Yesterday I presented on measuring social media activity at the Epic Social Media for the Public Sector conference in Exeter. I hope people found my presentation useful and not too dull but I thought I’d share the basis of what I said here.

Magic Numbers: Measuring the Quality and Quantity of your Social Media Activity

This presentation was really a basic introduction to measurement and evaluation and hopefully fitted with the other presentations around strategy and practical tactics in the channel.

I proposed a six point plan to dealing with measurement:

  1. Why measure? What is your definition of success?
    This is the bit that fits with devising your strategy and objectives (either generally or for a campaign)
  2. What to measure. Setting your Key Performance Indicators.
    I suggested thinking of KPIs as questions you want answered about your objectives and maybe having a couple per objective.
  3. Choosing your tools.
    I briefly covered some of the tools you might already have but aren’t using for this purpose (like Google Analytics or a media monitoring tool), platform analytics like Facebook Insights and other things you could tap into like TweetReach.
  4. Crunching numbers – gathering and evaluating quantitative data
    I covered the pros and cons of measuring with numbers and counts of friends, followers and fans. I stressed the point that huge numbers of followers don’t equal huge success and banged on (perhaps too much) about making sure your numbers aren’t a skewed vision (knowing how many of your followers are real, how many of the real followers are active, and how many of your real and active followers engage with what you say).
  5. Telling stories – gathering and evaluating qualitative data
    Again, it was the pros and cons of measuring this way and what sort of data you might be looking at capturing. I talked briefly about sentiment measurement (which could probably stand a 25 minute discussion of its own) as well as taking conversations and using them in your evaluation to tell a story.
  6. Evaluate, learn and adjust.
    I briefly introduced this step at the end to try and show that measurement is a cycle and that you need to adjust as you go along. The internet, social media, the way people use the them both and what you want to achieve are all likely to change over time and so your measurement should adapt too.

There was a lot to pack in and I know that this can be a dry subject for many people but I’m hoping people found it interesting, not too patronising and are able to take something useful away from what I said. The slides will probably be on the Public Sector Web Network website at some point!

My view of the rest of the day

One of the things I love most about being asked to speak at a conference like this is that I also get to attend and hear great presentations from people I admire and am regularly inspired by in the sector. This was a great part of yesterday for me with presentations by Al Smith, Dan Slee, Carl Haggerty and an interesting talk by Looking Local (all ably chaired by Ben Proctor).

I really enjoyed the round table discussions during the afternoon as well. It was great to meet a lot of new people who are all doing exciting things, or want to, in order to make local government a bit better (particualarly in a digital way).

Al and I were part of the table discussing digital comms and approaches to winter service and through the three sessions this conversation covered a lot of ground, not all of it snowy! We spoke about winter service and examples of how social media can support the communication and customer service effort during this period as well as how it can be managed within an organisation.

We also spoke about crisis comms; the relationship between those in service areas and any corporate comms team; opening up your data and letting other people fix it and do interesting / useful stuff with it; and, pleasingly for me, content strategy.

In fact, what I felt through the whole day was that most of what we were talking about came back to content strategy – creation, curation, delivery and governance. We were talking specifically about content destined for the social media channel but it was content strategy none-the-less. People aren’t calling it content strategy and I don’t think we all realise that this is what we’re talking about most of the time (content strategy: it comes in many guises and by many different names!) but we are and that’s good.

Not only that but we seem to be talking about user-centred, evidence-based content strategy which is even better (and a Full House on Buzzword Bingo)!

I’ve learnt a lot and heard many interesting things from people down in the south west and I’m really excited to see how they put what they learnt and heard yesterday into action.

Thanks to Public Sector Web Network and Kind of Digital for inviting me to speak and organisation.

Content strategy for local government

In case you didn’t know, Carl Haggerty and I are setting up an online community space for discussions and knowledge sharing about content strategy in local government (with the support of PSWN and Kind of Digital).

We’re currently running a survey which we hope will lead to some of the discussions when we open the community space up later this month. It’s only a few questions long and it doesn’t matter whether you think you know what content strategy is or not – if you are interested in digital in local gov then please do fill it in!

You can find the survey here – thanks!