I was in Ottawa for a couple of weeks and Joseph Thornley of Thornley Fallis was kind enough to invite me along to the Ottawa Third Tuesday meet up. Nevermind, it was on the fourth Friday of October, it was still a great event with more than 75 people turning up for breakfast. I was particularly eager to hear what PR measurement guru Katie Paine had to say about evaluating social media.
Katie Delahaye Paine is one of PR’s leading measurement experts. She is the founder of KDPaine & Partners and, prior to launching the firm in ’02, she was founder and president of The Delahaye Group, an industry leader in business and communication intelligence.
Katie was an initial founder of the Institute for Public Relations special commission on measurement and evaluation. She served as the US liaison to the European Standards Task Force to set international standards for media evaluation. And she’s a Research Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. In short, she knows her stuff.
I first became aware of Katie last year when we were both panel guests on an FIR live phone in show. Since that time I’ve been reading her blog and have become a big fan. I like her down to earth style of writing and, it turns out, her presentation style is much the same.
She says, “Social media measurement doesn’t require new standards or new methods, just a new mindset. How the best measurement tools today are some of the oldest. Relationship surveys, content analysis, correlations and statistical analysis have all been around for decades, and we really don’ t need much more than those.”
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always been against measuring tactical output and believe that the focus should be on the achievement of core objectives. All too often, companies fail to grasp this and instead want to see Advertising Value Equivalencies (AVEs) or to have detailed activity reports including every phone call made and email sent. Sadly, all this does is take PR professionals off important work while delivering little relevant insight.
What is important is engagement. And engagement should be defined by linking social media interaction to hard business or organisational objectives.
Here’s a personal example. I really do love Aleksandr Orlov, founder of Compare the Meerkat. I’m a Facebook Fan and always check out new videos and other content published there. I think the campaign is clever and entertaining. But, I’ve never visited comparethemarket.com and have not purchased any insurance through the service. Am I engaged? Not if the whole idea of the campaign is to sell car insurance, that’s for sure. Not yet anyway.
Katie makes a lot of sense because she focuses on the fundamentals of organisational communication; not the cool technology nor fun gizmos. She was kind enough to post the slides from her talk here. You can buy her book here.
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