Category Archives: Resources

Resources, links and other information for building, engaging and communicating with coalitions of stakeholders who can help you solve your problems and achieve your goals.

My life on the D-List

One thing unites all bloggers – the obsessive search for stats and feedback that, at a minimum, prove they aren’t the equivalent of some loon haranguing an empty sidewalk in Hyde Park.

So here are some easy online stats generators that you can use either for self-aggrandizement or for measuring and fine-tuning your professional or organizational blog or online presence:

  1. Conduct a weekly Facebook search on your, your organization and your competition (ditto for whatever social utility you use).
  2. Go to www.xinureturns.com and see how your URLs rate.
  3. Visit www.compete.com and see how you stack up against the competition.
  4. Go to http://www.kineda.com/are-you-an-a-list-bloglebrity/ to rank your “bloglebrity status.”
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In case you’re counting: eight more social media metrics

If I’m a little OCD-ish these days about measuring social media effectiveness, I’ve got a reason.

The decision makers I often work with are skeptical of Web 2.0.  They have at least a vague sense that it is a field of endeavor on which they need a substantial presence.  However, they often are of a generation for whom social media is not broadly familiar or attractive. Additionally, they often work on initiatives or in organizations where caution is a desirable and appropriate thing.

Besides their social media skepticism, they share another trait.  They’re almost universally driven as decision makers by cold, hard numbersparticularly if those numbers can be contextualized with how they represent progress towards organizational goals.

So measurement rationale, strategies and methodologies are always on my reading list – at least until a short upcoming combo business/pleasure trip to Berkeley brings fiction back into my life for five days.

And that’s why here are eight more social media metrics rather than a review of the newest Great American Novel:

  1. Unique visitors — human log-ons minus duplications indicates reach.
  2. Duration — length of stay demonstrates reach and intensity of engagement.
  3. Inbound links — a high “link to” count demonstrates credibility and influence. 
  4. Downloads — video views, document downloads, etc.  are measures of engagement.
  5. User ratings — user-generated rankings such as star ratings and favorites show credibility, influence, reach and engagement.
  6. Conversation — chat, comments and conversation indicate engagement and impact.
  7. Return visits — frequency of return visits displays credibility, influence and “stickiness.”
  8. Next clicks — where visitors go next can indicate credibility and satisfaction (satisfied – may go to unrelated topic site; dissastisfied – may go to related, perhaps oppositional, site).

Helpful research tools and tips

It’s easier to build trust and motivate people when you can marshal and provide the right facts; that is, information that strengthens rather than distorts public decision making.  

Sometimes, however, it’s difficult to figure out just where to find that information.  That’s when something like the  Journalist’s Toolbox comes in handy, as we’re reminded by Poynter Online.

Found at the Society for Professional Journalists, the Toolbox provides an extensive collection of links to search tools, election coverage, First Amendment issues, jobs, education resources (high school and college), Investigative Reporters and Editors and other data/statistics sites, and links to topical issues (terrorism, floods, etc.).

The Journalist’s Toolbox is available at journaliststoolbox.org) or from SPJ’s home page. Its list of categories displays the number of posts per category, and allows you to link directly to a particular topic, so you can bypass the front page if desired.

Social media “hmms” and thought starters

Social media tools and insights were the draws for nearly 60 people nationwide who recently attended or videoconferenced in on a Web 2.0 luncheon presentation hosted by the Public Involvement Group I lead at HNTB.

The material presented by Mike Lundgren of VML provided participants with a great rationale and a road map for developing a highly effective, holistic Web 2.0 presence.

Although I can’t share with you the presentation itself, Mike graciously provided copious links to related examples and information, which I provide here as thought starters:

Meanwhile, mega kudos to Robyn Arthur, for organizing and managing the very successful event; those who know Robyn and her work know that excellent outcomes are typical of all she does.

Prospecting for volunteers

Public involvement professionals often are challenged to find new faces and perspectives to serve as community or stakeholder representatives on advisory boards, study groups and the like.

But research conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau finds that volunteers are almost three times more likely to engage in any community organizational activity. Community organizational activities include formal and informal volunteering, religious and spiritual activities, group participation, and a variety of other civic activities.

On average, recent volunteers spend about 218 hours per year engaged in such activities, compared to 78 hours for non-volunteers and only 50 hours for former volunteers.

These findings suggest that those who are compiling their list of steering committee candidates might want to add to their list of criteria a current accounting of the individuals’ volunteer status to identify who might be most willing to participate and, more importantly, to devote adequate time to the effort.

Les Measurables

Web 2.0 tools may be the 1.21 jigawatt flux capacitor driving the efforts of those who build and maintain networks and coalitions.

But for all the space-age hoo-hah, most organizations deploying the tools still rely on an old and increasingly outdated performance measure of their efforts: raw numbers of contacts.

Many organizations just zero in on site hits, page views, YouTube visits, Facebook activity and the like. After all, they’re easy to count, thanks to technology.

The problem, of course, is that such numbers tell you nothing about the impact of your social media discussions.  Ask the peasant  Jean Valjean what matters most in his life:  the detached love and respect of those who know him as Monsieur Madeleine or the dogged engagement and pursuit of Javert?

I’m guessing the obsessive, inexorable and measurable actions of the Inspector.

The real value of electronic outreach is found in the measured nature, intensity and duration of engagement.  Do you quantitatively know the answers to such questions as:

  1. Do stakeholders engage in an online dialog with you through comments, questions and surveys?
  2. Are people staying to learn by downloading your materials or following links?
  3. Are they advancing your agenda by reporting actions taken or responding to calls to action you request?
  4. Are you evolving your goals and actions in response to their feedback in specific, documentable ways?  
  5. As a result, are you accomplishing your goals in ways that are seen as generally beneficial to those most affected based on comment and blog content analysis?

In other words, the real measures of success are found in numbers more complex than total visitors and in actions more concrete than simply launching a browser bookmarked to your site?

Tracking and comparing mind share

One way to measure the vitality of a project or initiative is to track and compare the mind share it possesses in relation to other competing ideas. 

Mind share – how often people are thinking about some and in what way – is one kind of fuel for motivating and growing your networks and coalitions.

Here’s a quick, easy tool for accomplishing this: http://www.perspctv.com/

This site lets you compare ideas, projects, products and more based on Internet searches, media coverage and the like.

Kudos to Nancy Parker for the tip.