Measuring social media effectiveness
20 August 2010
On Thursday I spoke at the 3rd annual Local Government Web Network Conference, organised by superhero and pocket rocket Reem Abdelaty. The conference presents an interesting challenge as the audience is a mix of PR, marketing, web development, web design and IT staff with one thing in common – the responsibility of their council’s web presence.
It was great to talk to the attendees and understand their pain points. These in particular came through loud and clear:
- Where do we start?
- How do I motivate others to get involved?
- How do I scale back those who are too involved?
- I don’t have time!
- I don’t have resources!
- I can’t stay on top of all the opportunities – which is the best one to go with?
In my presentation, I looked at measuring social media effectiveness. I framed the presentation by answering who, what where, when, why and how. My entire presentation is below but I thought I’d just touch on a few key points for each section as my slides aren’t all that obvious.
Remember that while technology enables what you are measuring, in the end you are still measuring humans. This means that caution regarding sentiment analysis and consumer behaviours should be taken into account. Examples: we have different preferences for how we like to consume content while our litology is still too complex for a machine to definitively categorize.
I described a list of key performance indicators that I use based on how they match the objectives of the campaign. Examples: if we measure new search terms in the research phase of the sales cycle, we have the opportunity to strengthen our message to meet the needs of our audience.
These days we need to ensure we’re not just measuring the content that we host ourselves. Your content could be shared across the universe, so make sure you know where it’s going and how it’s being received.
Lots of great free tools have a very short window of time to report on your data. If you find a reporting tool that you love, check if it needs to be extracted weekly or monthly and get your hands on the data regularly so you don’t miss out on the insights. Also don’t do all your reporting post campaign. Digging around beforehand might help you deliver a more effective campaign or even offer you opportunities you didn’t know existed!
Some people say if you’re getting the results you want then you don’t need to worry about measuring each stage of the process. And miss out on the opportunity to improve that process and increase your success? Pah to that, I say!
So this is where I spent a little more time. I went through the structure of a report and the opportunities that both free and paid tools gives us. I discussed the platform specific reporting tools and why the insights they provide might give you a reason to integrate it into your strategy (*cough* Foursquare! *cough*). I pointed out that while Google Analytics may not work on Facebook or Wordpress.com, we can be grateful for companies like Webdigi who share useful tactics on their blog.
In the presentation there’s also a list of Delicious bookmarks that I have put together of free tools that help with websites, search and social audits. I did spend some time going through subscription based tools however it is an expense worth shared rather than a standalone investment.
So unfortunately it seems I may have compounded a few of the challenges listed above instead of solved them! Luckily the feedback was great and hopefully they’ll now have access to some practical resources to help them whatever stage they may find themselves at in social media measurement.
Finally I’d like to give a shout out to Reem who put on a fantastic event. From the published booklet of stories from the various councils and the selection of topics; to the conference dinner at Fix St James and the online repository of conference information – an extremely well run event of value to delegates, sponsors and presenters. Thanks for the invite Reem!