Social media analytics are hard. That's one of the biggest problems with social media. Anything that makes them easier is awesome.
Anyone that has spent professional, quality time with Radian6, Sysomos, Crimson Hexagon, or any other social analytics platform knows how difficult it can be to manage the large volumes of data they quickly produce. Dealing with this social media data can become overwhelming, especially if you have your own company design standards or reports you need to produce rather than screenshotting or exporting the pre-canned rerports they provide.
Microsoft Excel is commonly used to manage the raw social metrics data these tools export. I've spent over 7 years managing social media analytics and creating social applications for dozens of clients and Excel has been a critical tool for that work. One of the reasons that Excel is so powerful is because of its support for VBA macros which allow you to create your own functions and customize how your data is handled. This capability is critical when it comes to social media metrics and analysis because macros can be used to manipulate data in any way you like.
In this series of posts, I'll give several ways to use Excel macros to improve your social media reporting workflows, giving you more time for community management (your favorite, I know!)
But first things first: you need a place you can store these macros so you can use them in your daily social analytics activities.
In this post, I'll show you how to create a Personal Macro Workbook in Excel for Windows. Why do you need one? You could simply use the Macro Recorder or VBA Editor in Excel to create one-off macros but it's much more manageable to store them in a spreadsheet known as a Personal Macro Workbook ("PMW" for short.) This allows you to easily share your macros between any open Excel workbook on which the PMW is stored. This is much easier than copying macros between every workbook in which you'd like to use them. You can also create an Excel AddIn so that you can easily share it between machines and other people. I'll show you how in a future post.
I'm going to focus on Microsoft Excel for Windows in this post because that's what most people use - if you need instructions for the Mac, check this link.