Advancing communications measurement and evaluation

How to Measure Social Media Using the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework

Suggested Social Media Metrics Model

Rescuing Ourselves from Social Media Measurement Dinosaur-dom – Part Eight

By Angela Jeffrey—Today’s installation of my Eight Step Social Media Measurement Process is Step Five: Choose Tools and Benchmark using the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework. We will get down and dirty with a close look at two very different Valid Metrics Framework approaches. In fact, Step Five is so meaty, I can only address the Frameworks today, and will save the ‘how to’ tools for next month.

Again, the full Institute for Public Relations white paper with large appendices of specific tools is available at: “Social Media Measurement: a Step by Step Approach … using the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework.”

                       The Eight-Step Social Media Measurement Process

  1. Identify organizational and departmental goals.
  2. Research stakeholders for each and prioritize.
  3. Set specific objectives for each prioritized stakeholder group.
  4. Set social media Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against each stakeholder objective.
  5. Choose tools and benchmark (using the AMEC Matrix).
  6. Analyze the results and compare to costs.
  7. Present to management.
  8. Measure continuously and improve performance.

Now, on to…

Step Five: Choose Tools and Benchmark, Using the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework

At this point, a practitioner must decide who to measure against. Is it just his own organization over time, or is it against competitors? Then, he can coordinate his entire measurement program using the AMEC Valid Metrics Frameworks.

Introducing the AMEC Valid Metrics Frameworks: A Sample Template

The Valid Metrics Frameworks are a set of tables or matrices that organize the process of doing and measuring public relations programs into convenient, logical steps, and provide suggested metrics for each step. There are nine different Frameworks, one for each common type of PR campaign: Brand/Product Marketing, Reputation Building, Issues Advocacy/Support, Employee Engagement, Investor Relations, Crisis/Issues Management, Not-for-Profit, and Social/Community Engagement.

What makes the Frameworks so valuable is that they provide a very practical guide to the measurement of each type of campaign. They make it easy to select appropriate tools and measures for an organization’s KPIs through each stage of the campaign, and they encourage measuring real business outcomes.

To introduce the Frameworks, let’s first look at the sample template below. It is not specific to any type of campaign, nor does it have any metrics filled in, but it will serve to discuss how the Frameworks are organized.

Valid Metrics Framework Template

Sample Template for the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework

Along the vertical axis the practice of public relations has been broken down into three phases. These phases progress from simple but less desirable measures of PR activity, to complex but more desirable measures of PR’s impacts on its target audiences:

  • Public Relations Activity – Metrics that measure efforts in producing and disseminating messages.
  • Intermediary Effect – Metrics that measure third-party dissemination of messages to target audiences.
  • Target Audience Effect – Metrics showing the target audience has received the messages and any resulting action-driven outcomes.

The horizontal axis reflects what are commonly known as the five stages of Communications/Marketing, which progress from initial audience awareness to audience action:

  • Awareness – Are intermediary and target audiences aware of campaign efforts?
  • Knowledge – Are these audiences becoming clearer about the facts?
  • Interest – Are they giving consideration to an organization’s offer?
  • Support – Have they moved toward supporting the offer?
  • Action – Are they taking action in measurable business outcomes?

The ideal public relations campaign progresses through the three PR phases from top to bottom, and through the five marketing stages from left to right. Each actual Framework matrix includes metrics suitable to demonstrate a campaign’s success vertically (from simple activity to output and outcome results) and horizontally (through the five communications stages). The measurement of a campaign will be more effective the farther down one moves on the matrix, and the farther right one moves on the matrix. So the goal is to move diagonally across the matrix, from top left to bottom right, to the greatest degree possible.

The Social/Community Engagement Framework

Now let’s look at one of the actual Frameworks. Below is the Framework for Social/Community Engagement. (Click on it to see it larger.)

Valid Metrics Framework for Social/Community Engagement

The AMEC Valid Metric Framework for Social/Community Engagement

Notice the sample metrics in each cell of the Framework. You would never try to utilize all these metrics, but would simply choose metrics for the areas of your program that need to be focused upon. As always, the goal is to move diagonally across the Framework, toward measuring real Target Audience actions.

A Revised Model for Social Media Metrics

However, two difficulties arise from this initial Framework, causing a rethink:

  1. Is the “Communication/Marketing Stages” the most appropriate process to use for social media (the horizontal axis above)?
  2. Is the “Intermediary” row in the vertical axis valid for social media? After all, social media can serve as an intermediary channel or a target audience channel, so it is often hard to know which really applies.

As a result Don Bartholomew, SVP Digital and Social Media Research for Ketchum, and Richard Bagnall, CEO of PRIME Research U.K., suggested the following new AMEC Social Media Metrics Model that utilizes definitions that are rapidly becoming the standard for the industry. Like the original model, we still want to move across from left to right, measuring impact and even advocacy if possible.

 Suggested Social Media Metrics Model

Bartholomew and Bagnall then created two new Frameworks. To keep this brief today, I am selecting my favorite of the two, which gives guidance on using the “Paid, Owned, Earned” vertical axis with the Social Media Metrics Model above. See it below, and click on it to view it larger. To me, it is perhaps the easiest way to think about this, and to begin plotting your program.

Integrated, Paid, Owned and Earned

Bartholomew and Bagnall’s Integrated Paid, Owned, and Earned Table

The next installation will be a review of tools and metrics to use to address each area of the original Framework. But I did want to give you a taste of several ways to approach the task. Meanwhile, if you have questions or measurement needs, I’d love to speak with you! Send me a note at angela.jeffrey@salienceinsight.com.

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Angela Jeffrey

Angela Jeffrey

Angela Jeffrey is Vice President Brand Manager for Advertising Benchmark Index. A recognized measurement evangelist, thought leader, writer, and speaker for PR measurement and evaluation, Ms. Jeffrey created PRtrak™, one of the first analysis tools to cover print, broadcast, and internet coverage. Most recently, she served as Strategy Director US for Salience Insight and CARMA. She is also a long-time member of the IPR Measurement Commission. angie@adbenchmark.com
Angela Jeffrey
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