The Myths of Social Media Measurement

Victor Aimi

Providing solid, meaningful results of all PR initiatives is more important than ever for communicators. In this era of smaller budgets, all activity must have a clear connection to your company’s goals as well as the top and bottom lines.

Victor Aimi, corporate communications director, Microsoft Latin America, has broad PR tasks. But he’s got a doozy when it comes to measurement: he covers a region that spans Brazil, Mexico and all other countries in South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Aimi, who will be a speaker at PR News’ One-Day Boot Camp for Emerging PR Stars on March 18 at The Westin Diplomat Resort in Miami, shared some of his insights about PR measurement.

PR News: What are some of the key measurement and metrics principles that all PR pros should be aware of? 

Victor AimiAs they say, “Metrics drive behavior.” The key principle is that your measurement system will reward you for certain things and penalize you for others. You need to make sure you are aware of what both are and adjust your system to reward you for achieving your PR goals, which need to be intimately related to your organization’s image goals. 

PR News:What are some of the most common measurement mistakes being made PR professionals?

Aimi: No matter if you are willing to dump your entire operational budget into measurement, it is impossible to monitor everything nowadays. Information is the fastest growing thing in the world and that is a race you will not win. Yet, most PR measurement programs optimize for quantity—number of articles, impressions and ad value—instead of quality: did the message go through? Contrary to popular belief, a report focused on quality doesn’t mean a report without numbers, but with numbers that reflect the attainment of your image goals.

PR News:How is social media changing—for better and for worse—the current measurement landscape?  

Aimi: Social media has made it obvious that you cannot measure everything. By the time the report is out, the painstaking social media information it contains will be old, even if you report the same day. At the same time, thanks to social media you could now attempt to achieve your image goals without going through traditional media. That is why, for PR people, social media is at once the most liberating thing in the world and the main source of panic. It is interesting that many reporters feel the same way.

PR News:What are the most important lessons about writing that you want to share with Boot Camp attendees on March 18?

Aimi: The key premise I want to explore is that different PR campaigns and programs require different kinds of PR reports. There are no perfect reports, but convincing reports that show the value of your PR program in a consistent and predictable way. The design of these reports is a key part of your PR program, no matter what organization you are in.

If you’re a rising PR star seeking a one-day immersion in the key subject areas in PR, register now for PR News’ March 18 One-Day Boot Camp for Emerging PR Stars.

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg