Measuring the inside leg…

Now that social media – and their metrics – are being taken seriously in the third sector, I’ve bitten the bullet and started to record and measure my output at work (cries from some of you of “you mean you haven’t been already??”). This is especially prudent given that I have set myself the KPI of improving engagement, support, reach and awareness throughout 2010.

I felt a few emotions at first; ‘social media doesn’t require a strategy!*’ and then ‘Argh this going to be painfully laborious’, principally. But then I calmed down and started to look at the free tools readily available that will help me record, evaluate and deliver. As in the screengrabs above, I recommend starting with the sites themselves, such as Youtube’s ‘Insight stats and data’, Facebook’s new ‘Insight Page’, but also Twitteranalyzer, and Twitalyzer.

I’ve chosen to record “growth per week” in some key indicators including: Twitter @replies, number of followers and retweets; Facebook wall messages, engagement, ‘likes’ of posts, and new fans; and Youtube and Flickr page views and new subscribers. Its early days in terms of recording, but I think the 30 minutes or so every week will pay dividends ultimately. And no, I have no budget if you an agency offering to do all this for me! Freebie tools only and strictly in-house at the moment – we are very small.

Does anyone else do the same? Are these the kind of metrics you use? And any insights into your strategy of how to begin increasing the demographics? What do you think?

Hat tip to Chad Norman for the broad ideas via his Slideshare presentation (slide 23).

*In terms of strategy and associated costs, PR Danny Brown has some interesting views on this; some of which I agree with, some of which I think depend on size and type of organisation.

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17 thoughts on “Measuring the inside leg…

  1. I wouldn’t blame you for not having started yet! Before you start measuring, you’ve got to know what you want to measure (tis not always fundraising, as we all know now) and how you’re going to measure / analyse it. Some of the possibilities of social media only become apparent after time, and unless you’re planning to measure initial community growth, some of it only really tells you very much once you have a substantial community (depends on the tool, etc etc. Infact [insert proviso here]!).This mirrors a lot of the tracking we’ve done. I think FB is particularly good at providing data provided you don’t take it all at face value, which you’re obviously not. For e.g. post quality tells you nothing about how many people from the community are talking to YOU or the number of interactions you’ve had in comment streams, only the response to your messages, which is only valuable to a point.Good luck and thanks for sharing!

  2. Great comments and thoughts! Yes absolutely, some of it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt (I actually counted up facebook wall comments manually in the end as ‘interactions’ was misleading). Thanks for the encouragement :) Here begins the journey…

  3. Thanks for sharing this Rob. Keeping basic measurements of key indicators might be enough to convert some third sector social media skeptics.Hopefully the tools for measuring true influence/reach will get a bit more sophisticated in 2010.

  4. Cheers Ross.For example, we had a fantastic exchange last week on Facebook where an initial post from me ended up with parents posting links to each other of where to find adapted gloves for children using manual wheelchairs in the cold weather. Same with a debate last week on Twitter where I asked supporters what they thought of Gok Wan’s upcoming show on fashion and looking good for disabled women.I clipped all the chatter to Evernote (of course!) and made a note of the kinds of things that rock the boats of our users.So some of it is quantitative metrics, but it’s also really important to capture the qualitative too – and learn to do more of the good stuff.Cheers, Rob

  5. Thanks for this post, Rob. As new-in-post social media person, I definitely need to start doing some measuring! This has given me a great starting point. Like everyone else, also interested in finding ways of measuring the quality of engagement, but I’m sure we’ll all get better at it as we go along.Thanks, Leah

  6. No probs, Leah. Maybe this could make a great #media140 or nfptweetup topic :) We should chat to Kate Pickering, Rachel Beer and John Waddingham…

  7. This is a great start. Metrics are so important to understanding users and habits. A B testing is the key to useful actions based on metrics as @mokuska said above “knowing what you need to measure” is so important.The old ad guys were masters at this, Ogilvy and the inventor of the coupon – Claude Hopkins. They would AB test until they were speaking in the perfect language to engage the audience that they’d targeted.Social media is no different. Your Facebook stats (above) will tell you how your audience/fans like being spoken to if you compare two similar statements/posts/updates/etc. One week you could post “chocolate is great” the next “who likes chocolate?” and see the difference in engagement…A bit simplistic but hopefully you get the idea.If you do a search for “Scientific Advertising” by claude Hopkins you will find a book that he wrote in 1896 – things haven’t changed that much… :)

