Numbers alone? Bad.
Numbers plus analysis? Good.

Fact – data can be overwhelming. Amidst trying to source and develop content, serve as a community manager and still keep a strategic step ahead (oh yeah, while doing your other job tasks), data can easily be pushed to the  back burner. Unfortunately, you’re selling yourself and your community short if your measurement strategy entails regular last minute scrambling to compile numbers for a monthly report you owe your executives.

We all know that capitalizing on simple data trends and insights can help inform how we interact with members of our community. But with multiple channels to manage and so many monitoring tools and resources out there, where does one even start?

Keep it simple. Keep it practical. Focus on the analysis.

Let’s use Twitter as an example and assume you are tweeting for your organization on a daily basis. Currently, you are aggregating all your replies, RTs, new followers, list additions and click-thrus.

Good start.

When it comes down to it, click-thrus are likely your most important Twitter stat but it is imperative that you ask yourself why those clicks matter. Did a particular series of tweets help increase traffic to an event registration page at your hospital? Did a morning tweet about your latest video drive more click-thrus than a rephrased evening tweet? Did a particular tweet spur a particular tangent conversation?

A quick scan at your bit.ly account or other preferred link shortening tool at the end of each day can provide you with the knowledge to ensure you’re providing your community with the content they crave. Now, go a step further and take a look at who is responsible for amplifying your tweets that are driving strong click-thrus (Quick Tip: don’t forget about backtweets to help further gauge traction on tweets and Twitter keywords). This is important given the nature of our stream-oriented online world where you often have a few brief seconds to capture an audience’s attention. As you start to see trends emerge, increase the frequency with which you post and target that particular type of content – it’s what your community wants and in the end, that’s what matters.

A monthly social analysis report is the exercise to help you assess the bigger picture. Right alongside your own tracking, you should be keeping a reflective report on your direct competition to help frame a larger understanding of the impact of your own social engagement and community building. Different organizations and companies of course have varying strategies that impact how they engage online but baseline knowledge is better than none.

Quick Tip –  Add a “+” to the end of any bit.ly link to track click-thrus on any bit.ly link – an easy way to see what content is working for your competition.

In the end, adding a few minutes each day to assess your social activity will start to have a tremendous impact on helping determine which content is connecting best with your health care community. Remember, numbers are good but they remain just numbers without consistent thoughtful analysis.

Image courtesy of Nomad Tales.

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