Using Insights From Social Media To Work Smarter

by FORAS | Jan 27, 2014

It is the age of big data. In a digitally-connected society, it’s possible for companies, nongovernmental organizations and government agencies alike to use social media and website analytics to gain unprecedented insight to their clientele.

In a society like Iraq, where Internet penetration is still low (15 percent, roughly) and most of the population still gets most of their information from human networks, the options are a little more limited. Still, the Iraq Opportunities Project (USAID-Foras) is using data gleaned from its online presences to learn more about its beneficiaries.

It all starts with the project’s Facebook page (53,585 ‘likes’ as of 1/23/14), which allows the project to reach out to young, tech-savvy youth – a key demographic for USAID-Foras. In addition to promoting open positions and e-learning courses, the project hosts opinion polls on the Facebook page. The first poll, recently completed, shows that most respondents are looking for a job in the Information Technology and Oil & Gas sectors.

The second survey, currently underway, polls users on their attitudes towards their current jobs. This will help USAID-Foras improve its outreach to those currently employed, but considering a change of career.

The Facebook page exists in part to drive users towards the project’s jobs portal, Once there, USAID-Foras uses Google Analytics to study how users utilize the page – what they click on, what they’re looking at, how long they stay.

This information allows the project to better understand what users are interested in, and which areas they find problematic. For example: 46 percent of users are returning, and spending an average of 9 minutes and 30 seconds on the page. They aren’t just scanning jobs and bouncing away – they’re actively searching, and exploring the services offered by USAID-Foras.

Few of them, however, complete the registration process, uploading CVs and creating a profile. They’re missing out on a key portal feature; learning this, USAID-Foras is emphasizing the importance of CVs, in its Facebook posts, and providing links to how-to articles.


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