This week I will be presenting and participating in two different sessions on evaluating efforts in social media. Measuring and articulating value and understanding social media costs are the focus of the upcoming web conferences. Here are my thoughts on the one of the first steps of evaluation--defining the goals.
Understand why you are using social media tools. If you do not understand why you’re using these social media tools, setting expectations will difficult and probably will end with disappointment.
Set goals. Setting goals gives you focus and motivation to keep working. Take time to explore and ponder what your goals are. Think of goals that align with your organization’s goals and how using social media accomplishes your organization’s mission. Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford Motor Company, recently described Ford’s social media efforts to Shel Israel in an interview .
We look for the brands that are the most respected in the social media space and aim to be part of that elite group. Scott Monty, Ford Motor Company.
Ford also looks at volume, news coverage, and consistency of impact, and listens to customers and fans.
Social media goals should not be separate from the organization’s goals, but should be integrated and aligned with the organization’s mission.
Understand what can be measured and compared. Measuring progress means understanding what should be measured and compared. Evaluating the impact of being social is difficult, at best, and some times impossible. There is not a measurement for connecting and building relationships that result in learning, becoming more confident, and building your credibility. Social media is not a stand-alone broadcast moment. The benefits, value and potential of integration and of others cannot be easily measured, but are important nevertheless.
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. Albert Einstein.
Decide goals and think about the objectives and tactics. Think of business goals. Articulate higher level goals and consider the objectives that might get you there. Do not choose only easy-to-measure metrics, such as increasing number of visitors, number of followers, etc. Consider other objectives that match the social component as well as business objectives. An objective of becoming more engaged may include tactics of engaging with a new person every day or blogging about something you learned from your customers every week.
Focus on goals. Over time, you’ll realize benefits of staying focus. Athletic teams’ goals are to win each game. Every batters’ goal is to get on base. Overall, teams win for only 50 percent of the time. An average, batters get on base less than 50% of the time. Preparing for games, playing the games, and attempting to make hits result in other benefits such as making progress in learning, adjusting, and long term strategies.
My presentation for Social Media Impact Evaluation is on Slideshare.net/aafromaa.
Ideas for this post came from HOW TO: Manage Social Media Goals and Expectations.
Photo Credit: Darcy McCarty http://www.flickr.com/photos/darcym/47498371/