Digital Media Monitoring Audit: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

Conducting a Social Media Audit for US Dept. of State

A digital media monitoring audit I recently conducted for Ambassador Deborah McCarthy at the US Embassy in Vilnius revealed that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is the leading topic among Eastern Europeans on social networks.

The findings underscore data from Pew Research, which shows 71% of of Eastern Europeans support a proposed free trade agreement between the EU and the US.

Our social media audit showed a vibrant discussion underway on social media about the potential economic benefits of TTIP throughout Eastern Europe.

What is a Digital Media Audit?

A digital media audit uses monitoring tools and templates to aggregate and analyze the volume and nature of conversations occurring publicly in online media channels, including social networks. It’s essentially a big data audit that uses visualizations to make trending data readily apparent since appreciating giant data sets manually is impractical.

I use my own social media audit template as a guide, much of which is covered in my free media monitoring report if you want social media diagnostic tips and video tutorials of the top social media audit tools.

Brands vs. Government Agencies

Brands typically want to know how well they’re doing, what they could be doing better, audience growth, visibility, most active social networks, and where their most engaged and influential social media profiles are. And they want specific recommendations for improving their efforts in social media channels.

Twitter is a gold mine because you don’t need to be connected to a user to read their posts, so if you haven’t learned Twitter, it is worth the time investment.

On the other hand, a thorough Facebook audit is impossible because you’re limited to reviewing the social media posts of users you’re connected to, which is why the Cambridge Analytics psychographic advertising fiasco sparked widespread outrage.

In public affairs, the policy is the product, so stakeholders are more interested in sentiment analysis around their share of the conversation to see what specific aspects of their issue matter most to their opponents and allies.

On the economic front, free trade, competition, and privatization tend to foster higher incomes and growth, and the online discourse our social media audit produced confirms that Lithuanians are keen to the opportunity and want in on the action.

On a global basis, most online conversions in Eastern Europe center on the violent clashes between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces in Donetsk and Luhansk, which have already injured and killed thousands.  But unlike in the other countries in the region, in Lithuania, the hashtag #TTIP was more popular on Twitter than #Ukraine for the period we measured.

social media audit ttip

The TTIP conversations we collected on Twitter represented nearly 26 percent of all conversations on social media. Forty-three percent of the TTIP dialogue was on Facebook, 14 percent in the local mainstream news, and 12 percent in the blogosphere.  Our digital media audit revealed that the remainder of the conversation was split between comments, forums, images, and videos.

According to the 2015 Freedom in the World report, the Lithuanian government, which just recently joined the Eurozone, “…generally respects freedoms of speech and the press” and is among the best countries in the world concerning freedom, civil liberties, and political rights, although the LGBT community still faces discrimination and same-sex marriage is not recognized.

Based on a different study I recently competed for a multilateral development bank, we also found that other countries with free speech rights and widespread Internet penetration tended to enjoy higher export rates.

The most mentioned Twitter IDs in TTIP-related tweets were @statedept (24%), the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs @polandmfa (24%), US Secretary of State @johnkerry (13%), and President @barackobama (10%). The most retweeted accounts on TTIP-related topics were @johnkerry (31%) and EU Commission Vice President @federicamog.

It was my honor to be called upon to conduct a digital media audit for the US Embassy in Vilnius.  I look forward to the opportunity to support the digital diplomacy goals of other posts in the future.

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