Three Data Collection Tips for Social Media Analytics


Data integrity is important especially if critical business decisions are based off on data. To that extent, in this post, I’ll write about five data collection tips to help you have accurate data for “social media analytics”. So here are the tips that are applicable to social media analytics irrespective of the tool you are using:

1. Social Media Platform


Select the right social media platform for capturing data. You do not want to select few such that you miss data.And you do want to select irrelevant social media platforms because if you do, then you’ll introduce noise in the data. Let me take an example. If your project needs to be based on USA only then you do not need to add “sina weibo” (Chinese social network) in your social media sources.

Now, Based on your business need for “social media analytics” campaign, you should test all possible social media platforms – you never know who might be talking about things that you are interested in. After you have selected the right social media platforms for your project, let’s go the next step:

2. “Search Keyword” Selection

Some of the social media platforms let’s you collect data via “search keywords”. Like twitter allows you to collect data via “hashtags” and/or keywords. So if you want to collect data about all social media posts having “american airlines” then you should not collect data using:


If you select the above rule, then it will introduce a LOT of noise because we’ll collect data people talking about just “American” PLUS data about people talking about just “airlines”. That’s bad!  What you want is rules like these:

1. American AND airlines

2. “American Airlines” (as a phrase)

american airlines social mediaNow, I can’t stress the importance of selecting the right search keywords enough. Choosing wrong keywords will add noise that would be bad for analytics. So choose keywords such that you are not adding noise as well as not missing on conversations. There’s no secret formula here, continuous improvement is the way to go!

3. Language & country Filtering


Social networks are GLOBAL in nature and so it’s important to filter (or include) based on the project that you’re working on. Not doing so would add noise in your data. And also remember to include country and language because you do not want to miss out on conversations either.


Three Data Collection Tips for Social media analytics that I shared in this post are:

1. Select Right Social Media Platform

2. Select Right search keywords

3. Select Right Country and Language.

Two ideas to make your social network activities “Searchable”:


Some time back, I wanted to search one of my own social network post. It was a resource I had shared and somehow I was not able to “google” it (again). I eventually found it – but it took me 15 odd minutes to scroll down to my twitter feed. It was NOT fun! And I thought to myself – there’s got to be a better way! And I thought – It’ll be great if I solve it for not just Twitter but all my social network activities that includes LinkedIn, Facebook Pages, Google+. So here’s couple of things thats working for me, I hope it helps someone out there too:

Now, before we begin when I say “Searchable” – I mean searchable by YOU (or a human being) and not necessarily search engines. But it turns out, both my ideas increase your chances of getting your social media activities Indexed! With that, Here are the ideas:

1) Syndicate your Social Network Activities (Posts/Images/Updates) to Tumblr/Blogger

I use IFTTT to syndicate my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn activities to Blogger

2) Create a post about your social network activities on your blog:

Here’s an Example: Things I shared on Social Media Networks during Oct 19 – Nov 11

Though Idea #2’s main goal is to keep my blog readers updated about my social network activities – But it also acts as a good way to make my social media posts “searchable”.

And remember I said earlier that the chances of your social network posts getting indexed by search engines increases? That’s because WordPress, Tumblr & Blogger’s posts are accessible by Google (unless you choose to block it). So that’s about it for this post. If you like the idea(s), please let me know! And if you have other ideas – also let me know, I am always looking for ways to make my social media activities easily searchable to me as well as for anyone else.

Let’s connect and converse on any of these people networks!

paras doshi blog on facebookparas doshi twitter paras doshi google plus paras doshi linkedin

Things I shared on Social Media Networks during Oct 3 – Oct 10


I am fairly active on social network channels. I engage with people on Social networks and I thought It would be great if my blog readers also get a recap of conversations I am having on different social networks and so I’ve thought of compiling a “Things I shared on Social Media networks during the week” . Here is the recap for the week of OCT 3 – OCT 10:

1. Gaurang Patel commented about the Blog: “Five things I like about RescueTime” on FB page: i am using this one it is really fantastic . 

