Tag Archives: Social Media Marketing

R You Ready for DIY Statistics and Social Media Marketing Analytics?

The logo for the R statistical software package

This post originally appeared in Social Media Marketing Magazine, Issue 1, Number 6

Statistics. For many current and former students, just the sound of this word evokes nightmares. However, once you learn to master some basic tasks using statistical analysis software, the world becomes your data playground. Thus, the purpose of this column is to introduce you to one of the most powerful statistical analysis software packages (open source!) and to provide examples of how it can be used to build your social media marketing analytics capabilities.

R is one of the most popular statistical analysis software programs available. It is used by statisticians, financial analysts, marketing researchers and social media researchers. To download and install R, go to the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN) site.

You’ll find versions of R built for Linux, MacOS X and Windows. In my opinion, the versions for Linux and Windows work best. Issues for Mac users related to installing and updating additional statistical analysis packages (3311 are currently available – and like R, all for free) are known to exist. Mac users experiencing problems are encouraged to consider installing Virtual Box in order to install and run the Linux version of the R statistical program. After selecting, downloading and installing the base program, visit the Quick-R site for examples of how to use R for statistical analysis.

Two recent additional (or add-on) social media statistical packages are available to be installed in R: RGoogleTrends and twitteR. The former is one of the most difficult R add-ons to install in R (it took me a couple of hours to make it work) and the latter performs many of the same functions of one of the earlier software packages recommended in this column, NodeXL.

RGoogleTrends:

RGoogleTrends is not available for download within the R “install packages” option. To install RGoogleTrends, one must visit this site to download the .tar.gz file (I use 7-zip for Windows to unzip the file). Hyunyoung Choi and Hal Varian provide a unique perspective of the power of RGoogleTrends in their 2009 white paper “Predicting the Present with Google Trends”. Joe Rothermich developed an interesting presentation (2011) that illustrates the power of using RGoogleTrends to measure market sentiment and events. Download and read both to get an idea of the power of R from a social media marketing perspective.

twitteR:

The easier of the two R add-on packages to download and install (can be done within the “install packages” option included in the R base package), twitteR provides users with access to the networks of businesses or people who are on Twitter. Using twitteR, one can perform network analysis tasks that include basic statistics. Jeffrey Breen recently presented (2011) an incredible example of how to use R and twitteR to mine Twitter for consumer attitudes. His presentation includes advanced R code for how to replicate/duplicate his research.

Admittedly, none of this is easy. But spending the time to master R, RGoogleTrends and twitteR will make you a better social media marketing researcher. R you up to the challenge?

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Social Media Marketing Still Generating Interest

Social Media Marketing by Rosaura OchoaIs interest in social media marketing waning, as reported by some researchers and pundits? The short answer is no. Using some creative code written for the R statistical analysis software program as highlighted in a blog entitled “Visualizing Wikipedia search statistics with R”, a graph documenting the number of daily searches for the term “Social Media Marketing” via Wikipedia is developed and presented below.

Wikipedia Search Traffic for Social Media Marketing

The results are interesting from a couple of perspectives. First, little to no search traffic on Wikipedia exists for Social Media Marketing (SMM) prior to the third quarter of 2008. Next, growth in the number of searches for the term SMM approximates a linear trendline with a positive slope for the period beginning with the third quarter of 2008 through the end of 2010. And finally, although the number of searches on Wikipedia for SMM in 2011 does not exhibit consistent growth, it is not declining either.

Additional research is needed in order to correlate the spikes in SMM search activity with events that may have caused these anomalies. More spikes are noticeable in 2011 than in any other time period. Overall, evidence suggests that interest in SMM is stable at about 1,000 searches per day. And, if you’re an optimist, based on the results for the past couple of weeks, interest in SMM may be entering another growth phase.

Do you think that interest in Social Media Marketing has peaked?

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Generating Prophets: 141 Inbound Marketing Certified Students

Inbound Marketing UniversityAs business school educators, our job is to adequately prepare our students to enter the workforce. Likewise, we want our graduates to make positive contributions to their organizations and to distinguish themselves as valued employees. The problem is, as discussed before, business schools in general and marketing departments in particular have been slow to embrace the social/mobile marketing era. In many regards, we are struggling to catch up with current marketing theories and practices.

Fortunately, HubSpot offers support to business professors who seek to integrate social media marketing into their curriculum. HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University training and certification delivers curriculum materials designed to provide your students with a foundation on which to build.

This past academic year, in response to student demand, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Charlton College of Business Department of Management and Marketing incorporated IMU training and certification into two undergraduate courses and one MBA course. We’re proud to report that between the three classes, 141 students successfully earned IMU certification (3 with honors distinction). In our opinion, IMU certification provides added value and external verification of basic competence in social media marketing. And, coupled with their diploma from our AACSB-accredited business program, IMU certification provides our graduates with a competitive advantage when searching for marketing jobs within the Boston-Providence region. Here are three lessons learned:

1) Not Every Student will “Get It”

Perhaps we overestimated the technical prowess of our students, but not every student enrolled in the courses understood the utility of earning IMU certification or possessed the basic technical understanding necessary to earn certification. MBA students were more successful, in general, than were undergraduate students in successfully passing the IMU certification exam. Overall, 83 percent of all students in the three classes earned IMU certification. In the MBA class, the pass rate was 97 percent.

2) Make it Worth The Effort

Students pursuing IMU certification take 16 modules (offered free by HubSpot) and a 50 question multiple choice exam (offered free by HubSpot). Those who pass the exam with a score of 76 or higher receive designation from HubSpot as an Inbound Marketing Certified Professional (free, including a printable/frame-worthy certificate). Although HubSpot’s free training and certification is a brilliant content marketing strategy, students need to be motivated to do the work and to pass the exam. We did this by counting certification as an exam score within the overall point system of the class. Thus, the impact on the final grade for those students who didn’t pass the certification exam was negative.

3) Make it “Hands-on”

Learning by doing is powerful. The difference between understanding theory and being able to apply theory is vast. Require students to work on their social media skills. Make them blog, develop professional LinkedIn profiles, participate actively on Twitter, clean up their Facebook page, develop a video resume and focus on personal branding via social media. Convince them that investing in personal branding is an investment in their future.

We’re proud of the 32 MBA students and 109 undergraduate students who earned IMU certification as part of their marketing curriculum this past academic year. We’re confident that they’re well prepared to enter the workforce and to make a positive contribution to the businesses fortunate enough to hire them. We know that they will distinguish themselves as social media savvy marketing executives able to compete with anyone.

How can we be certain? Our graduates have already distinguished themselves as innovators and leaders in social media marketing from coast-to-coast (Boston to San Francisco). This batch of new graduates, building on the success of and with the support of their predecessors, is well positioned to make an immediate impact.

Do yourself a favor. When hiring new marketing talent, ask them about their experience in social media marketing. Ask them to provide verification of their prowess in inbound marketing. Ask them for their IMU certification. And when they provide it, ask them about the excellent marketing education that they received from the Charlton College of Business.

Congratulations to the first 141 inbound marketing certified students to graduate from our business school. The future of marketing is in your hands.

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