Monday, November 1, 2010

Social Media... doing it wrong?

Moving into November gives the opportunity to report some initial findings resulting from an entirely non-scientific experiment here at McCafferty Consultancy Ltd.

Borne mostly from curiosity, last month saw the arrival of both a Twitter account and a blog (currently being read by at least one person).
@mccafferty_uk appeared on the scene on 30th September, and was followed by "McCafferty's Blog" on 21st October.

Both of these "social media outlets" have been kept fairly low-key, with minimal promotion.  This was to allow us to observe their "natural growth" patterns, to try and understand what benefit or value they might be able to add to the presence of our main website.  Links were added to the main site directing readers to each of the new areas, and the first posts to each were announced on a personal facebook and twitter account.

Over the month of October, @mccafferty_uk has attracted eleven followers.  Five of these are personally known to us, one is a random bot-type entity, with the remainder being industry-relevant and credible users.  We have posted nineteen tweets and have been re-tweeted eleven times.

Since the first blog post on 21st October, a further single article was posted.  In the week and-a-half to the end of last month, "McCafferty's Blog" saw 46 pageviews.

One of the main areas of curiosity with regard to these ventures, was how the addition of new "outlets" would affect traffic arriving at the main site.  This was not from the point of view of generating business or revenue (due to the nature of the business), but more out of genuine interest.

Overall, the number of unique visits to the site actually dropped by around 3% after launching the Twitter account and the blog in October.  The general trend, however, seems to remain largely unaffected.

Unique Visits - September

This graphic outlines the statistical analysis of unique visits over the month of September (i.e. pre-launch).  Notice how the trend is fairly stable, with the exception of an irregular peak on the 27th.

Unique Visits - October
Compare this to the graphical analysis for October (i.e. post-launch).  Immediately, this would appear to represent a larger volume of unique visits.  However, according to the legends, we can determine that the non-existence of the irregular peak from September's chart, has allowed the graph to re-scale.  Generally, the trend would appear to remain fairly similar to the previous month.

The initial findings from the early stages of this purely non-scientific experiment, would suggest that neither the Twitter account nor the blog have had a significant impact on the traffic to the main site.  What these statistics do not show, however, is where the unique visits have been referred from.

Further investigations have shown that while the overall statistics in terms of volume have been largely unaffected, the referrals from Twitter alone have almost doubled in terms of percentage.  Most visits still arrive via search engine requests, however these are now more geographically relevant, with the corresponding reduction in referrals being centred on the equivalent .com search engine rather than the version.

Perhaps this experiment will not result in any firm outcome, or will yield no insight into the benefit or otherwise of "social media" as a compliment to McCafferty Consultancy Ltd's general web activities.  Nevertheless, it is mildly interesting to us, and will continue with future analysis being carried out.

Apologies in advance!

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