Six Ways To Challenge Best Practice Plus Measurement

Check out what Robert Rose, founder and chief troublemaker at Big Blue Moose (who helps marketers become storytellers), has to say in Chief Content Officer…I am so blown away because it’s making me think, think, think, and the below is merely a reaction to pages one and two of the article!

His headline had me at the top — “Why a hyper focus on measurement and incremental gains makes marketers average.” Really? That’s awesome.

If you know me, you’ll know I kick and scream all the way to analytics, and that includes measurement. Now, don’t tell Shonali, Rebecca Dennison or Neicole Crepeau I said that.

What Rose says is that everyone is striving for best practices and that’s about it.

Can I repeat that? Here’s what Rose said in Chief Content Officer, and it’s all appropriately attributed:

“Content marketers in particular seem to be in the grips of ROI monomania. …What we’re really looking for are best practices; they’re safe. Whenever we’re trying something new like content marketing, we become so focused on following best practices that we forget our real job is to be innovative.”

I love this insightful approach to best practice. When I worked in a hospital, each service line was oriented to best practice. Put the solution into action, perfect it, and then travel the country lauding its inner workings so others can emulate it.

Think about how that works — you get the recipe for a best practice, execute on it while following the formula, and call it a day. Infrequently, do people exceed or push the limits of the best practice because really all that’s required is to meet expectation.


In this day and age, when status quo has eroded, it’s imperative we always push the boundaries and exceed comfort levels to earn a level of excellence not previously attained. That’s the essence of what Rose is saying, “…we are saying that we’re satisfied with being average.”

Do you agree?

Rose offers a list of six tips that help you turn the status quo on its head, and I’m not going to recap them because they’re really good and I have to come up with my own. Basically, here is what I recommend to heed Rose’s counsel and buck the average:

>Stand on your head. What’s north is south, and what’s south is north. Change up the bird’s eye view and put on the rose-colored glasses.

>Delete all your followers; how’s that working for you @ChrisBrogan? When you make an extreme change with gusto, you’re bucking best practice and changing it up.

>Stop commenting on the same blogs day in and day out; in fact, stop commenting. What will happen? Will you have an epiphany that you really do like the social webs and can’t wait to get back? Or, will no one miss you at all, and you’ll burrow deep into depression and hibernate for winter? You’ll certainly learn about personal behavior if you do this exercise.

>Find a new hang out. There are groups and cliques and alliances and networks; doesn’t matter how they’re labeled. If yours is inactive and you’re bored to death, then switch on outta there and find some new energy! Align with those who boost you up and not with those who bring you down!

>Get zany creative during a campaign. I read somewhere a young ad agency account rep actually brought kitty litter and her cat to the pitch (they were pitching kitty litter). When her cat used the product, the client was turned off but the agency VP thought it quite clever.

>Go out on a limb and then break it. If you stick your neck out, and you’re really heading out on a limb, keep going until you push the boundaries a few times. Get comfortable and then do it all over again.


Another final observation, and this one may have me going out on a limb…heh. is about measurement. I’m going to blame Chief Troublemaker Robert Rose for this ramble:

When peeps are so focused on proof of campaign smarts, they need tried-and-true deliverables with measurable tactics.

If a new tactic is incorporated into a best practice, can it be measured immediately? Won’t new metrics have to be established and proven over time? I’m asking…

So, maybe content marketing programs aren’t required to have direct ROI. With best practices and average innovation, measurement has a solid place to do its thing; when new concepts are added to the mix, measurement gets thrown a curve ball. Time is required to clock and tick and tally to incorporate innovative ideas into an even better best practice.

So…maybe, just maybe…measurement should be relegated to the sidecar for awhile? Just sayin’ and askin’ all at once…what say you?



Standardize (Don’t Automate) Personal Success Measurement

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?

Proving You Can Measure Social Media

“You can’t really measure the ROI of social media.”

I heard this eye-popping phrase at a local social media panel about “Social Media and the Media.” The panel consisted of an impressively tenured reporter, a multimedia content producer for a local news station and newspaper, a professor of communications, and a recent graduate who was fortunate enough to have landed a marketing job for a digital news purveyor.

All four discussed how social media was transforming journalism and their jobs. (Several people in the audience were pretty unhappy about the “tainting” of journalism, but that’s for another post.) All four panelists were adamant that journalists needed to incorporate social media into their jobs – that it was very important.