  8. Thanks Redeye – very salient and sensible points! So much of it (SM metrics) is not really comparing like-to-like (e.g. your re-phrasing of the chocolate question) so absolutely it’s allowing me to learn what kind of engagement gets the biggest reaction / participation.I’m starting to think a fair few of the stats I’m recording aren’t going to show me anything too valuable week by week (aside from recording increases in followers I guess) but read alongside the messages they relate to (like the Gok Wan or wheelchairs in snow debates) I can increase more chatter around topics that encourage debate. Next challenge will be attempting to increase real tangibles through SM; like more fundraising, more volunteers, more campaign supporters. I’d be *really* interested in seeing how others have turned SM engagement into £££. Funny, I was at #idebate last night in Wesminster and I didn’t see any real clarity of measurement of social media engagement nor strategy from the main political parties. And these were their ‘new media’ wizards! I should really write my next blog about this….Rob

  9. When I get round to coming to see you, now the snow’s gone, we can discuss how to actually get “tangibles”… Sorry I’ve been lax…If I see another person thinking that they’re helping Haiti by joining a facebook group I’m going to lose the plot… Joining is great but they need to be converted into useful contributors – there are so many ways that this can be done based on historical advertising and marketing techniques, never mind cool and new technology… But why isn’t it happening more?

  10. Well exactly! Again, last night even the BBC’s tech writer (and newly appointed BBC digital election campaign correspondant) Rory Cellan-Jones was challenging the panel in terms of the numbers of people who had joined a new facebook ‘pressure’ group set up by Billy Bragg verses the numbers of followers the main parties had on Facebook. This scenario is entirely meaningless (to me at least); because who cares how many people have clicked ‘join group’ if they aren’t doing a thing in reality to affect change?!I touched upon Facebook groups and making the ask as simple as possible for group participation here: http://robdyson.posterous.com/raging-against-the-monotony-all-im-going-to-s Be interested in your thoughts. Ta.

  11. Don’t start me off on the RATM debacle. :)For generating awareness: groups, fan pages, twitter lists, re-tweets, Facebook sharing, etc, are all fantastic…For getting action done you need emotion. The RATM debacle (sorry, love that word) played out as a “beat the system” feeling (the embedded irony in the song lyrics; and the label being the same as the opposition is (almost) irrelevant). People felt like they could make a difference and they did…All advertising is based around emotion, making you feel sad, happy, sorry, guilty, empowered, etc… Social media stuff is all based around gossip (communication) AND emotion… “I’ve done this and feel this way about it and now I want my friends to feel like me, share the pain, the sadness, the joy, etc”…We recently did a “social” competition campaign, to achieve brand awareness and build a database. The four boxes that need to be graphed to achieve this are: the mechanic (how do we allow communication)the existing fan base (is it big or small?)the emotion to evoke (the prize, brand alignment)the engagement (what do you have to do?)If you have all of these you can’t lose (we were lucky, we did). If you don’t, you need to over compensate in the other areas… better mechanic, bigger prize, etc…The current Facebook scam is a fantastic example of this… “Post this message exactly on to your status and Facebook will give $1 to Haiti…” Blatantly bogus if you give it a minutes thought… But imagine if someone like Nike, Coke, McDonalds actually did something similar? How many Facebook profiles would they appear on? Every Facebook profile is worth on average 200 pairs of eyeballs… So for 0.005c they get a pair of eyeballs… The charity gets a $1… The brand gets good cred, it costs less than a TV ad, more people see it, it’s trackable, blah blah blah…Sorry, just realised I’ve started to rant… :) I could write about this all night… Need to get our blog on the go again.

  12. Cool. I’ll let you know when I’m next in London… Would be great to see what we could come up with.BTW 0.005c should be $0.005 :)

  13. I do our stats monthly and don’t go into as much detail as this, mainly the basics, until I build up a big enough knowledge and supporter base. But would love to do weekly and in this much detail.

  14. Let’s see if I can keep it up! I may be being ambitious (just me that does all the PR at my place – traditional press and social / digital, so it could become an albatross..)

  15. digital media certainly takes a lot more time than I ever anticipated, there is always more we could be doing! thanks for writing a blog post like this, it’s great to hear what other charities are doing around measuring the impact of their digital media

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