Will Scott – Search Influence
Kegan Sims – Oregon State University
Moderator: Todd Mintz

Social analytics. What should you be tracking for your social media initiatives? Examples and specific recommendations were shown and discussed in this session. Read on to view what these examples and recommendations were.
First up was the social media specialist for Oregon State University Kegan Sims. His job is to recruit students for OSUand convert students who are looking at OSU and other schools.

He handed out some Beaver swag. Very nice.

He said social media analytics is a bit ambiguous by nature. It’s our duty (we as those involved in social media) to do well. And to do well, we need to be able to report on the effectiveness of our campaigns.

What you need to do when reporting on social media analytics:

  • Prove your worth.
  • Move beyond vanity stats.
  • Get away from “ambiguous”
  • Find value in the “small stuff” – concrete things you can convey in understandable terms.

He launched into his story of where he is now. At first, OSU didn’t have any engagement. Now? Thousands of likes on Facebook status updates, million video views, a dedicated Twitter army and brand engagement. All great things!

However, they brought in a consultant to analyze what their social media efforts have been producing. The consultant set up a public meeting to present her findings and for everyone to bring in questions and comments. Kegan came loaded with “analytics of mass destruction” that showed how successful the OSU social media program was.

It turned out that the consultant ended up saying that they’ve done a great job of building up their social meda presence on networks and getting great brand engagement… but that there wasn’t a strategy or a “so – what are you doing with your engagement” kind of action.

Make sure you have a strategy to foster your engagement and your metrics should reflect these goals.

His old way of thinking about social media:

Goals >> Tactics >> Metrics

His new thinking:

Goals >> Metrics >> Tactics

One of his examples: the ability to apply to the university directly from the Facebook page and being able to track this. This helps show the worth of their Facebook efforts.

Producing and running a social media initiative can be scary, especially when it doesn’t show the kind of results you were hoping. But learn from these initiatives to help build your future ones better.

Another example: two different YouTube videos. One had hundreds of thousands of views and it was simply a time lapse of an OSU alum who is an astronaut and took a video of the sun setting from outer space. The other was a video of a student being asked some questions about how he likes the school and explaining what he was doing. This video had only ~1,300 views and a lot less comments but it proved to be more useful as viewers were more in OSU’s target audience.

His big takeaways

  1. Take a step back and review.
  2. Look beyond the big traditional stats.
  3. Embrace failure. Learn from it.


Will was up next. His presentation title was called “Likes to leads: A customer lifecycle approach to social media.”

You can see Will’s slides from the presentation on his Search Influence blog.

Let’s face it – social media is fun. However, there’s always the question of, Well, have you measured your social media results?”

Different social platforms to use:

  • Blog – acting as your “home base”
  • Media – Flickr, YouTube, many more
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Forums or message boards – often forgotten
  • Social bookmarking and sharing sites – stumbleupon, reddit, dgg

What to measure?

  • Traffic
  • Impressions
  • Fans / followers / likes
  • Mentions
  • Goals
  • Leads – forms, phone calls, CTA for in-store (e.h. coupons, specials, etc.)

Traffic / impressions

Facebook is where it’s at. If you’re doing social media on Facebook and not using Facebook ads – “shame on you.” For impressions, Facebook ads is great and can really get your ad in front of your targeted audience… but more importantly, it’s super cheap.

The challenge of “none”

(None being in your analytics, seeing traffic from from a “none” source)

Use URL shorteners! TinyURL, bit.ly, budurl and ow.ly (Will’s favorite tool).

“As long as I can get you clicking on something, I can get you clicking on everything. Every tweet of yours doesn’t need to be about you or your product. Share interesting stories and talk about yourself really 20% of the time.

Use a custom URL builder, such as the Google Analytics URL builder, to be able to track your social media tweets / status updates / etc.


Social media can help you gain more real estate on the SERP. He showed an example of how a client of his has a #3 ranking but the same client has a video result for a video on the page as well.

He showed an example of how one of his clients used social media to set-up a custom tab on Facebook with a great call to action and had Facebook ads for it that produced results. The data showed that it does really work.

Paid Monitoring tools he hit on were Lithium (formally ScoutLabs), Radian6 and Trackur. Free monitoring tools he hit on were TweetBeep, Twe.pe, SocialMention and Google Alerts.

Leads are what it is all about. It’s the ultimate goal. The reason you want to use URL builders is to have actual data on what drove leads. What is “trackable” for a lead?

  1. Referrer – the last page a user visited before yours
  2. Keywords – what the visitor searched for to find you
  3. URL String – what URL was displayed
  4. Web form – what form the lead filled out

Bringing it all together

Some tracking is better than no tracking. Start with URL shorteners. Fans are great, but leads are better… and you can track them. The data is there, you may just need to unlock it… and communicate it to the decision makers.

One thought on “Social Analytics Session

  1. Thanks for the great write-up Christian. I’ll be sure to come back and link to the slides once they’re up.

    It was a great session and good questions. It’s always a pleasure to come to SEMpdx.


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