Social media has become a great tool for businesses to reach and communicate with supporters and customers. To reach them most effectively, businesses need to not only measure social media interactions, but to know which measurements are the most meaningful. Danielle Brigida, manager of social media at the National Wildlife Federation, will provide her insights at PR News’ Social Media Measurement Conference in New York on Oct. 2. In the following, Q&A, Brigida gives a sneak peek of what to expect at the conference.
PR News: How is the use of social media affecting how brands reach their business objectives?
Danielle Brigida: I think it may be helping them reach their objectives in new ways. I’ve watched the social space grow and morph into something that can be a great asset to people and organizations alike. I would encourage businesses to not switch their objectives to more social ones, but instead to think of how giving supporters or customers a chance to interact socially can improve the work you do. I’ve seen this done with new avenues for feedback, focus groups, customer relations and even donor development. I think social media is just an opportunity to explore and should be encouraged as a tool to reach business goals.
PR News: How does something as simple as the way a tweet is written affect an organization's campaign?
Brigida: I am constantly learning about messaging nuances on Twitter and other platforms. With limited characters you must think carefully about the message, with the goal that it gets shared. I have found that if I explain the content too much we will see a high number of retweets but very few click-throughs. However some of our tweets with the most click-throughs see lower numbers in terms of retweets. I’m continuously looking at data to figure out how to effectively message and get people not only clicking but also feeling like the message is worth sharing. The more you experiment and the braver you are, the better the results. Getting too comfortable with how you’re communicating can have a negative impact on your growth and hinder the benefits that social media provides.
PR News: What should companies be looking for when attempting to measure the success of consumer engagement?
Brigida: Remembering their end goals while not being too rushed for a return is a good approach to take. If you’ve not taken the time to learn about your community, it will be hard to see any real results. In terms of measurement, while it's important to stay focused on the bottom line and not the number of followers you have, it's also critical to your growth in engagement with your audience. Social media managers need to pay attention to the community data, while people higher up in the organization need to look at how social supports the larger picture—and I challenge leaders to go beyond financial impacts into other avenues. My job has been described as air traffic control, because I have the ability to guide supporters to the right parts of our organization. Using that as my inspiration, I’m constantly figuring out how to measure the impact I have across the NWF.
PR News: Where do you see the most mistakes being made when it comes to tying in social media with business goals?
Brigida: Forgetting to see the bigger picture happens quite frequently with social media. It’s easy to get caught up in measuring what’s easy and not what really matters. Don't just think about followers, tweets or impressions—look at qualitative data, too. On the same front, we will occasionally get impatient with social media as a tool for accomplishing business goals and discount its longer-term impact. So another mistake is forgetting that to see a business outcome, generally you have to invest in social media for a good length of time.
PR News: What’s a key idea/thought you want to leave the conference attendees with?
Brigida: That we have a fun and challenging time of change ahead of us. As customers turn into our friends and supporters, we’ll need to think about how we can serve them while allowing them to speak on our behalf, yet still maintain our business objectives. We also need to figure out how to cut through the all the online noise and then measure what differences we’ve made while doing it. The beauty of it is, as long as we continue serving the customer, experimenting and being a meaningful contender in the space, there is room for everyone and we can work together to figure out the best measurement techniques for success.
To learn more from social media experts like Danielle Brigida, register to attend PR News’ Social Media Measurement Conference on Oct. 2 in New York.
Follow Jamar Hudson: @jamarhudson