Now that social media is firmly entrenched in the everyday life of PR, Chapter 5 of “Measure What Matters,” is all about monitoring your social media profile constantly and keeping on top of it basically around the clock to stay in tune with the current.
The concept of “now” has been redefined to include nights, weekends, holidays, you name it; brand monitoring must be a daily process, if not hourly. “There’s no shortage of examples of how quickly reputations can be made or destroyed in today’s social media environment” (Paine 71).
With users acting as the media, editors and reviewers (69), PR and marketing must adapt to new methods of communication on a smaller scale but to the right people if much more valuable than reaching millions of faceless eyeballs with old methods of advertising (73). This also means a new way of quantifying success. “We must change from pitching to listening, and from measuring eyeballs to measuring engagement (74).
Helene Blowers points out that old methods of measuring success can no longer be relied upon and new measuring sticks are usage and influence. “Just because your traditional Website stats may be trending down, it doesn’t mean that your digital usage is down… they may do it through other channels, such as mobile app or Facebook” (Blowers, 2012).
Paine identifies four new rules for PR and social media monitoring:
- You’re Not in Control—and Never Have Been
- There Is No Market for Your Message
- It’s about Reaching the Right Eyeballs, Not All the Eyeballs
- It’s Worse to Not Be Talked about at All
Paine goes on to identify two worlds of social media profile monitoring: measuring what you can control and measuring what you can’t control. Both Paine and Blowers concede that what is really important and a key component to things you can control is engagement.
Levels of user engagement identified by Paine include:
Web analytics systems like Google Analytics, WebTrends and Omniture are recommended by Paine to measure engagement.
However, Paine admits there’s far more things you cannot control. “The new environment is so vast that even the largest budgets can’t truly dominate the conversation…The best you can hope for is to learn from those conversations, make improvements, and maybe influence them” (84).
Chapters 6 and 8:
The innovation of social media brings several benefits to companies and business. It allows them to “get feedback from our customers and marketplace” (Paine, p. 99). Chapter Six outlines the differences in listening to customers and listening to the marketplace. The first step in listening to the marketplace is to set up any web analytics program. By using the analytics program, one can search keywords to see if they are collecting results necessary for their business. “Make sure you have set up alerts for all your competitors’ names and brands in addition to the general terms describing you r product or market areas” (Paine, p. 100). The next steps are to review and track the results to see what is relevant and irrelevant to the search. At this step companies and business are also able to see mentions of the services and products. Next, one should pay attention to those mentions that mostly matter to their company. “Channels, outlets, and writers who get the most comments are usually more influential, and so you should pay particular attention to them” (Paine, p. 101). The next steps call for companies to weight the mentions and find out what the market thinks about their competition and them. By doing so, companies give them self an advantage over their competition to improve their own products.
To listen to customers, companies need to probe into and evaluate customers’ conversations. By evaluating conversations, companies will have the opportunity to gain “insight into people’s relationship” with their brand (Paine, p. 103). Meesh and Mia, a company licensed to sell university-related clothing items, listens to its customers via social media. Meesh and Mia listens to consumers by simply using its social media to ask the consumers what they think of its brand. “Customers on Meesh & Mia’s Facebook or Twitter pages will find requests for feedback on product categories so the company can learn, for example what branded items they want to see more of” (Aquino, p. 1).
Chapter Eight expounds on the need for companies and businesses to move from targeting traditional influencers, to targeting communities. Those communities are composed of consumers that have strong interest in one’s brand and narrow topics. “Whether it’s small farmers, fans of a particular product, or parents of children with a specific disease, there’s now a group for it. And that group has members and the members have friends and all of them can influence your market and your market share” (Paine, p. 124). Instead of individuals being seen as influencers, communities are now the new influencers. These communities influence others that may not be as informed or engaged with one’s brand. To build communities, companies should search blogs that mention their marketplace, and evaluate if those blogs are important.
