content publishing platform for thought leaders

Content, from status updates to viral videos, is the currency of social media. Recognizing this, LinkedIn recently launched a new content platform where users can follow industry thought leaders like Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington for business insights and other professional guidance.

For the 175 million LinkedIn members, the new platform will integrate seamlessly with the professional networking experience we already know. When you login to the site, you’ll now see posts from thought leaders you’ve subscribed to, in addition to all the posts from users, companies, and industries in your network. It’s just one more way to drive content sharing across LinkedIn and the rest of the social Web.
Here are some fantastic posts already published through the new platform:

As Weiner writes in his inaugural post above, the new content platform is unique because, like all of LinkedIn, it is specifically tailored to the needs of professionals:

“You can keep building your network as you always have, but now also tap the ideas and knowledge from people who remain outside of your first-degree relationships. Previously untapped — or narrowly shared — business intelligence now has the chance to reach an audience of millions, and subsequently expand the collective knowledge of professionals throughout the world.”

We congratulate LinkedIn on the new product launch and we look forward to reading many insightful posts from the already-strong community of thought leaders.

How to make your Facebook Business Page more engaging

Every day, more and more organizations across several different industries are encouraging and even requiring their employees to engage with customers via social media. For non-marketers, starting a Facebook Business Page and connecting with your customers on social media can at first seem daunting.
As part of the Hearsay Social Customer Success team, I work full-time on coaching corporate teams to help their employees achieve higher conversions and brand loyalty through social media. When new users start going social, they often ask, “How do I get more ‘likes’ to my Facebook Business Page?” While likes are great for increasing your reach and the number of people able to see your content, the real million dollar question you want to ask is, “How do I get more engagement on my Facebook Business Page?” Likes are not as powerful if those fans are not liking, posting comments, and sharing your content with others.
Here are my top five suggestions for making your Facebook Business Page more engaging:

1. The social media rule of thirds

If your foot doctor had a Facebook business page (and they probably do), would you want him/her to publish Facebook posts about foot fungus and cracked heels every day? Probably not. It’s not fun to hear and it’s not relevant to your everyday interests. This is a pretty extreme example, but we can apply this same logic to insurance agents, real estate agents, car dealers and more. When deciding on what to post to Facebook day in and day out, keep your business talk in check by following the social media rule of thirds:

  • One third of the time, post about your business or brand. This includes your own blog posts and press releases, announcements about your upcoming events and speaking engagements, and other similarly self-promotional content.
  • One third of the time, post about topics or info directly related to your business, but using material from a third-party source. This includes news items from your favorite publications, graphs of analyst data visualizations, and other outside materials.
  • One third of the time, just show off your personality. This includes posting photos of the team hard at work (or at play!), friendly well wishes over holidays, and anything else that reminds your fans that behind the logo are real people.

2. Photos Please!

In case you aren’t familiar with EdgeRank, it’s Facebook’s algorithm that determines who sees what. Basically it determines what social media content, like posts, photos, and videos, you will see in your Facebook News Feed.
There are three criteria that make up EdgeRank: affinity, weight and recency. The part that most significantly impacts content engagement is the weight which corresponds to the type of post selected by the user. Some content types are considered more important than others and will have a higher probability of showing up in your fans’ News Feeds.
Here is the order of weight in EdgeRank:

a. Photos
b. Videos
c. Web Links
d. Messages (just text)

Make sure many of your posts have a picture or a video to secure a higher probably of having the post land in your fans’ Facebook News Feeds. The more frequently your photos appear there, the higher the chance that they will comment on it. In addition, photos are the most engaging type of content, which is why it is weighted higher in Facebook’s algorithm.

3. Short and Sweet

One of the many factors that has made Twitter successful is their 140 character limit. It forces people to be succinct. Even when posting on Facebook, where there is virtually no character limit, you should still write brief messages to be the most effective. Your fans want to quickly scan their News Feed to see what’s happening in the lives of their fans and friends. Make it easy on your fans by keeping your messages to less than 2-3 sentences (and remember that photo!). If they can read and understand your point quickly, they will have be more motivated to like and comment on your post.

4. Ask Questions

If you want engagement, why not ask them to engage? The easiest way to do that is to ask a simple question. When people know the answer or have an opinion, they feel the need to share. Example questions:

  • I’m planning my next vacation. What do you recommend?
  • I can’t believe it’s my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary! What’s the best restaurant for a group dinner?
  • What’s your life motto?

5. Schedule Posts for the Weekend

Believe it or not, Americans are not always outside playing in the yard on the weekends (and if they are, they have their mobile devices with them). Even on weekends and holidays, lots of people are checking their Facebook feeds and engaging with content there. In fact, businesses get 32% more consumer engagement on the weekends than on weekdays, according to Socialfresh. By the way, vacation isn’t an excuse for not posting on the weekends. Just login to Hearsay Social and schedule your posts in advance.
Hopefully you found these tips useful and can apply them next time you post from Facebook or Hearsay Social!