May 13, 2010

Engagement Matters

How many times have you heard, “the more you put into it, the more you get out of it?” Or maybe, “the more lines you have in the water, the more fish you catch?” Seems pretty basic, right? Well, it holds true for reaching your audience through social media too. How much return (ROI) you see with social media engagement depends on the depth and breadth of that engagement. This can be measured and quantified according to Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang), Altimeter Group. Owyang was a keynote at PRSA’s Digital Impact Conference in NYC, May 6-7.

Check out to see your company or organization’s brand stacks up to other “engaged” brands. To improve your ROI and “engage-o-meter,” Owyang says you have to focus on your Rings of Influence which include prospects, customers, employees and your overarching brand. None can be overlooked. To do so limits your ability to share and engage.

Here is a break-down of each ring and some tips on how to engage each ring. (from smallest reach ring of influence to largest):

Brand – enable your top execs and CEOs to speak on their own (ie: blog, twitter, etc.), BUT supply them with talking points, help, etc.

Employees – establish guidelines that encourage social media interaction, but protects both the brand AND the employee.

Customers – they are already talking about your brand, so develop an advocacy group to recognize and reward your top customers (Note: do not reward with cash, do not pay for positive word of mouth); and realize that criticisms can make your product better.

Prospects – this group includes those aware of your brand AND those unaware. Monitor what is being said about your brand. To engage prospects, go to where they “hang out” on the web and engage them there in conversation (not a sales pitch).

How do you quantify your social media engagement in numbers? I’m finding this to be essential in gaining the understanding and respect of top-level executives or those who just don’t understand this “new” way of communication. If you have some a budget, check out evolve23 , it has a truly comprehensive suite of social media analytic tools. At the Digital Impact Conference, Scot Wheeler with evolve24, discussed the ways they measure social media.

To simplify, Evolve24:
1) Weights scores of brand-specific sentiment, influence and reach (formerly known as circulation)
- Wheeler says each social media tool is given a reputation score and then they are added together as well.
2) Starts each day counting these things at zero
3) Then uses equity to add each day’s score to get a total reach

I use a much less in-depth system for calculating total social media reach at my workplace. My research is usually topic-specific. For example, I pick a story that I published out on a variety of social media sites, then I track how many times it was Tweeted, re-tweeted, posted on Facebook, blogs, etc. I consider my Twitter followers, Fanpage Likers and LinkedIn group members, blog subscribers to be among my “circulation” which I refer to as “direct reach.”

Each time my post is shared with others or re-tweeted, I consider this “indirect reach” because it was shared by another person, hence not directly. Direct reach has a lot more credibility than the indirect reach. I clearly make separate mention of those in my final report. To get my “total reach” I add both the direct and indirect reach. Also, aiding my efforts is a url tracker ( to support my numbers. Contact me for a sample of what I’m talking about or to share what you are doing to track and measure your social media efforts. I’m happy to share and am always looking for ways to improve my qualitative research. Contact me at: or @clairefaucett on Twitter.

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