“Big data,” “ROI” and “Analytics” are all the new black when it comes to social media buzzwords both in the commercial and nonprofit worlds. So it was fitting that the opening keynote at the CDC’s annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media focused on measurement. Katie Delahaye Paine or @kdpaine as she’s known on Twitter co-authored the book Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World and kicked off the event.
According to Paine, there is no more “mass media.” It has been replaced by media everywhere — or as I like to say “information overload,” which is causing resistance to brand messaging. It’s not about how loud you can shout but instead it’s about targeting your message, measurement, testing and being able to iterate on the fly. Boundaries are now permeable between internal and external communications, traditional broadcast and social media, local and international audiences. Yet while social media can be a powerful communications platform, the reality is that 90 percent of conversations still happen offline. Forty percent of online conversation is generated by bots and spammers, and 80 percent of people on Twitter have fewer than 10 followers.
Go Beyond Klout
How do you find the right influencers to target with your message? Paine says not by using Klout. She drove home the point that big numbers don’t mean big influence. She noted that .003 percent of celebrity followers actually engage with anything the celeb has to say (vs. just lurking). And while Klout or other automated services assign rankings based on how active people are on social media, it doesn’t reflect relevance for what you may be trying to get across. You have to find the key influencers for YOUR message vs. someone who tweets a lot to the general public or to an audience that’s not your target. Ask yourself, “How am I going to get the people who influence the people who I want to change their behavior?”
What Do You Measure?
It’s not about likes or impressions any longer (Paine compared impressions to construction workers whistling at women who will never know them). It’s about engagement — people who download an app, register, give their email. They are trying out a relationship with you. But that’s just the first step of engagement — ultimately you want the people who engage to also spread the word. According to Paine, “eyeballs are not awareness,” we have to talk about what affects someone’s actions. Finally, Paine emphasized being data informed and not data driven, analyzing the data and being sure to ask “so what?” at least three times. She suggested when looking at data, ranking results from worst to best in order to look at what may need to be fixed or tossed – then look for exceptional success to try and replicate.
How Do You Measure?
Paine outlined six steps to measurement. Interestingly she noted tools are one of the last steps. What you are measuring should inform what you measure with.
Step 1: What is the goal? Define it! What outcomes will this strategy or tactic achieve? What are your measurable objectives?
Step 2: Define your audience(s). Who are you trying to reach (specifically)? How do your efforts connect with those audiences to achieve the goal?
Step 3: Define your benchmarks. Who or what are you going to compare your results to?
Step 4: Define your metrics. What will you measure?
Step 5: Select your data collection tools (there are only three kinds — content analysis or listening, survey research and web analytics)
Step 6: Analyze your data (and don’t forget to ask “So what?” three times)
Why Mia Farrow Kicks David Beckham’s Butt
One of Paine’s memorable anecdotes was about work she did for UNICEF analyzing their social posts to figure out what was the most effective way to get their message across. She thought it would be the beautiful photography they often post from the field. Nope, it was UNICEF Ambassador David Beckham with his shirt off. That said, the engagement around Beckham was from fans who wrote how much they loved Beckham or soccer. When Mia Farrow posted about her trip to the Congo, even though she has way fewer fans/followers than Beckham, her fans were much more engaged with what was happening in the Congo because Farrow is more passionate about that particular issue (pick your influencer).