Next, companies should measure the relationships they have with the influencers of their marketplace. “Periodically assessing the health of your relationships with them is absolutely critical, because understanding what they think about you is just as important as understanding what they write about you” (Paine, p. 128). In an article written by Marisa Peacock, she speaks of a new discovery platform that helps companies to target influencers. “Sometimes the hardest part of content management is not tracking it, but targeting it to the appropriate audience. Thanks to a new content discovery platform called Outbrain, companies can find and acquire an audience for their content. By using personalized links at the bottom of online articles, such as ‘Recommended Reading’ or ‘You Might Also Like,’ Outbrain is able to grow an audience by distributing your content on other sites, where people are looking for something new to discover” (Peacock, p. 1). Paine offers five steps for one to measure their relationships with influencers:
- Define goal
- Define audience
- Define benchmark
- Define key performance indicators
- Select measurement tool
The “Measure” reading starts out by saying, “Al business in a democratic society begins with public permission and exists by public approval.” –Arthur Page. That being said, whatever public approval an organization has at a given time can be quickly removed. Likewise, it can certainly grow.
Because news travels faster today than ever, it’s critical to understand, measure and improve your relationships with your local community. Paine refers to community as “our neighbors.” Neighbors are no longer just those within a tight, local circle, rather, this includes an organizations “internal communities of customers, vendors and partners, as well as external advocates, nongovernmental organizations and any other community with which you have a relationship.” (Paine, 72).
How do good or bad relationships influence your organization? Paine put it succinctly when she said, “the short answer is that you ignore your communities at your peril.” (Paine, 72). She used Amazon as an example of the negatives associated with ignoring customers. Amazon ignored its Kindle community of users and led to loss of trust. On the flip side of that, Paine used the positive example involving SeaWorld when PETA attacked them after a trainer was killed by a Shamu. Because of SeaWorld’s positive involvement with its community, “PETA voices were quickly drowned out by SeaWorld fans.” (72)
The last question is who and what is most important to measure? That depends, but the fact is that millions of bloggers and Twitterers out there, negative stories can no longer be contained as was possible years ago. Measuring relationships with just customers is a great start, but organizations must take into account potential crises when non-existent relationships are thrust into existence by virtue of a negative or newsworthy incident. Organizations are no longer in control of their message.
There are seven steps an organization can use to measure relationships with its communities and neighbors:
1. Agree upon solid measurable goals that are tied to the bottom line:
2. Define your publics:
3. Who or what are your benchmarks?
4. Set your audience priorities: Who and what is most important to measure?
5. Choose your measurement tools
-Local media analysis is critical
6. Analyze the data
7. (Taken from Chapter 3) Turn your data into action
A great, detailed example of measuring relationships and navigating social media is a presentation by Beth Harte of Harte Marketing & Communications.
Bottom line, it may seem irrelevant, but establishing, embracing and maintaining a good relationship with as many publics as possible can help an organization ensure success. Taking the data from the aforementioned measurement tools can shape the organization. Ignoring the data and ignoring how others see the organization can be a negative consequence of failing to measure relationships.
BLOG POST LEADERS: Jason Newton, Dionell McNeal, Lisa Charles
Anderson, F. (N.D.) Measuring the Strength of Relationships. Forrest W. Anderson.com. http://www.forrestwanderson.com/documents/MeasuringtheStrengthofRelationships.pdf
Aquino, Judith. (2012). Transforming Social Media Data into Predictive Analytics. Retrieved from http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Editorial/Magazine-Features/Transforming-Social-Media-Data-into-Predictive-Analytics-85687.aspx
Blowers, H. (2012). “Measuring Social Media and the Greater Digital Landscape. The Digital Strategist. Columbus.
Harte, B. (2009) @TheForefront: Successfully Navigating Social Media. Theharteofmarketing.com. http://www.slideshare.net/bethharte/theforefront-successfully-navigating-social-media-1441164
Paine, K. (2011). Measure What Matters: Online Tools for Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement and Key Relationships. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Peacock, M. (2012). Digital Marketing News: BlogFrog, Outbrain Use Analytics to Target Influencers. CMS Wire. Retrieved from http://www.cmswire.com/cms/customer-experience/digital-marketing-news-blogfrog-outbrain-use-analytics-to-target-influencers-017926.php