I am really excited about this sec­ond post in my series on social media ana­lyt­ics best prac­tices.  If you recall, my first post pre­sented the frame­work for how to think about the scope and exe­cu­tion of social media ana­lyt­ics.  With this post I am going to focus on one very spe­cific oppor­tu­nity for iden­ti­fy­ing your Twit­ter influ­encers.  And I am not talk­ing about know­ing how many fol­low­ers they have or the num­ber of times they are retweeted.  I am talk­ing about what their actual influ­ence is on your busi­ness — in terms of rev­enue or what­ever other metric(s) you are focused on as a proxy for revenue.

The com­bi­na­tion of Twitter’s new “t.co” link ser­vice and the efforts of one of my ridicu­lously tal­ented con­sul­tants, Steve Wirig, makes this pos­si­ble.  Even with­out the fab­u­lous­ness of what fol­lows below, Twitter’s new link ser­vice is huge from an ana­lyt­ics per­spec­tive.  Prior to this release, there was lit­er­ally no way to have total vis­i­bil­ity into the traf­fic that Twit­ter was dri­ving to your web­site.  Even if you man­aged to aggre­gate all of the hosted Twit­ter client domains you would still be miss­ing any non-hosted Twit­ter client traf­fic (e.g. from Tweet­deck) as well as any mobile app traf­fic.  In the lat­ter two cases any refer­ring infor­ma­tion would be stripped.  Of course if you were fol­low­ing gen­eral dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing best prac­tices by using unique query string para­me­ters as track­ing codes, you were in great shape and should ABSOLUTELY con­tinue to do this (and please start to if you’re not — seri­ously…  I’ll keep bug­ging you if you don’t).  You should con­tinue to do this so you can dif­fer­en­ti­ate between the types of tweets that are more/less effec­tive in dri­ving the desired behav­ior and refine your mes­sag­ing strat­egy accordingly.

Cam­paign track­ing codes won’t give you 100% insight though because hope­fully you have cus­tomers who are spread­ing the love by copy­ing and past­ing URLs in tweets to their fol­low­ers.  Inci­den­tally, the afore­men­tioned Steve built a JavaScript plu­gin that appends a unique para­me­ter in this instance as well.  Per­haps another blog post topic?

So let’s talk about cus­tomers who are spread­ing the love via tweeted URLs.  What are they really doing for you?  Are their fol­low­ers click­ing through to your site and trans­act­ing in some way and/or retweet­ing to their fol­low­ers, result­ing in addi­tional clicks and trans­ac­tions?  These are ques­tions we can now answer in a way that attrib­utes said trans­ac­tions to the indi­vid­ual tweet­ers (is that an offi­cial word yet?).

Enter the socialAu­thors JavaScript plugin.

Let’s say one of your super­fans (I am from Chicago…) tweets or retweets a link back to your site.  One of her fol­low­ers fol­lows that link, and regard­less of the struc­ture of the link in the tweet, the refer­ring domain that Site­Cat­a­lyst picks up is a t.co link that looks some­thing like this:  http://t.co/H43Kls1h.  At that point, we make a call back to Twit­ter and grab your superfan’s han­dle and insert it into the Authors vari­able in Adobe Social­An­a­lyt­ics.  Every move your superfan’s fol­lower makes is asso­ci­ated with your super­fan.  Over time, you’ll be able to see who is dri­ving valu­able inter­ac­tions from Twit­ter and you can bring those super­fans into your advo­cacy mar­ket­ing pro­gram.   Inci­den­tally, you will also be able to iso­late these influ­encers from a report­ing per­spec­tive in order to keep an eye on them.

Here is an illus­tra­tion of how the process would work when @Bryankorourke tweets a link to the webi­nar I recorded with Tiffany Chang Black of Face­book on mon­e­tiz­ing the Like but­ton (see what I did there?).

In the above exam­ple we would be able to see not only how many of Bryan’s fol­low­ers clicked through, but also how many (and which) seg­ments of the webi­nar they watched as well as how many of them down­loaded the com­pan­ion whitepa­per.  Now THAT is true influence!

So let’s take a look at a sam­ple report that would be avail­able once the socialAu­thors plu­gin was deployed.  This is a per­fect report to include in a Social ROI dashboard.

Hope­fully you have found this use­ful and are excited to expand your social media ana­lyt­ics strat­egy!  I would love to hear what you think about this post as well as addi­tional top­ics of inter­est.  You can always find me on Twit­ter @chicagoml.  Thanks for reading!