The blog is here: Five things I like about RescueTime:

Gaurang Patel on Five Things I like about RescueTime

2. Photo with a caption that I added:  That’s the CLOUD.

Originally shared by Windows Azure account

That's the cloud windows azure servers data centers

3. Quote my APJ Abdul Kalam (Ex-President of India) . Did you knew that in 2011, I got a chance to meet him! Read here: Met revered APJ Abdul Kalam (Ex President, India) at an event organized by Times Foundation

Quote by APJ Abdul Kalam

4. Nice Data Visualization: Originally shared by and link to the source of the data Visualization:

Nice Data visualization paras doshi

5. “I was working on Business Intelligence project requirement analysis. One requirement that I saw across all department: Need a data mart (single version of truth)”

This post was shared by SolidQ on Google+

Enterprises need data mart and data warehouses

6. On G+, SolidQ shared my post that I wrote a while Back. Here’s the post: Step by Step guide to Export a SQL Azure Database to Azure storage via Import and Export CTP

SolidQ shared paras doshi blog on Google plus

BTW, did you knew the same blog post was Re-Tweeted by Scott Gu on 31st Dec 2011! Yup!

Scott Gu RT'ed Paras Doshi's Tweet

7. RescueTime tweeted:

Check the end of this post to see how RescueTime user @Paras_Doshi was able to cut his social networking time in half!

8. SolidQ shared this post: “Earlier Today: delivered a two-hour session on PowerPivot and Power View to a client. they had some very Interesting questions for their scenario!”

paras doshi delivered a power pivot and power view session solidq

9. SolidQ shared this post on G+:

Data Visualization: Created HeatMap/TreeMap like the one shown below for a client. Looking forward to receiving their feedback. btw, I used the Black, Grey and white for the shades. image courtesy:

paras doshi created a heat map for a client at SolidQ

Let’s connect and converse on any of these people networks!

paras doshi blog on facebookparas doshi twitter paras doshi google plus paras doshi linkedin

Social Media Analytics. Facebook Page Smackdown: Status updates vs Images?


In this post, we’ll answer the question:

For a Facebook page – which post-type* is better at getting more Likes + Shares + comments

*Currently on Facebook page – you can have following Post-Type:

1. Images

2.Status Updates (Post)

3. Videos

4. Link

5. Question

6. Shared Content (i.e. when you “share” content from other Facebook page/user-account)

Now – If you have not seen “Facebook Insight”s for your Facebook page – I’ll encourage you to do that (assuming you have suitable admin role):

view facebook page insights social media analyticsYou’ll see something like this:

facebook page insights dashboard social media analytics

Off-Topic: I like how this report design, I really do: Five things I learned about “Art of report designing” from Facebook insights.

Now, Be a Kid – explore this Dashboard – see what else you’ve got: Likes Metrics, Reach Metrics, Talking about this Metric. There’s interesting Demographic information on each of the mentioned metrics. For instance I know that 60% of my fans are from India. Any-who this post is not about delving into what is available but it is about something that is not available via this Dashboard.

So Now I had this Question: What kind of post should I post more to get more likes/shares/comments? Should I post Images? Should I share Interesting Links? Thus, I wanted to know: For a Facebook page – which post-type is better at getting more Likes + Shares + comments

So as a Data Guy – since they didn’t provide that insight – I thought of a way to get it. Here’s how you can do that too in a step by step fashion:

Tool Used: Excel 2010

Step 1.

On your Facebook Page Insights Dashboard – Do you see Export Data button? yes? Go ahead click it:

– Select a. Post Level Date b. Select Start Time & End Time.

social media analytics download facebook page insights data

Step 2. 

Open the file in excel.

If you do not have access to file that you can use mine – after all the things I share on is Public! I don’t mind sharing metrics with you. Download the file: Paras Doshi Blog Facebook Page Post Level Metrics Jan1 Aug5 2012

Step 3:

There’s lot of data, right!? Remember: If you think about it, You can extract other actionable insights too and build cool reports.

Any-who to our questions here is what we need:

a. Data in “Key Metrics” sheet

b. Column C: “Type”

c. Column N: “Lifetime Talking About This (Post)”

*People Talking about this include

– Liked, commented or shared your post

– answering a question

– responding to an event.

FYI: if you looking to see number of likes, shares & comments a post gets – check out “Lifetime Talking about this..” excel sheet.
Step 4:

Create a COPY of this Excel File (For Backup purpose – Just in case we manage to mess up the data in this file)

AND then, Delete ROW 2 in Excel sheet: “key Metrics”. Just do it!

delete a row in excel

Step 5:

Now that we have identified the metrics i.e “TYPE” and “Lifetime Talking About This (Post)” – let’s select ONLY this data and create a new sheet. As you can see I have a new sheet titled “Only Important data goes here!”

social media analytics new sheet in excel

You can Skip creating a NEW sheet – but make sure to select appropriate columns for PIVOT TABLE later.

