Measure The Impact Of Thought Leadership With Social Media 

(Photo: Reimond de Zuñiga)

Publishing expert content is an accepted and reliable way to establish your authority as a professional. Regularly publishing authoritative content, especially in relevant publications, is an investment into your credibility.

Every article published is another opportunity to build authority in your space and attract potential clients and partners to your business.

However, thought leadership does require a significant investment of time and the ROI is difficult to measure.

Because the content you contribute is published on third party websites (industry publications), there is no way for you to measure the results of your labors. Executives are often skeptical that these efforts actually yield results, and it can be difficult to sustain their buy-in.

So what’s the solution? How do you measure the impact of your thought leadership efforts?

Social media is the shared consciousness of our modern society. With it we express our hive mind, for better and for worse, and it serves as a telltale for the winds of public whim. 

If you could track a piece of content across social media, it would be possible to estimate its impact directionally

Do this for every article you publish and you’d get a sense of the reach and return of your investment in thought leadership. 

In this article I’ll cover 2 methods for estimating and optimizing the impact of thought leadership content in social media. 

The first method is 100% free, but is very manual. The second uses MarketChorus Resonance to streamline and automate this process.

(Photo: Kon Karampelas)

Using Twitter Advanced Search To Estimate The Impact Of Thought Leadership

The key to this method is to look at numbers from social media as a directional indicator of the overall impact you’re generating. It’s important to remember that the majority of what happens online is invisible to marketers and communications teams.

People share content by SMS (text message), by Slack, in private Facebook groups and other forms of so-called “dark social”.  None of this can ever be measured. It is not and, will never be, possible to monitor every conversation that mentions your brand.

What is possible, is to measure performance on a publicly-accessible part of the web (Twitter), determine what “typical results” look like, and then compare your new content to this baseline.

Understanding how your content is performing on Twitter will provide insights that can be used to optimize it for any channel.

Search for a URL and Twitter will show you every tweet that includes that it (or any shortened version of it). So when you want to measure the impact of a thought leadership article you’ve contributed, simply paste the article’s URL into Twitter Search and count the results.

I searched Twitter for the URL of an article about AI and marketing I contributed to a few months back and found all these nice folks who shared my article!

For more context, you can hover over the names of anyone who shared to reveal their bio and follower/following counts. Briefly glancing over the accounts who liked your article can reveal a great deal about your article’s engaged audience.

Obviously, the drawback to this method is the potentially significant amount of time it takes to count shares, likes, and comments and to turn that information into something useful.

But…the data is extremely valuable, if you can spare the time to collect it. 

Or you can implement MarketChorus Resonance to automate the complex and time-consuming process of extracting these insights.

(Photo: Jordan McDonald)

Using MarketChorus Resonance To Estimate The Impact Of Thought Leadership

MarketChorus Resonance is a content intelligence platform that helps brands and publishers understand the impact of their content and analyze the top performing competing content for insights and opportunities to optimize (among other things).

In the section above I mentioned using Twitter Advanced Search to discover tweets sharing your content. Resonance does this for you…

Simply paste the URL of your article into MarketChorus Resonance’s Analysis search and the platform will discover similar content also being shared on social media and the audiences who are engaging with it.

MarketChorus Resonance found almost a thousand similar articles from the tens of thousands of popular digital publications we index on a daily basis. By each article, you can see the volume of Twitter engagements…

Twitter Advanced Search will show you all the tweets linking to your articles, but it would be inconceivable to manually extract your engaged audience (by copying their Twitter handles one by one into a spreadsheet).

MarketChorus Resonance puts your engaged audience at your fingertips. With one button-click you can download every account that’s shared, liked, or commented on your articles. With another click you can extract the influencers who are driving the engagement on your content.

…as well as the audience of Twitter users (and influencers) sharing, liking or commenting on these articles.

A great wealth of information can be unearthed by analyzing the network of relationships that distributes the top content in your space. 

And when your articles start to perform, you’ll be able to identify the exact influencers interested enough in your message to promote it to their audiences. 

In terms of impact, this is the real value in social media…

Final Thoughts On Measuring The Impact Of Thought Leadership

Software like Google Analytics will tell you the number of website visitors referred by your thought leadership content. 

The problem is that it’s never very much. If those website metrics are the only evidence you’re able to see, thought leadership can easily feel like wasted energy.

In reality, it’s impossible to shine a light into every dark corner of the web to discover the true value of sharing your expertise. 

Your message will impact many more people than you’ll ever know and when the good karma comes back around, you probably won’t even know why.

However, with the aid of technologies like natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML), we’re slowly making the impossible, possible. 

MarketChorus Resonance turns the cost-prohibitive into the cost-effective. We’re expanding the breadth of your reach, and the depths you’re able to plumb for the data to drive success from your content strategy.

If thought leadership is a practice you take seriously, contact MarketChorus for a quick demo and an overview of how we can help you maximize the value of this investment in your brand.

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