Evaluating Social Media

Alison Crowley, senior account executive, Clarion Communications

How PR campaigns are evaluated is changing as quickly as new social media groups are being dubbed ‘the Next Facebook’. With the arrival of the likes of Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest, traditional models for evaluating the success of an entire PR campaign are proving insufficient in dealing with the wide variety of digital coverage with which modern PR campaigns are generating i.e. ‘Likes’, ‘Retweets’, ‘Followers’ and ‘Repins’.

Nothing is more infuriating than seeing a campaign trend on Twitter or the number of followers of a brand’s Facebook page skyrocket - and then not being able to evaluate its success without an industry standard. Take McDonald’s for example: most will say its #McDStories was a complete disaster - but having trended on Twitter for so long and received international attention, do these results change things?  Before an industry standard can be set, us PR professionals cannot allow all our brainstorming, pitching, constant updating, deadline setting and coverage achieving to go to waste - we must use other methods to evaluate this online success rather than just ‘multiplying by three’.

Many have recommended a variety of tools: making use of analytics (Google or otherwise), measuring customer interaction, measuring influence through Klout, measuring traffic flow to sites and pages and most important of all, measuring call to action.  It seems it’s only a matter of time before there’s an online media evaluation tool which can measure the total impact of a full social media campaign.  Fingers crossed for our sakes.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Alison and you raise a good point. Too often I hear a new generation of Social Media Executives gloat about the “number” of followers and ReTweets they have, but very few can answer the question I ask next- What was the ROI for the campaign?

    Although personally I feel at present a Klout score can be easily influenced by someone who understands the tool well enough, which can essentially make it misleading, I believe it will develop into a great standard for benchmarking.

    Currently I find a simple, but well thought out mixture of tracked short URLs, Google Analytics and short feedback forms gives me great insights into our return on social media.
    Having said that, I look forward to a tool which provides insights into which social media messages provide the best response and illustrates the journey engaged individuals take towards a brand.


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