May 18, 2018

Measurement that Matters in the Digital Age

Engagement … the hot “buzzword” for those of us who work at the intersection of social/digital media and public relations. But what does it mean, really? And how do we measure it?

That’s a question I’ve been thinking about ever since I had the pleasure of attending PRSA Boston’s recent 2018 Social Media Summit.

During the event, one of the panelists was quite candid with her view on defining and measuring engagement. More specifically, that engagement is mostly arbitrary—arbitrary in the sense that passing “likes” or comments such as “OMG, so cute!” have become unconscious acts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter … the same way we open up our browsers to Google, and then Google “Google” (admit it, you’ve done this at least 3 times already today!).

Plug in “the psychology of social media” on any search engine and you’ll find a plethora of research reports, surveys, articles, etc. on the cause and effect of “likes” on social media. You’ll also find, as you read through the search results, two differing opinions: those acts matter, and those acts don’t matter.

I am a strong believer that those acts do matter, but on different levels compared to other forms of engagement.

For the clients we execute social/digital media programs for, likes and “cutesy” comments are often surface-level KPIs. It is that next level deeper where we can truly uncover valuable insights that feed strategies—the level where an individual consciously and thoughtfully engages a brand/business or individual on a digital medium by asking a question, adding their point of view, sending a direct message (DM), sharing a piece of content with their opinion, adding a relevant/helpful source link, or clicking through and signing-up for a newsletter.

But how do we measure or further dissect these conscious, thoughtful social engagement acts?

Authenticity, sentiment, and response/reaction are becoming valuable, highly sought after KPIs into today’s rapidly evolving digital world, but obtaining these metrics can be arduous and/or costly.

Here’s a few ways to go about it…

  • TrendKite, Simply Measured, and Sprout are putting in the work to provide agencies and brands the ability to glean insights on these very topics—and much more. Check them out!
  • Leverage the native measurement and monitoring capabilities offered by your social channels. You’d be amazed at what you can gather by digging into your own Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn data.
  • Free tools do exist! Research available options and use them to your full advantage. Here’s some info to help you get started via WordStream and Sprout.
  • Nothing beats a manual audit of your own social media content. If you haven’t hand audited the last 3-6 months of your posts, make the time to do so. Although time intensive, it is time well spent.
  • Call Denterlein! We use the above methods and tools (among others) to ensure that we are developing, executing, measuring, and optimizing data-driven social/digital media activations for our clients. Get in touch with us to learn more.