It is said in business you measure what matters.
The same can be said for the implementation of social recruiting/social media. Basically its use is designed to positively impact your business. The only way to ensure that this is in fact the case is through clear and focused measurement. Measurement also allows you to adjust your approach along the way. Spending too much time in one area without a positive return? Then measurement will help you understand how to make changes. Finally measurement is part of reputation management, as the only way to understand your online reputation is to measure what is being said, it’s also the only way to really manage your corporate brand online.
The measurement process does not need to be complex. However it does need to allow you to understand the impact on your business.
I also believe there is no right way of measuring the return on investment for use of social media in business. Why? Because the objectives for using social media are different.
Lets look at Quantitative Measurement.
Quantitative measurement is required when you are looking to measure hard numbers such as increases in candidates or sales, site traffic, speed to hire, reduction in calls to your customer service staff. To measure the results you will require tools and services that provide you information on your program success.
As part of regular business operations you should have tools to measure your sales, time to hire etc but what about measuring your activities online and your reputation?
Here are a eleven free tools to get you started:
- Post Rank
Post Rank is a free service that measures social engagement on online content produced in RSS feeds such as blog posts or news stories. This is done by measuring the type and frequency of your audience’s interaction with the content, for example bookmarking, commenting, blogging about the post.
FeedBurner is an essential free RSS distribution service that provides detailed blog readership measurement and engagement metrics. Using FeedBurner you can measure the number of subscribers to your feed, gain an understanding as to which blog posts are popular and also measure users who have taken action based on your content.
- Google Analytics
Google Analytics is another essential tool for any web site. Google Analytics provides sites traffic trends, search keywords, conversion measurements, time spent on your site and the number of pages viewed. Google Analytics provides a professional level of information for free in an easy to use and understand layout.
Xinu measures the status of your site in several search engines and social media sites. It also provides some simple diagnostic tools to allow you to improve your site.
- WordPress Popularity Contest plugin
If you are using WordPress as your blogging tool of choice installing the Popularity Contest plugin by Alex King is highly recommended. This plugin measures views, comment etc are tracked and provided point values to determine popularity.
- Google Alerts
Are email and RSS updates of the latest Google results based on your specific watch list words or topics. You can subscribe to each alert through email and RSS. The alerts track blog posts, news articles, videos and even groups. Set a “comprehensive alert,” which will notify you of stories, as they happen, for your name, your topic, and even your company.
A free blog search engine that amongst other things allows users to create custom watch lists of words of topics. When one of your terms appears Technorati will add it to your customer RSS feed for that watch list.
- Yahoo Pipes
A free service from Yahoo that allows users to build very complex aggregation tools, called Pipes. The Pipes can be either kept private or shared publically. Yahoo Pipes is a very comprehensive tool, however I would not recommend it for someone without significant technical skills.
A tool that reviews the content of public Twitter updates, Tweets, and based on your key words will send you an email either hourly or daily as people discuss your keyword. If your business is locally focused the alerts can also be restricted to specific locations so you do not get overloaded with irrelevant information.
- Social Mention
A free search engine that aggregates information across many different user generated contact sites such as blogs, comments, photos, voting, tagging and micro-blogging. Users can subscribe to the watch lists by either RSS or email.
Most of the above tools do not allow you to see the comments left on sites that might mention your terms. This is where BackType can help. BackType allows you to receive updates whenever your terms are mentioned in a comment, once again subscribe via email or RSS.
Another tip, all of these tools can be used to source candidates, plug in a keyword and “automagically” you get feeds of potential candidates. More on how to manage that information flow later.
Inspired in part by Jim Durbin’s post yesterday on Sodexo’s activities.
Update: Here are 3 more tools Radian6, Techrigy, or Spiral 16