Definition

social media analytics

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Analytics technologies lend enterprise content management a hand

Social media analytics is the practice of gathering data from blogs and social media websites and analyzing that data to make business decisions. The most common use of social media analytics is to mine customer sentiment in order to support marketing and customer service activities.

The first step in a social media analytics initiative is to determine which business goals the data that is gathered and analyzed will benefit. Typical objectives include increasing revenues, reducing customer service costs, getting feedback on products and services and improving public opinion of a particular product or business division. 

Once the business goals have been identified, key performance indicators (KPIs) for objectively evaluating the data should be defined. For example, customer engagement might be measured by the numbers of followers for a Twitter account and numbers of retweets and mentions of a company's name.

There are a number of types of software tools for analyzing unstructured data found in tweets and Facebook posts. In addition to to text analysis, many enterprise-level social media tools will harvest and store the data. 

See also: business analytics (BA),  social media monitoring, social CRM

This was last updated in November 2012

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Social Networking Site: an online community that allows you to create a profile, add friends, share ideas and events, and communicate with other members. Space Age is a major player in the production of all kinds of office materials.
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Any thoughts on specific tools for measuring Twitter ROI?
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Hi DavidatTweetCruncher, I would suggest checking out SproutSocial, Klout and Hootsuite (if you're a beginner). 
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I'd recommend also tracking your impact by tagging your URLs with Google Analytics UTM tags (assuming you use Google Analytics)  - that way you can see how much traffic you're bringing back to your content and what those users do from there. 
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