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Getting engaged: are we making a difference?

May 25, 2009

Setting an objective that has community and organization equally in mind is at the heart of a comprehensive campaign strategy to measure how well you are engaging with your online community, according the Kami Watson Huyse, Principal of My PR Pro in Texas.  Via Skype on May 20, Huyse presented to the J4/512 class on the “Tools and Techniques to Measure the Effectiveness of Social Media” in the Web 2.0 environment, based on the communication process model by Wilbur Schramm.Communication Model

What do you want to measure?  A lot of measurement is taking the time beforehand to make a determination. The benchmarks to measuring online engagement should be pre-determined before putting out communications, and applying traditional measurement to online measurement is a “no-no” as it would be like comparing apples to oranges.

Finding that “sweet spot” between the interests of an organization and what the community needs is where you would want to set up your relational objectives.  Work to set up a community by bringing something to it (i.e., new resources, information, Web site).

Huyse outlined the “Trinity of measurement” – interest, attitudes, and actions.  (Web analytics fall in this interest area.)  You can find out how many times a user came back to your site, what they looked at (i.e., video, images, blogs), and for how long.  Measuring interest is important and the easiest one to get.  Finding out a person’s attitude towards your brand takes more work and would require surveying people. There are online products you can use to survey people.  Corporate players are using those on web sites that include rating systems to give you ideas on what people think.  Actions are the “Holy Grail” – what do people do because of your campaign?  Huyse contends that actions are easy to measure if you decide beforehand what you are looking for.

Measuring interest

External Tools:


Google – measuring quality of rankings

Radian6 (paid service) – monitoring who is talking about you.

Internal Tools:

Google Analytics – great if you have a blog and it’s free

Web Trends (commercial packages) – site meter

Huyse presented a case study of a 4-week marketing campaign for Budget Rent A Car by the marketing agency BL Ochman, called “Up Your Budget Treasure Hunt.”  Using “buzz” marketing to build online social media community, their direct outreach was to bloggers. In this contest, clues were placed in 16 cities around the country, and videos that hinted at locations were produced. Winners would receive $10,000. More than 1800 people registered to play.  Nearly 300 stories were written by treasure hunters on the blog.  900 comments were made on the two blogs.  The clue videos were downloaded 43,906 times.  Within 4 hours of the site’s launch, they were getting a new registration every three minutes. Although the data was impressive, it didn’t tell you how people thought of the brand.

Measuring attitude

Finding out how people feel about you and your brand, and how you engage people on blogs can be measured in different ways depending on the benchmarks you are using. Huyse recommended measuring the level of conversation, share of conversation, and tonality of comments and posts (positive, neutral, negative). How you are being promoted (or “bashed”) and by whom, is important information that can have an effect on your marketing strategy. Does the content of your site reflect what you are trying to accomplish?

Tools:           Net Promoter Score = % of promoters – % of detractors

indicates how much you are being promoted and by whom

Optimum Content Score – did the content reflect what you are trying to accomplish?  In social media, it is hard to determine but is useful for people with serious reputation issues.  Katie Delahaye Paine was cited for this tool.

Huyse cited Avinash Kaushik’s web site for free tools for measuring relationships that answers the questions: 1. How satisfied are my visitors?  2. What are my visitors doing at my website? 3) Are they completing what the set out to do?  4. If not, why not?  She also cited Linda Childers Hon and James E. Grunig’s Guidelines for Measuring Relationships, which provides questions to ask of your audience or community in order to find out how they are with you.

Huyse presented a case study of Dell’s successful campaign to build relationships with bloggers after having experienced negative feedback from Dell users.  Direct2Dell Online Engagement blog site addressed the negative comments. Dell started talking with its customers online and created a platform called “IdeaStorm” that allows customers to present ideas.  Ideas are voted by other bloggers, and Dell takes a look at them.  Huyse sees this idea of “voting up” on ideas, being used more and more by organizations.

Measuring actions

For organizations that measure sales, measuring actions and business results may be the most important data to follow (i.e., cost comparison, revenue raised, subscribers, funds raised, items sold).  Are you providing a product or service that people want?

Huyse presented several case studies of social media awareness campaigns that brought favorable outcomes, including the campaign of the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The ASPCA wanted to increase traffic to their Web site and were considering three approaches.  When the recall of the tainted pet food from China was announced, this health alert had put ASPCA’s toxicology experts on the front lines of the crisis.  They capitalized on that and utilized a blog site to report on their findings.  As a result, people thought more favorably of the ASPCA and support increased.

Another example of an effective use of social media tools is the awareness campaign for the newest roller coaster/water ride, Journey to Atlantis at SeaWorld San Antonio.  Built ahead of schedule, the organization did not have sufficient marketing dollars on hand to spend on traditional media, so staff decided to try social media.  They developed and implemented measuring objectives. In the survey, two questions were asked – how were they made aware? And, why are they visiting that day?  The most important measure to them, of course, is how many people showed up.  The results revealed, among other points, that more people found out about the new ride from the Internet than TV, and influenced $2.6 million in revenue.

These case studies illustrate the idea that if the product or service you are providing fills a need, sharing your story utilizing social media tools would probably attract a large following.  By listening and responding to consumers, and building relationships, you would cultivate customer loyalty at minimal monetary expense and maximum ROI.

Katie Paine’s Super Six Steps to Measurement

  1. Define your stakeholders
  2. Determine which metrics to use
  3. Benchmark against yourself or your competition over time
  4. Pick your measurement tool and technology
  5. Analyze the results and start over

Once you can prove you are adding value, people will look to you to partner with on meaningful projects in the future.

By Miriam Alexis Jordan

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2009 9:28 am

    What you’re not realizing about the Up Your Budget campaign I created for Cendant in *2005* was that this was a pioneering effort for a Fortune 500 company. They simply wanted to know whether an interactive, all-blog online campaign *could* generate interest for less than the cost of *one* 30-second commercial.

    They did not set up metrics – despite our request that they should – to measure conversion or even traffic to their site. They did not offer a coupon, or any type of incentive.

    It was a pure-play blog-based campaign whose intent was to prove the viability of interactive Internet marketing.

    Glad you found the case study impressive. :>)

    • ssmstudent permalink
      May 26, 2009 6:14 pm

      Yes, thank you so much for sharing your insight. We are learning the importance of determining what we want to measure prior to any campaign, and the benefit of monitoring and analyzing data to look for trends and shifts in consumer interests.
      I would imagine that you are seeing more organizations including social media tools as part of their marketing/communications plan. Do you find that people are still reluctant to measure? – Miriam

  2. May 26, 2009 2:39 pm


    Sounds like a fabulous presentation. Kami is a wealth of information, and some of the work she’s done is really full of great examples to follow. Thanks for sharing her mention of our platform, and for such a comprehensive overview of the great content she provided.

    Amber Naslund
    Director of Community, Radian6

    • ssmstudent permalink
      May 26, 2009 6:29 pm

      Greetings, Amber Naslund! Learning about strategic social media has been such a valuable experience. I am impressed with the level of writing that takes place over the Internet. So much to learn. Thank you for reading my overview. Sincerely, Miriam


  1. ImpactWatch » Blog Archive » Top Social Media Monitoring & Measurement Posts of the Week

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