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Factiva Social Media Roundtable

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[ Social Media]

Some random notes and thoughts during Factive’s Social Media Rountable.

There were people from Sun, Cisco, Text 100, Fleishman Hillard, Weber Shandwick (well, me), Stowe Boyd, Brian Solis, Podtech, Andy Lark, Jory Des Jardins / Blogher that were in attendance (plus others), and Jeremiah Owyang from Podtech helped germinate the idea and Daniela Barbosa from Factiva ran with it – and, in a way, yes it was a Factiva focus group.

The measurement of social media – how is the best way to figure this out, and Factiva reached out to figure out how to measure such social media the best way.

Do you want a centralized algorithmic or a localized, emergence type data. Is it just about interesting data points or simple data points – but since there is money being moved, you need to figure out what people are asking for, and what data they need to bring back to the bosses. In deploying social media, you need to figure out how to best measure the results.

What needs to be measured: relevance, influence, reach, audience …. What is the high influence, what is the audience measurement? Niche blogs might not have a high audience, but they are reaching the right people.

Relavence, influence and reach all have to do with the goal – what might be influential for one person and / or company might not be for other groups. It’s the metrics (a la Nielsen Netratings) versus goals and objectives (what the company is looking for as an end-result is probably most important). A community activation – a call-to-action from the blog or post. A conversion rate, a download of a PDF or maybe a podcast.

But is there a difference between reach and influence? Someone might not have reach but is influencing the right people. It’s the attributes of the audience. And participation – social media platform via comments, post a blog ….

How is traditional marketing transitioning into social media and marketing. Can you measure the same way? Is it possible to measure?

Should we even call it consumer generated media, or social media – or for that point, is it new media? Not everyone is necessarily a consumer (according to Stowe) – but I disagree. We are a consumer society, dammit. When you participate, there is no consumption but more production – it’s a wrong, silly term (Stowe again). But, he has a nice hat on today (see photo).

We broke out into brain storm sessions – here are those notes.

Beyond metrics – there needs to be a standard on how they are produced out there. Statistics are radically different – if there was a standard set, a consistency, there is an issue in reliability that needs to be addressed. A working standard on social media – getting people to adhere is hard to do to begin with.

Click-thrus, who are we reaching is the important question. How do we define this in social media. Podcasting – who is watching, how long they watching, what’s the dropoff rate? What’s the engagement there within Podcasts – a “lurk” index, in a way.

Very basic web metrics tools – if you have those – you apply it to a blog, you get nothing truly valuable. To connect the domain name to a user behavior or a company would be great – like the top 500 people that you want to reach.

Should CGM be measured and is it important?

For us, yes, of course we want to be able to measure it.

Who is creating social media? What are they creating? And is the “who” more important than the “what”?

Blogs, wikis for how-to sites, newsgroups, message boards – all to help each other use products. Have to consider who the company – there are 100′s of millions of people that are probably creating the content that is just for family, that is just being done for fun. Do you mean relevant to commerce and business, or who is just creating social media? You have to figure out and distinguish the relevance versus the cabin blogging person who no one is currently reading. How do you find those bloggers that you want …. So, tagging does become an important role. Isolate who is relevant discussions – by being involved that does help.

Somehow create a filter to tag the blogs, in a way of importance. Media itself is very structured. Quantity does not necessarily equal quality – specific influence.

If you are producing social media as part of your PR marketing plan, how do you measure ROI? Answered above.

Do you think that social media needs structured, mutually agreed upon measurement techniques and metics (eg MSM’s ad value equivalenceand article impressions) to make monitoring a more serious practice?

What kind of standards – transparency. How are stats created in a clear way … a level of confidence that this information is confident – the executives can pull it apart, and it still stands – it needs to be digestable . Start creating advanced statistics, such as reach, media signal (prominence, etc). What are the metrics, creating of algorithms. There needs to be some structure – but there is a softer side of measurement, some guidelines … flexibility, adapted by …. There is that pie-chart desirability, but is it possible. Resistance and uncertainty from advertising to PR, as the money switches hands. There are a ton of companies that are getting into measurement of social media, but needs to be an understanding. It depends on what you are doing – from the PR side, we are the first adopters bc it is lower risk and just part of outreach. Influencers is what PR is trying to figure out. CYA metrics – that’s what the corporate side also. The idea metrics – it’s a PR thing that wants.

So … what should be measured and how do you want it to be delivered?

In a simple way that can be modified for each companies / corporates needs. And, RSS to cut and paste into an email.

Thoughts from other breakout groups:

The metaphor that matters – a blogger is a blogger, even if he is a journalist.

ROI – no metrics, beyond engagement. None for new acquisitions, call to action, click throughs. Is there importance for these metrics, or is anecdotal information yet. Next year (prediction) is when company’s get over it – they are all looking for a decent metric, and page views is not the one. There has to be some better measurement, and 2007 is where it is going to likely going to come from. Engage or die.

Does ROI even matter – no one is going to ask for ROI on email or IM.

Who and what varies on the situation. Nothing is equal, not everything is quantified the same way, depending on the needs and interpretations.

Salesforce dashboards – the next board meeting, where you explain how many days it took to sell what and why. Should we measure – it depends, and why comes into play.

Open networks – open source metrics – the metrics to be embraced by them all. Need standardization, in order for there to be success. Paying for measurement is for the rich and the famous (it costs cash).

One of the who’s – it’s not about big far reaching community, but about narrow, gated community around the “who” more so than the “what” and vice versa.

There was a final overview at the end – see photo – that capsulated the whole thought about measurement and tracking, which is important in social media. It is something we all talk about, but are not thinking about solutions. Hopefully, there will be better than anecdotal solutions.

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Jeremy Pepper is the CEO and founder of POP! Public Relations, a public relations firm based in Arizona, USA.

He authors the popular Musings from POP! Public Relations blog which offers Jeremy’s opinions and views – on public relations, publicity and other things.

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