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measurementI recently came across an article about what public relations metrics aren’t worth measuring. Measurement is such an important part of PR, and it can be very time-consuming. Here’s what I gleaned from the article and some additional insight regarding on which public relation metrics are worth measuring.

In his opinion, Christopher Penn says there are a few things we shouldn’t spend time measuring, or even dwelling on, as PR pros. For instance, “we shouldn’t intensely measure things we have no control over.” As you may know, our public relations efforts are about raising awareness and building a positive image of a brand, not about increasing sales. He then goes on to explain, “don’t bother measuring what you don’t intend to act on.” Meaning, if you’re going to take the time to count and keep track of how many followers you have on Twitter then do something with that metric. Another good point raised was, “don’t measure things that don’t actually measure anything.” Penn explains that this “applies to measures and metrics that ultimately either have misleading meanings, such as ad value equivalencies, or metrics that don’t have meaning, such as passive impressions.”

With social media, what should we measure? Just like anything else, we measure our goals. It’s important to create personalized goals for each social media account. If there are no goals then what’s there to measure? Also, how can you justify your time spent on social media if you have no proof on whether or not you’re being successful? Having goals for number of followers, likes and visits are basic, but that’s not enough. Create semiannual goals. Track and record your progress every month and have a plan-of-action for what to do once you’ve analyzed your data.

Some general measurements we should track are Facebook likes. Measuring Facebook likes doesn’t tell much, but it’s important for telling whether fans like or don’t like the content being posted. When posting on Facebook, take some time to look through your reach for each previous post. To make a Facebook like relevant you need to pay attention to the engagement. Did you notice that some of your Facebook posts have a higher reach and amount of engagement than other posts? Try to formulate similar posts and content. Along with measuring the amount of followers, consider following them back and initiating a conversation. After you measure and record, remember to evaluate your efforts.

If you’re looking for measures that are more advanced then I have a couple tips as well that I learned from Nate Smitha from Simply Measured. Your social media accounts have a primary and secondary network. Your primary network is made up of those that follow you on Twitter or are Facebook fans to your page. Your secondary network is made up of those that are followers of your Twitter followers or friends of your Facebook fans. So, your secondary network is your potential reach. Understanding what your potential reach will help you better determine how to set your goals. The second tip, is to measure your competitions’ Twitter followers, which will “will lend perspective to how effectively you are growing your audience, letting you know whether you’re ahead of the game, or playing catch up,” Smitha explains.

Do you have any other public relations metrics to include that you find worthwhile in measuring?

Shelby Ray
Shelby Ray
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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