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How Many Clicks Does it Take: A UNICEF Case Study

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, April 27 2010

One of the common complaints about social media is that it's not that easy to tell if outreach through tools like Twitter and Facebook is actually working.

This is kind of counterintuitive, since there are so many metrics to track: Twitter followers, Facebook fans, likes, shares, clickthrough rates, bit.ly statistics, Klout ratings — there's an entire online industry cluster devoted to easing the minds of online marketing clients about their online push.

But no matter how many numbers there are to tell the story of a Facebook page or a Twitter account or a website, there's still a very basic question: What do they all mean?

Among the answers: Updating a Facebook fan page status more than three times a day can cost subscribers, Wednesday is a good day to put content online, and when an organization is in the headlines, that's the time to post a link from the fan page to the website — not to the articles where the organization is mentioned, say Shabbir Imber Safdar, a San Francisco-based online marketing consultant, and Shayna Englin, a strategic communications consultant based in Alexandria, Va. The online marketers had the chance to sit down with a year's worth of analytics from the US Fund for UNICEF's Facebook fan page and Google Analytics account, and have published a free ebook based on those findings.

"The only exception," Safdar says, speaking of the trends he noticed, "was if you were covering a disaster."

He said that in the days after the earthquake in Haiti, UNICEF's frequent updates did not chase away subscribers — probably because they were newsworthy.

Safdar's ebook describes the methodology he developed understand the meaning of the multitude of available metrics he was working with from UNICEF's social media presence.