Yet when asked about, “How are you measuring success?” not one of them could really answer the question. That was when someone spoke of the inability to measure ROI for social media. I was even so bold to raise my hand and ask, “Do you mean to tell me you don’t have metrics that you report on to your bosses?” and they all assured me quickly that they did, but they didn’t say what they were specifically.

I want to set the record straight. Yes, you can measure the impact of your social media. Yes, you can measure the ROI of social media. A lot has been written about this, so I won’t reinvent the wheel here.

First off, it’s worth mentioning – Olivier Blanchard has written an entire book about this, Social Media ROI . I think it’s safe to say the book came out of this PowerPoint which has been popular with social media people since I’ve been involved (two years ago now), and possibly before. It’s a good place to start if you’re thinking on how you can prove to, say, your CFO that this is something worth doing.

Overwhelmingly, the advice you’ll find when you ask a social media consultant about measurement is “first you have to decide your goals, then you decide what to measure.” Hey, Gini Dietrich says it right here and then tells you how. Here  Mack Collier gives you some specific measurements you can make against specific goals – even if you’ve already gotten started, it’s not too late.

Rebecca Denison blogged here about measuring your personal brand. In this post, Rebecca walks you through how she measured her brand – and you can take her logic and apply it to your business situation, as well.

One of my favorite posts about picking a metric to use is Stanford Smith’s post about Klout and how social media experts are really good at pointing out the problems with certain metrics – and makes the case for the Klout score, something every social media expert should at least be familiar with. There are other influence measurement tools, but I really like the data that underlies the Klout score best.

Brian Solis weighed in on the ROI of social media last year here. It’s a long read, but the payoff is worth it.

Are you a nonprofit? Don’t worry, you can do it, too. Beth Kanter, who is something of a celebrity in the nonprofit and social media space, wrote just recently about this here — within the post is a link to Beth’s recent presentation on social media ROI for nonprofits – a great read.

So, that’s where I’d start. Did I hit the mark with measurement? What information would you share with my fellow audience members about social media measurement?


Calculating YOUR Social Media ROI

Inspiration for blog posts comes from such odd places; I glommed on to this one as it rolled off my tongue on a call. I told a colleague Twitter had saved me from a slow death in a dark office. My love of Twitter is no secret:

A global community of intellectuals

  • New friends with whom to banter and pose odd questions

Information and collections of learning for my professional development

A network of experts on chats, like #SBT10 with whom to ask basic questions without fear and so much more.

My colleague then said, “You be careful, Jayme. I hope you’re making money as a result?” And, I said, “Nope, I haven’t asked. ROI on Twitter isn’t always about money.”

That’s when I realized the nugget for this post. How do you define your social media ROI? Forrester  is selling a report with nearly the exact same title. (Promise, I didn’t know it until seeing the direct e-mail in my box after I wrote my headline and post.)

ROI comes in various shapes and sizes.

My friend Mark W. Schaefer who writes the amazingly successful {grow} blog with a hyper-engaged community states it wisely, “There are many business benefits that come from Twitter. It could be information, competitive intelligence, a new supplier or partner, a deal, a link, or yes, even a sales lead.” (I encourage your perusal of this link to Mark’s blog regarding his post today about the power of Twitter consumers.)

Defining ROI is usually akin to financials i.e. revenue and profit. For me, social media (Twitter and blogging) have always been defined as brand development and thought leadership. One would argue these are metrics… exactly…because return on investment is about measurement via metrics that may not always directly correlate with the bottom line and profitability. 

If you’re a SMB (small-to-medium business), determining how social media influences your business is easier to ascertain, and you can create your own value-based metrics that align directly to your business model and culture.  

How about these as examples:

  • A re-tweet 40 times of a blog post announcing a product or service leads to five inquiries on your Web site. (That’s ROI.)
  • A new person you met on Twitter becomes your next employee because you developed rapport, engaged in conversation over time, and took a chance on hiring. You saved money with no job listings, no recruiters, and communicated directly with the candidate. (That’s ROI.)
  • A blog post written by someone at the company garnered a call by a respected partner in your vertical market interested in collaborating on an upcoming project. (That’s ROI.)

I may’ve backed myself into somewhat of a corner trying to define ROI via measurement values versus dollars, but who are we to tie a bow around a box and define it traditionally? Social media has spawned out-of-the-box thinking and so, too, should it pave the way for  creative definitions of ROI suited to your business.

However, when you’re not the boss, perhaps it’s safer to get out the box with the pretty ribbon?