March 22, 2012

5 steps to set up your measurement program

Shonali BurkeLast week I was in Orlando, Fla., speaking about measurement to the Public Relations Society of America chapter there. And I realized that while I speak and teach often on practical measurement for public relations, I haven’t really written about it here at Socialbrite all that much. So below I’ve outlined my approach. If you have a small budget and don’t have access to fancy dashboards, then this might be especially helpful.

Before getting to that, though, I have a few don’ts.

Things to avoid when measuring

  • Don’t get caught up in shiny new measurement tools. Because then you start trying to measure the tools, and not what you should be focusing on. Experiment, by all means, but don’t get lost in the tools; keep your focus on your objectives and desired outcomes, and select the tools accordingly.
  • Don’t get stuck just counting Twitter followers, Facebook fans, media impressions, yada yada. Note I said “just counting.”
  • Don’t go crazy trying to find the one-size-fits-all measurement solution — because it doesn’t exist.
  • Don’t get caught up in the misguided use of the term ROI (return on investment). ROI is a financial formula and should only be used in that context. You simply cannot try to calculate the value of “likes” on Facebook, for example, in terms of ROI. What you should instead be looking at is whether your activity in social channels is resulting in the kinds of outcomes – actions – your organization needs to succeed.
  • Don’t try to measure influence in terms of scores. Just because a supporter might be deemed “less influential” by virtue of a score, doesn’t really mean that he or she is. We’ve seen time and time again that building community is one of the smartest ways for nonprofits and businesses to use social media. Initiate conversations that will help you. Then look at the outcomes that you’re trying to generate, and see who helped you get closest to those. The answer might surprise you.

5-step exercise in creating a measurement program

Now that you’ve read the don’ts, here’s what to do.

Typically, I undertake this very simple five-step exercise:

1Identify what the business objectives for your program/campaign are. Based on these, what do you need people to do? For a nonprofit organization, for example, it might be to increase members of an online community … because those are the people it can start trying to convert into members/donors.

That last bit is what’s most important. That’s what you’re going to work backward from, because while all roads might not lead to Rome, they should lead to that business objective. Your business objective(s) should be at the core of your measurement program. So before you do anything else, figure them out.

2Identify how you will measure the success or failure of these objectives.
For example, if your objective is to increase sales, what percentage do you want your sales to increase by over the last fiscal year? If you want to increase the number of volunteers working for your nonprofit, then by how much? If your objective is to grow your email list, because that is where you convert the most prospects into customers, by how much do you want to do this? In what time frame? Continue reading

February 14, 2012

To create a metrics program, first identify your goals

Image by Vladimir on BigStockPhoto

If you don’t know what you want to achieve, it doesn’t matter how many people ‘like’ you

This is the first part of a two-part series on creating a strategy for your nonprofit or social cause.

Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause organizations, brands, businesses, government agencies.

Guest post by Melissa Foley

Deciding how to measure your social media efforts can be a challenging undertaking. Number of likes? Number of followers? Level of engagement? Which measures are right for you?

Believe it or not, these measures are virtually meaningless. In fact, all measures are meaningless — unless they are tied to your goals.

Think about it: An organization working to raise awareness about an issue and an organization working to pass legislation are likely to have very different goals, even though they are likely to use many of the same tools (eg., Facebook and Twitter). One-size-fits-all “Top 10 social media metrics” lists can be tempting but dangerous. Each organization should choose measures that align closely with your goals.

Figure out what you want

Your first step is to figure out what you really want to do, how and why. I recommend using the following strategic planning process. Don’t let “strategic planning process” scare you — one or two well thought-out bullets for each step is sufficient:

  • Step 1: Goal & objective
    Your first step is to carefully define a high-level goal (eg., pass this legislative bill) and a measurable objective (eg., get six key legislators to vote for the legislation).
  • Step 2: Strategy
    Next, you need to decide at a high level how you want to go about doing this. For example, influence newspapers in key districts to write stories about community support for the legislation.
  • Step 3: Tools and tactics
    Once you’ve got your strategy, map out an action plan for using new media and other tools to execute your strategy. For example, follow local newspapers on Twitter and engage in conversations with them, breaking news related to the legislation. Target communities when possible.

Continue reading