Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Social Media Methodology and Metric Mania

In the last couple of days, my fascination with the social media trend has turned to establishing some repeatable paradigms around measuring the effectiveness of these tools in the B2B world. I continue to opine (quite firmly), that until a strategy around an organization's use of social media and network facilities is established, developing measurement criteria about their use is a futile and misguided effort. I can't, however, help being personally curious about whether or not my footprint with these tools has any relevance and how to discover the best ways to track interaction with my various 2.0 dabblings. Let me outline some initial thoughts re methods, using my own presence as a metaphor:

  1. What is Lisa's reason for playing in the social media world?

    Education. I need to evolve my understanding and skill-set re the Twitters (and the many accompanying tool-sets that support), Blogspots, Facebooks, Linkedins, Naymz, Nings, etc etc etc.

    Conversation. Both from a familial and professional standpoint, the various networks support my desire to communicate with with my professional friends and family, and colleagues across time zones, geography, and technical/technique barriers. The mechanisms available don't really care whether you are a Windows machine or an Apple, iPhone or a Blackberry, Eastern time or Pacific, etc., etc., etc.

    Efficiency. Although I posit that the barriers between my professional and personal personas are and should be breaking down, the social media world affords me the luxury of taking the same content and quickly altering and adjusting it for various audiences. My brother may not be interested in deep-dives in this social media topic, but I may want to alert him to the webinar event that I am moderating or particular blog posts. I belong to professional networks that are duplicated across Linkedin and Facebook, yet my profile in Facebook is not 100% available to members of these groups while my Linkedin profile is.

    Ego. I think that everybody wants to "hear" what I have to say and I don't have a global megaphone. J

    Advice and Comments. Despite the last objective, I do solicit and welcome constructive criticism and pointers from both my professional and personal associations. Barring sending out a survey to everybody I know about a variety of topics, I can easily accept and review solicited and unsolicited review of my opinions and interest via these tools.

  2. How is Lisa going to use all of these tools? (Although this seems similar to number one….bear with me)

    Keep friends, family, and colleagues updated on what is going on. I really despise and question the credibility of annual Xmas letters. Social networks afford me the ability to exchange up to the minute updates and information with a variety of people. I'm also saving trees by not sending out massive paper missives at set times throughout the year. I can tailor the information being exchanged to specific people and interests. Vice-versa, I can choose to alert myself to content in which I am interested.

    Determine whether anybody is interested in my opinion. By using alerts and statistics and rating and ranking, I can do some self-editing of my own content (I'm sure everyone is happy about this!) I'm currently playing with Hoot Suite and looking at "visits" to my various updates; I track my blogs for visits and commentary; I deploy various other tools of measurement for other footprints. If I mean what I say by welcoming constructive criticism, then I can use these measurements to customize my content and post about things in which people are interested rather than about things in which I think they should be.

I think that these types of questions about my personal interaction with social media and networking are very appropriate first steps for any organization that is contemplating these mechanisms as toolkits in their marketing, sales, and customer relationship practices. Just these two questions have driven me down a pretty structure path to formulating my own strategy and purpose for being "present" and certainly have enabled some filters around the various tools available for measurement.

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