Rebecca A. Denison is a “klutzy, bubbly youngin’ taking on social media and PR measurement.” (Hey, those are NOT my words to describe her!). Today’s post is by an up-and-comer in the public relations profession; a woman I’ve been fully impressed by since I first met her on Twitter. Rebecca blogs over at One True Sentence (link above), and you can see her measurement topics appearing just about everywhere in PR blogs and circles. She’s got some fabulous posts on her blog about measurement, and how perfect is it that she segues from the series on Influence last week. Thanks, Rebecca, for sharing your expertise here; I’m so jazzed!
Recently, Jayme wrote a great post which included some thought-provoking questions to start measuring your personal social media success (be sure to read the comments, too – tons of wisdom there). She also mentioned Klout as one tool she has used recently to measure her influence online.
I will be one of the first to jump at the chance to tell you why you should never rely on just one tool (especially an automated one) to measure influence. Influence is too contextual and situational. But that is certainly not my point today.
Personal success, much like influence, is entirely contextual and situational. This is never truer as when people, brands and companies search for the best ways to use social media. And so like influence, you just can’t automate the measure of personal success. Not with a single metric.
I joined Twitter in July 2009 when I was still a recent college graduate and searching for my place in this thing they call the workforce. Being a complete nerd, I literally wrote out the goals I had and how I would measure them. At the end of the day, my goal was to find a job, a company, a role that I fit into perfectly. But I was also looking to make a name for myself and share my passion with other nerds like me. I measured things like job offers and interviews, but also how many people referenced me as a thought-leader.
Everyone will have different goals for their own success in social media, but there will always be direct and indirect methods to show how far you’ve come. And it all starts with your goals. So let’s start there.
Standardize measurement of your personal success
1. Write your goals with pen. Goals don’t have to be nitty gritty. Think big picture. At the end of the day, if you were completely happy with your success, what would that mean? Would you have thousands of followers on Twitter? Would you be running a business through social media? Dream!
2. Define your terms. So let’s say you said you want to be a thought-leader. What does that mean exactly? Does that mean you’re well known? Does it mean your blog posts get read a lot? Maybe you are retweeted a bunch? This is where you get nitty gritty to really understand all the pieces that make up your goals. Think about setting time limits here, too. Do you want to be a thought-leader next week or next year? Give yourself time or even set smaller goals through the next year.
3. Find direct measures. Go through all of the pieces you defined above, and write down all the direct measures you know of. If you want to be retweeted more by next month, that’s an easy way to track, right? Using a tool like TweetDeck, HootSuite or CoTweet, you can easily find out how many times others share your thoughts. If you think there is a direct measure but don’t know what it is, do a bit of digging or ask around (even ask me). Don’t focus on finding an answer for everything, though!
4. Brainstorm indirect measures. For those terms that you just can’t find an easy way to measure, this is where you have to get creative. Something important to me was to be a source of expertise in measurement. I used the number of times someone recommended me as a person who might know the answer to track this. Not direct, but it’s close! If you’re a small business owner and want to increase foot traffic but can’t track your customers every hour of every day, try tracking foot traffic during lunch on Thursdays. If you see an increase, you can guess that overall traffic is increasing, and you can probably think up other ways to measure it more accurately, too.
5. Set yourself up to succeed. Once you have an idea of how you will be measuring, set yourself up to measure properly. If you want something to increase or decrease, make sure you measure a benchmark for comparison later. If you will need to use a tool to help you, sign up now and start tracking even if you won’t need the data yet. Trust me when I say measuring retroactively is much trickier.
How do you measure your own personal success? Even if you don’t take it too seriously, how do you measure progress?