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Building Brand Identity - Monitoring the Numbers

posted 22 Nov 2010, 10:12 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 22 Nov 2010, 10:14 ]

Metrics are an important part of any online branding and
advertising strategy. Suppose a site gets an average of 1,400
views per week. What does that mean? For a small blog that
updates once or twice per week, with an average ad revenue of,
say, a half cent per view, this might seem all right. For a major
news outlet like Fox or MSNBC, it would be disastrous. The raw
numbers aren't as important as the context the reviewer places
them in; such is the nature of the metric.

A metric is a unit of information used to gauge or measure the
statistics that are coming in. Views per week is a metric, as is
growth in views from week to week. The number of subscribers to a
site might be important to one user, but less important than
reciprocal linking rates to another.

The choice of metric often is defined by the nature of the site
being used, as noted above. Ad revenue sites often base their
metrics on the number of clickthroughs on advertisements they
host, while non-profit channels might prefer raw numbers of
subscribers. Given the sheer number of metrics out there, it
comes as no surprise that many tools for gathering and evaluating
the raw data that feeds into such metrics have been developed.


For brands that intend to function on all levels of the social
networking zeitgeist, Hootsuite is the go-to tool. It ties into
nearly every element of the social networking arena, working with
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, WordPress and more.
Hootsuite presents itself as a dashboard from which a user can
control all aspects of his multimedia networking "empire,"
streamlining the process to a central point instead of many
diverse elements needing tending.

In particular, the metric benefit of Hootsuite comes from its
Monitor Mentions function. Specifically, this feature looks up
the number of times a user or his account has been mentioned on a
selected social media site. As a one-click solution that can be
tailored to lists or to keywords, this is an incredibly powerful
tool. Put in the required information, and a user has access to
most, if not all, of the buzz that his site or account has begun
generating over the last few days.

This also allows the user to judge the effect of a particular
campaign. Follow the Hoot mentions after starting up a campaign,
and you can probably figure out whether people are taking the
effort well, poorly or even if they're noticing it at all.


Another dashboard management system, Tweetdeck is focused on
helping Twitterers with high-volume accounts manage the
information stream that comes in through their feed.

Twitter is an odd entry into the social media world, one that has
grown faster than any other. Originally intended to be a simple
status update system, it has developed much further than this.
Many brands use it as a means of constantly updating their
followers with microblogging-style reports and advertisements, as
well as to keep track of what those followers are talking about.

Tweetdeck's primary means of organizing this is that it can
quickly split replies, re-tweets and original posts into separate
feeds to be sorted through. To be sure, being able to follow a
re-tweet series stemming from an advertising or announcement
tweet is a vital step in ascertaining just what people's
reaction to the originating tweet was. With large volumes of
followers, this can involve an almost maniac amount of time at
the screen - time that could be better spent elsewhere. Tweetdeck
helps condense the time into more efficient units.

It also can drill down even more specifically. Perhaps a brand
centered around a popular series of cookbooks wants to focus
specifically on its wine-appreciating followers rather than the
community as a whole. Tweetdeck can create a column of all the
people who have been flagged as wine lovers, and exclude the rest
of the community. In short, it allows for precision views in
order to mine for information specific to the need at hand.

These are only two of the tools available to social media users.
They offer specific and tangible benefits to their target
audience, and being familiar with both is a good way to refine
and focus any data that's being gathered for metric uses. There
are other tools out there, including Tweetdeck's alternative,
Twhirl. Other sites offer "social media tools" that are more
specific to Facebook or WordPress. The specific tool isn't as
important as the method in which it's being used.

Twitter feed mentions are important. Being able to measure and
dissect the number of retweets or keyword comments relating to a
brand's new post, is a valuable tool in attempting to
demonstrate the reputation a brand has built for itself through
its overall efforts. However, sometimes this information can lead
to pure number-chasing.

Above all else, keep the focus on the brand and what it has to
offer, rather than abstracted numerical goals. These metrics
should evaluate whether a brand is reaching its intended audience
effectively - they must never become a goal in and of themselves.
Make sure that the brand can stand on its own merits, and that
the use of these tools is a means of pursuing just that goal.

Enzo F. Cesario is an online branding specialist
and co-founder of Brandsplat, a digital content
agency. Brandsplat creates blogs, articles, videos
and social media in the "voice" of our client's
brand. It makes sites more findable and brands more
recognizable. For the free Brandcasting Report go to or visit our blog at