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5 steps to measuring social media PR campaigns

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 18th September 2012

A few months ago, I gave a presentation at a PRCA breakfast seminar focusing on social media analytics. The slides from the presentation are embedded below.

The central theme running through the talk was how to effectively put together a social media PR analytics programme that would accurately and meaningfully measure success and results.

In my mind, there are five very important steps to ensuring you have a social media PR analytics strategy that is effective. The five steps are as follows:

1. What does success look like?

It might seem obvious, but how many agencies and businesses fail to really think about the reasons for embarking on a social media campaign in the first place. The only way to properly analyse is to ensure you know what you hope this activity will achieve in the first place.

There are many different reasons for investing in social media and there will likely be different benefits. But knowing the ones that really matter to your company is vital.

2. Establish KPIs

Once you know what determines success, you can begin to think about the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will give you clues as to whether your objectives are being reached.

Again, it is clear to see how the importance of the first step is again underlined here. When it comes to KPIs, less is most definitely more.

One of the biggest benefits of digital PR is also one of its biggest weaknesses; we have so much data at our disposal, understanding the data that is important to a specific campaign can be hard.

It is clearly tempting to measure everything but that is a recipe for disaster (or at least very long nights). Take each objective and identify the KPI that will give indications of results.

3. Select your tools

One of the biggest mistakes of any analytics programme is to select tools first: “we have purchased Radian6, therefore we’re going to measure XYZ.”

Actually, again, the opposite is the best approach. You need to identify what data you need first (to measure your KPIs and your business objectives) before you begin to search for the tools that will accurately let you capture that data.

4. Turn analysis into action

Analysis for the sake of analysis will not get you very far. If KPIs aren’t delivering results, you need to identify why this is and put in place changes in your strategy to see if that has an effect.

If analysis doesn’t lead to action, there is no point doing it in the first place. Another great advantage of social media and digital PR campaigns is that, because data can be collected in real-time, it is also possible to make changes to strategy in real-time too. Don’t leave it to the end of the campaign to measure, measure all the way through.

5. Rinse, wash, repeat

Building on this last point, an analysis programme never ends. Constant analysis and constant tweaking of a campaign will ensure that final goals are reached.

Nothing should be set in stone. KPIs and even objectives can change depending on the results of your analysis. It’s a cyclical process that allows you to measure and improve on an ongoing basis.

Danny Whatmough