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July 23, 2012

Social Media Masterclass

Social media impact is elementary physics

F = m x a where F = force, m = mass, a = acceleration

Or more realistically, how about this?

F = (impressions + retweets) x speed of the internet

“Measuring ROI of social media” is a constant thread of discussion around the internet. Although it would be great fun (and quite possibly very lucrative) to put forth the magic equation that quantifies how much revenue your effort is earning, I honestly don’t believe this magical equation exists. In other words, I will put a dollar figure on social media when everyone else puts a dollar figure on answering the phone, responding to email, giving speeches, hosting webinars and producing an annual report. Cranky contrarian attitude aside, we must all measure our effort at work. So here is a rather simple way of keeping track of your efforts that will make sense to you (the person doing the work) and to the people who you will have to explain it to afterwards.

Measuring Social Media Mass

Remember when I asked you to create a Crowdbooster account a few weeks ago? Ok, go ahead and log into Crowdbooster and notice the circles of activity. These circles represent each tweet you’ve sent. Hover over a circle to see how many impressions the tweet received along with replies and retweets. The more impressions you get, the higher the circle. The more retweets you get, the further left the circle goes. The more replies you get, the fatter the circle grows. So as you tweet check back at Crowdbooster to see how your circles are moving in relation to your tweets. Keep in mind that most of your tweets are going to be in the bottom left (this means they were not retweeted by anyone.) However, it’s a good idea to aim for the top right, in particular, when you are posting links to more in depth content i.e.: blogs, project updates, videos, etc.

At the end of the month, I generate a graph to show all activity for said month and save it for reporting purposes. Then I can compare graphs month to month and see if my impressions and retweets are growing. Retweets can be seen as a very simple measure of influence whereas impressions are a measure of your brand’s reach. And, replies, are another means of engagement which we are not factoring in as they are not a strong indicator of influence or reach. In other words...

retweets+ impressions = social media mass

TIP: Practically all social media platforms have their own reporting methods but what is being measured tends to be fairly consistent.

Measuring the Speed of the Internet

To measure the speed of the internet, I can walk down the hall and ask one of our network engineers to tell me how long it takes to move an email from our office to Timbuktu. But that’s going to be a pretty dry conversation, won’t it? So what if I explained the speed of the internet in more human terms?

As a rule, I check EllisDon’s main social media platforms before I leave for work every morning. This particularly Friday morning, I did the same. By the time I got to work, the EllisDon twitter stream was full of things like ‘Smith at EllisDon’, ‘Smith says ‘xyz’, ‘EllisDon is... says Smith’ which sent me into Stage 4 freak out. Immediately upon seeing these tweets, I sent an email to the only Smith at EllisDon who can cause such a Friday morning fracas that said ‘Are you giving you a speech, right now? You’re all over the tweeter’. (Geoff) Smith’s response ‘Yah. What’s the feedback?’ Now what is interesting here is that I found out about the speech while he was on stage and he got his feedback within minutes of leaving the stage...and his speech was in Georgia while I was in Toronto.

Yes, this story is pretty harmless and thankfully at the end of the day we all got a pretty good laugh out of the situation. But, in construction, communication is not always a laughing matter. Cranes fall, propane explodes, ambulances arrive on site and this all happens and gets posted to the internet before you get the person in charge of emergency communications on the phone. So, although I can’t give you a number for how fast the internet is, let’s safely assume it’s 100 times faster than your usual corporate communications.

So what exactly is the Force of Social Media?

A well executed social media presence, when combined with the speed of the internet, will result in your message hitting the intended audience with great impact.

Social Media Masterclass is a collaborative initiative developed by Reed Construction Data and EllisDon. Christine Zakrajsek is EllisDon’s social media manager. Social Media Masterclass appears every Monday in the Daily Commercial News and the Journal of Commerce. Please send any emails to editor@dailycommercialnews.com or editor@journalofcommerce.com

Social Media Masterclass

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