By now, even your grandmother knows social media is hot, but the big question remains: What’s the ROI on all your social networking? How do you know if your outreach strategy is working?
Sure, there are plenty of social media monitoring tools
out there. Even for nonprofits without the budget for high-end
commercial tools, there are many good options. You can gauge the buzz with Yahoo Pipes and Google Alerts, and keep an eye on social bookmarking sites with the Social Media Metrics plugin for Google Analytics.
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the other major social media tools all give
you some useful numbers, although tracking the trends for each of these may call for a third-party app like Tweetstats, or long hours of entering raw data into a spreadsheet.
But what if you could track a variety of social media measurements for the
major networks,and view it all on your desktop or home page — without giving out your passwords?
SociafyQ is designed to do just that. The price tag is frankly appealing for cash-conscious nonprofts, too. The premium version starts at $3.99 per month, but the very functional basic account is free
for personal or organization use and should meet the needs of most smaller nonprofits.
Choose daily, weekly, monthly or yearly graphs and bar charts for a variety of social network statistics, with the data updated every 24 hours.
Here’s what SociafyQ can track
at the moment — but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more statistics and
functions added over time, as this brand-new tool has continued to
evolve and improve even over the fortnight that I’ve been testing it:
- Causes — number of members; growth in donations ($)
- Groups — number of members
- Fan Pages — number of fans
- Channels — number of view; number of subscribers; number of videos
- Videos — number of views; number of comments
- Pages — numbers of followers; number you’re following; number of updates; number of retweets
- Keyword Volume — in Bloglines Blogsearch or Google Blogsearch
- Feeds — number of new posts
- Profiles — number of connections; number of recommendations
You can access your data through
the SocialfyQ dashboard, in a widget — available for OSX Dashboard,
Netvibes, iGoogle Gadgets, Windows Vista and Windows Live, at present —
or embedded on your own website. (The widgets have most of the features that you get by going into your account on the website, by the way. In fact, the only significant difference I noted was that widgets won't give you the percentage change view, just the actual numbers for each metric.)
And that’s just the free version.
A premium account will also let you export your data directly into
Excel, as well as adding an Alerts function. The main advantage to the upgrade would be expanded tracking (up
to 10 of each social network statistic) — perhaps most useful for
larger organizations who might, for example, want to monitor a number
of concurrent online campaigns.
For me, the Blog Feeds volume (number of new posts) is perhaps the
least useful of all SociafyQ’s functions, but the Keyword Volume
tracker came as a pleasant surprise! It’s a nifty way to get a sense
of the trends — the rise and fall of public interest in topics around
your cause — by monitoring the number of related blog posts reported
for keywords and key phrases that you define. Overall, this strikes me as one of the more user-friendly and useful social media analytics tools to come along in some time. And maybe, one of these days, I'll figure out how to pronounce 'SociafyQ' -- any guesses?
Nonprofits and associations can’t very well measure the emotional
commitment of their online supporters — more’s the pity — but growth in
social network reach will go a fair way to telling you whether your
online efforts are getting results. SociafyQ can help to give a quantified perspective, easily and affordably, and it could save
hours of hunkering down with your spreadsheets.
Now it’s your turn:
Have you discovered a cost-effective and
time-efficient way to monitor the growth of your own social networks? Which measurements have proven to be most useful to you? Please, share your thoughts in the comments!