Elusive Impact

Measuring the impact of social media efforts seems to be an ever-evolving beast. As Dr. Rosenblatt explains in his blog series, “Measuring the Impact of Your Social Media Program,” and “Rules of Social Media Engagement,” social media is meant to generate support and disseminate your messages — and we need to gauge how much influence that is producing. As he writes, “Influence comprises several metrics, which can mostly be summarized within these categories:”

  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Driving web traffic home

As was pointed out, reach is largely those who saw, but not necessarily clicked on your ad, so the messages need to be clear and effective. Reach is one of the measures that is often the most impressive number of a campaign. This is because it is extended to include the people who have seen your message — as well as those who have potentially seen the message. Depending on how you measure this the number can be, shall we say “inflated” to encompass the largest potential audience. I am always a bit wary of how to measure reach in online campaigns. Have you all had any experience in quantifying digital reach?

I was pleased to learn about the many tools available to help us quantify our digital work. Measuring hashag usage as that is something I had not yet had to do, but I can now use it to help relate to a client how many potential people may have been exposed to a tweet when we incorporate hashtags (something that is still not complete clear to them, some big numbers might do the trick!) Backtype.com is another that I was excited to learn about and had some fun clicking around the site. It looks like they are starting up a paid service that will offer even more analytics — I look forward to seeing that advancements they offer.

I enjoyed the section on driving traffic back to your website, which is one of the hard-to-achieve goals of online communication because those visits could translate to sales, donations exposure of your issue or similar feats. Making it easy to visit a site, through a shortened link and ensuring the link is actually to what you advertise it is, is important to gain the trust of your valued social media audience member. I have a never-ending battle with a webmaster for one of my clients because he tweets links to his blogs about corporate news and images, rather than to the corporate site (for SEO purposes). Presenting a barrier to viewing the actual content is likely to make a visitor stop there and not continue on to find the content they had intended on viewing (especially in the case of his blogs, very link heavy and not clear as to what you should be clicking on).

Dr. Rosenblatt wrote, “And there is a great need to bring many of these disparate metrics tools into a central dashboard that makes collecting the data less time consuming and confusing.” This will definitely be something to look forward to — but until then we must develop personal combinations of tools and services that reflect the metrics important to us and our campaigns.


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