Social media refers to a range of Internet-based application that support the creation and exchange of user-generated content - including FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. They can provide a source of data for evaluations, not only of social media activities.
This image from The Conversation Prism maps the current social media landscape demonstrating its complexity and spread. The map can be used to support the development of a comprehensive social media strategy,
(Click image to see a full size version)
The American Red Cross Digital Operations Centre
The American Red Cross (ARC) opened their Digital Operations Centre (DOC) in 2012 in order to track the use of social media during disaster relief operations. The centre monitors and responds to social media such as tweets and Facebook posts in order to access disaster information in real time. It allows ARC to see when and where the disaster is occurring and more importantly, who needs help. The DOC came into play during Hurricane Sandy and allowed ARC to direct resources where they were most needed by tracking and responding to social media chatter directed specifically at them. The following slide show from Gloria Huang gives some insight into how the ARC used the DOC during the disaster. This blog post by Beth Kanter provides more detail into the operation of the DOC.
- Social Media Metrics for Federal Agencies: This webpage from HowTo.gov provides a four part guide for analysing and using social media metrics in order to ensure improved service delivery and customer engagement. While the guide is aimed at US government agencies, its lessons can easily be adapted for any organisation that wishes to use social media as a way of connecting with its audience.
- Evaluating your Social Media Program: This blog post, written by Dan McDonnell for AEA365 provides a number of key tips for evaluating social media campaigns to ensure their effectiveness and engagement with the targeted audience. McDonnell also provides a brief review of the social media analytics software, Sprout Social.
Predicting the Future With Social Media: In this paper, Sitaram Asur and Bernardo A. Huberman argue that it is possible to use social media to predict real-world outcomes by analysing the chatter from twitter on specific topics. They also demonstrate how the model that they use clearly outperforms traditional market-based predictors of success.
Kanter, B. Beth's Blog, (2013). Is “ambient data” from social media channels useful for funders?. Retrieved from website: http://www.bethkanter.org/ambient-data/