My autographed copy of Brian Solis's (and Deirdre Breakenridge's) new book, Putting the Public Back in Public Relationships: How Social Media is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR just arrived in today's mail. I immediately opened it and started reading.
It's look at what's wrong with public relations in an age of social media, a complete social media primer from the perspective of those who work in communications, and lots of incredibly useful information about the art of listening and metrics for the web 2.0 world. Even though it is written from a business perspective, there is a ton of useful insights and pointers for anyone who does PR or communications for a nonprofit. If you are a social media strategist, it's a great book to share with your senior manager.
I have a confession, I'm one of those people who does not read a book cover-to-cover in linear way. I have a hypertext brain. I scan the table of contents and the index and jump to the parts that I'm most interested in.
For this book, I was like a moth to flame to Chapter 18: A New Guide for Metrics. The chapter is a great overview for the C-Level suite. I pick up some tips and tricks, but I had a strong urge for "Practitioner Worksheets" which made set up this spreadsheet. Anyway, here's my takeaways:
- Need to know how to convince "C-Suite" (corporate level executives) that social media is required to compete in today's economy and that it is measurable. In other words, that you can monetize the process of engagement. For nonprofits, that tracking donations from social media engagement. As KD Paine said on our SXSW ROI Poetry Slam, "You have engagement fully measured, now calculate the resulting treasure!"
- The old Web metrics don't work well for measuring social media. We know that. I love the quote from KD Paine, "HITS=How Idiots Track Success." It's about engagement, referrals, activity, sales, and market and behavioral influences.
- The importance of monitoring in real time and demonstrating what's working through active listening and continually taking the temperature.
- Conversation: Your placement, status, ranking, perception, and participation in the Social Media sphere. It starts with tracking conversation threads or by keyword. If you are starting, you need to begin by manually across multiple networks and then automate the search using a listening/analytics tool.
- Traffic: Suggests partnering with the web team and using analytics software to track the referrals of unique visitors to site from a site. Get granular - figure how how many unique visits a particular blogger sent, a Facebook Event, or Digg.
- Activity: This using specific landing pages (web pages designed to capture incoming traffic from a specific promotion or an area for sign up, special discounts, votes, or RSVP, etc) that can track visitor's presence and sub-sequent actions.
- Engagement: This is defined as the amount of time a person either participates within a dedicated or hosted Web community or service related to your brand, or interacts with someone from your organization online. It also refers to the reach of your content/story - the process of spreading word-of-mouth referrals or sparking new and related conversation threads.
- Relationships: Defined as the number of friends or followers or community members. Cautions against it not being a popularity contest, but the number grows because people get some value from part of an active, informative, and value-driven community.
- Authority: A measure of your brand's credibility and thought leaders. Rises because of relationship building. Measured by inbound links for blogs. Important benchmark in your field. Suggests that authority can also be measured by tracking trends of RSS subscribers - not just for your blog, but all sources. Mentions an alternative tool to Feedburner - Pheedo.
- The chapter identifies a new area for PR folks to measure - education, participation, and collaboration. This is not new for nonprofit folks - looks like some of the items we track in our logic models - at least short-term outcomes for efficiency and effectiveness. I wrote an entire chapter about this for the new NTEN book "Technology to Meet Your Mission."
- Perception: This metric is about tracking seniment - what people are saying about you. You monitor this by searching for your brand name and the word "sucks."
- Community Activity: Nice checklist of activities you can engage (and measure) your online community to do linked to different social media/networking sites. These might work well as a series of pilots/experiments to track and learn.
- Measurement Tools: There's a high level overview of analytics tools - covering the topic of using free tools or not. Also talks about off-site analytics -- services like Alexa, Compete, and Quanitcast. If you're a metrics and analytics geek, you'll have to wait to for Sean Powers and Alistair Croll's forthcoming book, "Watching Web Sites"
- Simplified ROI Process: It sort reads like logic model to me. 1) identify success or benefits; 2) get a baseline, identify data; 3) define goals in terms of your metrics (increase x number of visitors) 4) develop strategies/tactics to reach goals 5) Estimate cost/benefit
Don't have the time to read the entire book cover-to-cover today, but I have a long flight to California on Sunday, this book is high priority plane reading.