Talking social metrics with MMU Marketing students

This week I was invited to speak to Marketing students at Manchester Metropolitan University as a guest lecturer for their Marketing Metrics course, in final year. I gave the students a whistle-stop tour of key social media marketing metrics and how we apply them here at the Co-op.

But, first thing’s first, I dispelled any misconceptions that ReTweets and Likes were the be all and end all of marketing metrics available to social marketeers. They’re a useful content KPI, yes, and certainly have their place, but there is a wealth of metrics available to us when analysing social as a marketing discipline.

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As a means of helping the students understand social marketing for corporate business, I demonstrated a framework those at the Co-op have heard me mention before, the 3 Cs of social media (read about this here), which succinctly outlines the way we segment varying social disciplines and subsequently measure success in those areas.

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So, what are these metrics?

  • Conversation volume
  • Conversation sentiment
  • Response rates and times – particularly key with our regulated businesses
  • Demographics analysis – gender, profession and age
  • Location – even when only 2% geo-tag their social, the macro view is still useful
  • Referral and CTR
  • Ad impressions
  • Engagements
  • Engagement rates – as well as industry benchmarks provided by the networks

As well as this, I did still mention social actions like ReTweets and shares. I also touched on Influencers, as a means of assessing the viability and opportunity within a community conversation, but stressed that influencer outreach can include a whole scope of other metrics like influencer score and those outside of social, such as domain authority – I could spend an hour on Influencers alone!


Before we closed, I introduced two gentlemen by way of their Google Doodle, Mr George Boole and Albert Einstein. Boole because he founded Boolean, a means by which social marketeers can source social intelligence. I urged the students to familiarize themselves with Boolean operators, as it could be their differentiator when applying for roles in social and digital marketing.


Einstein got the closing line because he (may have, the jury’s out) once said: “not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts,” reminding us that it’s our job as marketeers to choose the right measurement metrics for our activity to help reiterate the power of social for delivering business benefit.

Find me on Twitter @jordanjmcdowell

Or contact me by email

Social Media Forums for Angel Square colleagues

Hi, I’m Rebecca, the Co-op’s Social Media Campaign Manager. My job is to reach people on social media channels using owned and paid media.

Sharing knowledge and best practice is one of the main focuses of our Social Media team. For the last three years we’ve been holding forums for colleagues who want to keep up with all things social, and it’s great to see that there’s still real interest in these events.

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All content for the forums is produced in-house and we use them to share what’s going on in the world of social at the Co-op as well as updating on new channels, new advertising options and user trends. At previous events we’ve also had guest speakers from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and have hosted a blogger discussion panel with two mummy bloggers.

Latest learnings

Last week we held a forum in our Manchester Support Centre, 1 Angel Square.

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Gail, our Social Media Lead, was up first. She talked about the reintroduction of Google+, Twitter testing new multi-answer polls and Snapchat launching Story Explorer.

Next it was my area, campaigns. Sometimes we focus on individual campaigns, but this time we played a short film, created by Campaign Executive Ben, to showcase the range of activity since the last forum. Check it out below:

We like to revisit previous forum topics to show progress or share results. This time we looked at community management to show what the new team, headed up by Jordan our Senior Community Manager, has been up to since they joined. It was great to be able to share real results and promote the reasons why it’s good to use social media as an engagement tool, not just for broadcast.

Last but not least we had Fiona, our Content and Planning Manager, up to talk about using social media for thought leadership. We like to share valuable skills with the forum attendees so that they can apply these in their own social world. You’ll be pleased to hear that blogging was a key part of this section.

We always try to leave time at the end for a lively questions and answers session. We get asked some interesting questions which shows that people have really listened. This time we had a question around the use of ad blockers and how we think this might affect social media advertising results. We know that Facebook and Twitter users already have the option to hide individual adverts or hide all adverts from brands and that this negative response can be tracked (on Facebook only). We believe that the introduction of ad blocking technology will drive more of a focus on native advertising (in the newsfeed/ timeline) and as advertisers we have to make sure even more than before that our adverts are targeted well and contain relevant content.

So, that concludes a sneaky peak into the work we do on social at the Co-op. The forum is currently only held in our Manchester Support Centre – our goal for 2016 will be to get more of our colleagues involved. So watch this space!

Becoming a Brandwatch Boolean wizard

Brandwatch, the social intelligence platform, hosted their annual Query Masterclass in London last week, allowing agency and brand clients alike to meet, share tips and giggle about the wildcard operator.

The day’s line up saw Brandwatch’s Brightonian-based brethren chat queries beyond keywords, how to build quick and dirty searches on the fly and welcomed clients to chat influencer outreach and how Brandwatch can help forecast commercial peaks and troughs, based on social conversation. All in all, a top day of insight, intrigue and industry.

Still, I had a number one take away, and here’s where it all started…

Brandwatch’s Ben Hackett hosted a session in the morning about query building beyond just keywords. Now, we know the strength of a robust Boolean is kickass keywords, but Hackett blew our minds (well, mine) with the possibilities of thinking beyond these simple fundamentals in social conversation.

Brands often start basic, with a Boolean looking at the conversation “about their brand,” containing keywords around brand name(s), slogans, and various hot topics about products and services. But, rarely does this encapsulate all there is to see. A tweeter sharing a link to one of your YouTube videos, with a single emoji as the tweet contents, or even nothing at all, is just as relevant as an Instagram containing all your brand names and slogans in hashtag form. Yet, simple Booleans would probably only pick up the Instagram.

By focussing on the link collateral your brand owns, the relevant and sharable links that would more than likely form part of organic conversation on social, we can get a whole new picture.

An example around this (brilliant) Honda advert was given.

So, a keyword-based Boolean search for this advert campaign may look something like this:

((Honda OR Stepping OR HR-V) AND (precisely AND pleasingly AND perfect) OR hashtags:NewHRV)

It hits on some of the most likely tweeted keywords, but it doesn’t consider the links. Now, by including the links: operator and key links from the advert campaign, Hackett was able to not only demonstrate an additional stream of conversation, but one with higher conversation volume during the first few days of the campaign. When consumers were first hit with the brilliant ad content, they were sharing without much commentary, only reverting to commentary and “keywords” later in the week where link-only conversation died down and more traditional social chatter dominated.

An impressive take-away in itself, but I’m not finished yet.

Cut to the afternoon and my colleagues and I had query surgery with Brandwatch’s Gemma Cooper. Cooper is a self-confession data geek and Boolean wizard, so what I’m about to say is close to godly.

We taught Gemma a new use of the links: operator.

At The Co-op, whenever we link, we try to use UTM tracking as a means of presenting a more robust picture of social referral and why/when someone is referred to our sites from social. We have various categorisations and these include one for links within organic content and one for links within paid content.

By using the links: operator combined with the “” operator, we are able to single out links from our paid content, via the relevant UTM tag, and create a rule that categorises conversation generated from paid-social, therefore enabling us to present a holistic view of both paid-for impressions (via Twitter Ads, for example) and the potential further “free” reach of that content – for the first time.

We were all a little too excited!

Find me on Twitter @jordanjmcdowell

Or contact me by email