The revolution in human communication brought on by social media helped to usher in a new era of public relations that is measurement-focused and data-driven. With the rise of social media and digital technologies came an influx of relevant data to the public relations discipline.
However, the discipline at large is still trying to come up with widely applicable measurement criteria. The Barcelona Principles—which now include specific suggestions for measuring social media—do a good job at this, but they remain unknown to many communicators.
On top of this general confusion, many social networks offer their own native analytics, which don’t necessarily play nice with metrics from other platforms. To make sense of the often-disparate data, Sarab Kochhar, associate director measurement, APCO Worldwide, offers these best practices that communicators can apply across any social media measurement effort. With these tips, PR pros will be able to gather and analyze their data to align with business goals and build social media intelligence into organizational strategies.
Integrate insights from social media with other information sources
- Work across departments to create a collaborative environment for analysis.
- Separate your financial outcomes from non-financial outcomes. Each needs to be measured and interpreted separately.
- Maintain a list of everything you can measure against everything you must measure to make sure you’re focusing on what matters.
Align social media to business goals
- Differentiate between strategy and tactics by separating what you want to accomplish from how you’ll accomplish it. Set metrics for each strategy and tactic in the beginning to gauge progress, and adjust if necessary.
Plan for performance measurement
- Choose the tools and methodologies you’ll use to measure carefully. Make sure to select the right social media measurement software for your program.
- Set key performance indicators from the beginning that are aligned with specific business goals. Track these throughout a campaign but be on the lookout for blind spots.
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