Step 6

Make sure you are on our NEW sheet.

Go to Toolbar > Insert > PivotTable > Select Pivot Table

Social media analytics using excel pivot table

Step 7: No change, Just click on OK.

configure pivot table in excel 2010

Step 8:

Now comes the part where we configure Pivot Table.

– Select All three fields from the “Choose Fields to add to report”

– Drag “Count of Post ID” and “Count of LifeTime talking about this” from Row Labels -> Values

social media analytics facebook page configure pivot table

Step 9:

We do not want the TOTAL number of “People Talking about it” – BUT we want On an Average – for a single post – How many people are “talking about this”.

So let’s change the function of “Life Time Talking about this” to AVERAGE.

Just (left) click on “Count of Lifetime Talking about this (Post)” > and select “Value Field Settings”

pivot table change the function from SUM to Average

click on OK.

Step 10

Do you see this:

pivot table change the function from SUM to Average changed

Now Look at your Pivot Table:

Social Media analytcis for a facebook page

Can you see who won.

In the smack down of Status Updates vs Photo. Photos Won!*

*For my page: That may not be true for all pages! Just saying 🙂

And let me clean up the report a bit:

social media analytics custom dashbaord in excel for facebook page

That’s about it!

Remember you can do MUCH MORE with the Data that you just DOWNLOADED! If you play with this data, please share what actionable insights you were able to extract out the data!

Have fun with Data!


Facebook Page Insights Guide. From your Insights Dashboard:

facebook page insights guide pdf

Five things I learned about “Art of report designing” from Facebook insights.


As you may know, I have a Facebook page for this blog – only because NOT all my friends (on Facebook) want to follow my technology-related activities. But some of them are interested, and so I thought of setting up a Facebook page for the blog which helps those interested in following my twitter (micro-blogging) and blog feed via Facebook.

Now, Facebook provides a nice tool called “Facebook Insights” to view performance of the page, optimize content, among other things. A sample report looks like this:

facebook insight for paras doshi's blogI liked the way they have designed this “line chart” and I thought about what I can learn about “Art of report designing” from this nicely designed report.

Here’s what I liked about the report:

1. Key performance indicators (KPI)

kpi in facebook insights2. “?” (more details) on every “jargon” (term) that CLEARLY explains what each term means.

3. it’s easy to compare “people talking about it” vs “weekly total reach” metric which are inter-dependent in nature.

Now to know why comparing these two metric makes sense, read this:

The next metric, “People Talking About This”, indicates how many people are actually talking about your business to their friends. This metric includes everyone who:

  •  Liked your Page
  • Liked, commented on, or shared your Page post
  •  Answered a Question you’ve asked
  •  Responded to your event
  •  Mentioned your Page
  •  Tagged your Page in a photo
  •  Checked in or recommended your Place

Getting more people to talk about your business allows you to reach more people. You can see how many people your Page is reaching by looking at the “Total Reach” metric.


The report makes it easy for us to “compare” these inter-dependent metrics.

4. The size of the circle depends on the “number of posts”. Very intuitive!

The size of circle depends on numebr of facebook postsThey could have easily opted for “other” formats but they opted for this and to me, it is very intuitive to interpret the report.

5. Horizontal Axis Format for Dates:

Keep interval to 7 for axiskeeping the Interval to “7” looks better! It looks clean!

So, Those were my 5 favorite things about that report

Now, One can export the data too in csv and .xls format! That means, that you can create custom report on top on this data to answer any business question that you may have.

So for instance, I asked myself – Is there a relation between “number of posts i shared” with “People talking about it”. Although this question got answered via the sample report I shared earlier – But I wanted to extend it. Here’s why: The “number of posts” metric was reflected by the “size of the circle” and “people talking about it” metric was reflected in line chart format. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if both values were reflected on a line chart in a coherent fashion? I thought so, and so I downloaded the data on my computer and opened it in excel. And I was quickly created this line chart in excel:

paras doshi's blog on facebookBingo! I learned that more I post on my Facebook page => more likes,shares I am going to generate. Now this is NOT a universal statement, it varies from page to page but at least, my data encourages me to post more on my Facebook page.

So that’s about it. In this blog post, I listed things I liked about Facebook insights and what I learned about “Art of report designing”. Then I extended the data made available to create a custom report on excel. After all, “Information is king“.