I spent Friday at PR Camp™ , a highly interactive “unconference,” with PR and marketing professionals from the agency, non-profit, and corporate worlds. Attendees ranged in experience from Gen-Y students to seasoned industry leaders. But as we discussed the challenges and opportunities social media offers those in the field of communications, everyone had the chance to serve as both a student and a teacher.
One of my favorite sessions was Delivering Strategies for Effective ROI and Achieving Success in Social Media Programs, a small group discussion led by PR Camp Counselor Janine Gianfredi, marketing manager, Google, Throughout the day, the importance of implementing a measurement program for social media efforts was emphasized, but this session helped to dissect the challenges of social media measurement.
Our group got off to a strong start, agreeing that the first steps include,
- Defining the goals of your social media program
- Making sure that those goals are tied to quantifiable business objectives
- Understanding the challenges and goals of sales, service, product development, etc., and the impact your programs can have on each
- Listening carefully to the current conversations so that you can develop a baseline.
Janine explained how her team found that measurement goals fell into two very different categories: conversion and engagement. While conversion goals are generally easy to quantify, engagement goals prove far more elusive. How do you measure the loyalty or enthusiasm of your fans, friends, followers, or subscribers? Do you have those brand evangelists who will share your story? In the event of a crisis, will your community support you? How do you measure the goodwill you are building?
Our group understood that is important to go beyond simply measuring the numbers of fans, followers and such. You must be able to filter through all of the irrelevant “noise” and look at comments, retweets, sentiment, demographics and more. David Berkowitz, senior director of emerging media and innovation at 360i, and another of the counselors for PR Camp, recently wrote a great post on 100 Ways to Measure Social Media.
The composition of our group, which include those from agencies, publishing, technology, healthcare, nonprofits and travel made it extremely apparent that there is no simple “one size fits all” solution to measuring ROI. Are you looking to increase sales? Raise awareness? Address customer complaints/ service issues? Indentify new needs in the marketplace? Aligning your measurement program with business objectives will keep you focused and help you to continue moving towards the “right” goals. PRSA has recently emphasized the importance of documenting the business outcomes of Public Relations and it is good to see that the attendees at PR Camp are also moving in this direction. As marketing, advertising, and sales all continue to vie for an often shrinking budget, putting in place a measurable program today will certainly help make the case for your programs tomorrow.
A tremendous thank you to Dan Greenfield for putting together a great experience and to Janine and all of my “camp counselors” (Lloyd P. Trufelman, president and CEO, Trylon SMR; Dina Kaplan, co-founder, blip.tv; Jonathan Kopp, global director, Ketchum Digital; Alex Norman, executive vice president, Schematic; Dawn Bridges, senior vice president of corporate communications, Time Inc; Jennifer Kohanim, assistant account executive, Fleishman-Hillard Digital) for leading some great discussions.
For another glimpse at PR Camp, be sure to take a look at Peter Himler’s post about the session he lead on Whether Gen Y’ers Hold the Keys to Social Media?. You may also be interested to check out the archived version of this BurrellesLuce newsletter, Understanding Your Efforts: Your Social Media Measurement Questions Answered.
How are you measuring your social media efforts? What are your biggest measurement challenges?