Sunday, May 23, 2010

PR people can measure social media. We just need to learn.

I want to be perfectly clear about something, I don't have a complete grasp of social media measurement. But I want to learn. Thankfully, the May 2010 Fort Worth PRSA professional development program was there to help. Katie Paine was our featured speaker and billed to provide morning and lunch sessions focused on key elements of measurement: engagement, including quantitative, qualitative, and new relationship metrics.

If we are going to be any good at using measurement, we must conquer fears. PR people spend too much time being afraid metrics will reveal that their program isn't working; afraid of what they'll hear; afraid they can't justify their program (or existence); and/or are afraid to admit that they don't know how to measure.
"The main reason to measure objectives is not so much to reward or punish individual communications managers for success or failure as it is to learn from the research whether a program should be continued as is, revised, or dropped in favor of another approach."
- Dr. James Grunig of the University of Maryland
Bottom-line, PR people spend too much time trying to justify our existence instead of showing business impact.

Old School vs. New School metrics
Old School Metrics:
  • AVEs (Katie Paine wants to destroy Ad Value Equivalencies.) 
  • Eyeballs
  • HITS (How Idiots Track Success)
  • Couch potatoes (I didn't quite understand this one)
  • # of Twitter followers (unless you're a celebrity)
  • # of Facebook Friends/"Likes" (unless they donate money)
New School Metrics:
  • Influence = The power or ability to effect someone's actions
  • Engagement = Some action beyond zero
  • Advocacy = Engagement driven by an agenda
  • Sentiment = contextual expression of opinion - regardless of tone
  • ROI = Return on Investment - no more, no less. End of discussion.
Starting to sink in
Goals drive metrics, metrics drive results:
Goal - Reputation/Relationship
Metrics - Relationship scores, recommendations, positioning, engagement

Goal - Get the word out on mission/safety/civic engagement
Metrics - % hearing, % believing, % acting

Goal - Marketing/leads/sales
Metrics - Engagement Index, cost per customer acquisition, web analytics, sales leads, marketing mix modeling
One of the great things about Katie Paine's program is that she provided attendees with other excellent resources such as Don Bartholomew (MetricsMan) and Eric Peterson (Web Analytics Demystified.) It says something positive to me when speakers point people to other resources.

The graphic below is from Bartholomew's blog on the topic of the digitization of research and measurement and it helps us visually see what we need to measure:
Here's some thoughts from our speaker on the importance for PR people to measure:
Much more to learn
Katie provided the link to her presentation slides "Are we engaged yet? How to develop your engagement metric." She has opened up a wealth of information for attendees and those who could not make the sessions or carve out some time on her blog. I hope you will take some time to mine such treasures as the 27 conversation types, the seven steps to the perfect 21st Century Measurement Program, engagement on places over which you have no control, why you need a Kick Butt Index and much more.

Finally, I'd like to personally thank Katie for her gracious attitude and thoughtful demeanor while imparting some fantastic information. My seven pages of notes requires some time for reflection and application. (Oh and thanks for explaining Maine coon cats, talking politics and of course, geeking out a bit on NCIS.)

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