When I worked for a public relations firm, measuring the ROI of social media was critical, but difficult. These communications tools were new, measurement guidelines seemed to contradict each other and new advice popped up daily. But we still had to explain to our clients why we thought creating a Facebook group, a blog, a Twitter profile or a YouTube channel would help reach their business objectives. So we measured what we could.
We measured how many followers signed up for their Twitter feed, how many comments posted to a blog entry or how web traffic ebbed or flowed when we had blog posts, tweets and status updates linking to a particular page. Good numbers, right? But while the numbers can represent one kind of success, the real measure of social media is engagement and relationships.
As I explain to executives, university students, nonprofits (whoever asks me to talk about one of my favorite subjects), social media is about sharing, connecting, conversation, a dialogue. So does measuring the number of Twitter followers show engagement? How about when you take the auto-follow bots out? Of course not. It’s time for real social media measurement.
That’s why I’m so exciting a social media measurement guru is coming to the PRSA Tar Heel chapter’s monthly meeting next Tuesday. KD Paine has been measuring PR and communications for two decades. I started following her on Twitter a little while ago, reading her blog and catching some of her presentations from other communications conventions. Here are the explanations I’ve been looking for. Let me link you to two:
On Tuesday, Paine’s talk at the Greensboro-High Point Airport Marriott is called “Yes You CAN Measure Social Media”. For a nominal fee, which also buys your lunch and allows you to network with other communications professionals, you can soak up all the smart measurement advice Paine can dish out. Register here.
There’s a Chinese saying: “May you live in interesting times.” It can be both a blessing and a curse. But as public relations professionals we are living through VERY interesting times. Not only is the economy doing its rollercoaster ride, but we are watching print and broadcast journalism change before our eyes, bad pitches held up to public ridicule, and the whirlwind 24/7 news cycle spin even faster through social media’s instantaneous updates and live feeds.
Social media is a new communications tool with a big impact on our profession. Know how and when to use it, and how to measure it when we do, can help us. And we CAN measure it. Look for me at the Marriott on Tuesday!