Tag Archive for strategy

Good Community Management Helps Shine Rainbows Over the Stormy Twitterverse

The Case Study: When the Twitterverse Turns on You outlines a social media campaign on Twitter for Canadian Jet, a fictional airline with a lackluster reputation. The plan was to use the hashtag #CanJetLuxury for a Twitter contest that would reward the user who posted the most creative tweet with a set of round-trip tickets. It sounds innocent enough but those who work in the Twitterverse know that brand-sponsored campaigns are easy prey for trolls and disgruntled customers.

After a few short hours, the hashtag was hijacked with accusatory tweets such as “Arriving a day late to your daughter’s wedding #CanJetLuxury.” The team went into a panic. The article closes by asking if they should throw in the towel.

So, Should Canadian Jet Cancel the Contest?

Absolutely not. By definition, a campaign is a systematic course of aggressive activities (dictionary.com). It is not a Twitter announcement followed by second thoughts.

online_community

When you bring your branded message into Twitter’s public stream of consciousness, you should not expect sunshine and rainbows. You expect to create the sunshine and rainbows.

After all, isn’t that what community management is about –bringing dazzling experiences to people? Helping them discover why they love you, over and over again?

The problem posed in this case study is only a problem because the company’s conversation about what to do when faced with negative tweets was supposed to happen long before the campaign launched. This failure to plan raises questions about their Twitterverse aptitude.

Want to check your readiness for the Twitterverse?

Here are Five Diagnostic Questions About Your Twitterverse Aptitude

  1. Are you energized by the opposition? Andrea Kemp, the company’s account manager from Wrigley & Walters who advised Canadian Jet, thrived in this high-pressured environment.
  2. Do you know what you are getting into? Critics can reduce your beloved hashtag into a mere “bashtag” if you mismanage the campaign.
  3. Do you see the glass as half full or as half empty? Do you disregard positive tweets when faced with a negative one? (Warning: In cases like  #AskJPM the glass was quickly emptying. Recognizing that shows your realism, not pessimism.)
  4. Do you give the silent treatment? Social media is inherently social so if you are not prepared to respond to what is in front of you this might not be the best venue.
  5. How is your agility? Be responsive to changing conditions when sailing through the Twitterverse. This does not mean that you cannot plan. It simply means that your plan needs to account for the possibility of inclement weather.

What Can We Learn?

There are three lessons to be learned from this case study.

  1. #CanJetLuxury was out of touch. While the campaign was a great way to breathe life into their brand, it seems like organizers expected the announcement  of the Twitter contest to absolve them of any hostility that had developed in the previous years.
  2. They gambled. They did not have a plan in place for negative tweets, even though they were aware of the risk.
  3. They held a meeting when they should have been tweeting responses. They should have countered the negative tweets immediately, rather than reassessing the campaign as a whole.

Have you ever suspended a campaign? We would love to learn about your experiences in the comments below.

Listen up!: Using comments, blogger outreach, and ambassador programs to build your community

When trying to grow or maintain your community, it is essential to provide your audience with unique opportunities to interact with your brand. Comments, blogger outreach, and ambassador programs are all paths through which a CM can better connect with the community. Read on to see what I’m talking about.

Comments
Read between the lines

As if it hasn’t been said enough times, Buzzing Communities reminds us that the customer is always right! ALWAYS. Take it from someone who has angrily reached out to brands on social media many times, I always remember which brands were pleasant to deal with, and which were not. Online conflict resolution is not only vital in that it calms dissatisfied customers, but the manner in which this resolution is dealt with speaks highly to the brand — and the reason why it’s included on this list.

Blogger Outreach
Why is this even necessary?

Unlike journalists, most bloggers are not constrained by traditional media models. In The Best Practice Guide for Effective Blogger Outreach, an eBook by InkyBee, it is noted that bloggers have instant and exponential reach. They are also a source of “earned media,” a relationship that is based on a real connection — both on and offline. PR professional Sally Falkow said that a BlogHer study showed that women in the US rank blogs as their “number one source of information.” That’s a lot of people. That’s a lot of power.

The first steps

Once you decide blogger outreach is the way you want to go, you need to devise a plan. First, consider all of the possible outcomes that, according to Jenn Pedde’s “Building Community in Blogger Outreach” presentation, blog outreach can yield:

  • SEO/link building
  • Increased sales
  • Engaged customers/users
  • Product testing
  • Being the dominant voice in your industry
  • Being the most trusted voice in your industry

Next, InkyBee recommends identifying the blogs where the target audience lives. And Pedde reminds us that not all blogs are created equal. In fact, according to a chart entitled “Blogger Outreach: Tiers of Blogging and Link Building” (Fig. 1) in her presentation, there are five tiers of blogs: news outlets, large blog outlets, influencers, specific subject, and everyone else.

Blogger Outreach: Tiers of Blogging and Link Building (via Jenn Pedde's "Building Community in Blogger Outreach")

Fig. 1: Blogger Outreach: Tiers of Blogging and Link Building (via Jenn Pedde’s “Building Community in Blogger Outreach”)

Perhaps the most important piece of advice offered from InkyBee is to remember to personalize your pitch to the blogger. Investigate how they prefer to communicate — Twitter, Facebook, Quora — and capitalize on it. You need to offer something that mutually beneficial; no one likes to walk down a one-way street.

Keeping it going

Once this mutually beneficial relationship is established, be sure to not let the relationship die. You’ve worked this hard – so keep it up! Thank them, continue providing them with good content, and maybe treat them to a nice lunch 🙂 Be sure to also store his/her contact information and maintain and updated blogger database.

Brand Ambassador Programs
Say what?

brand ambassador program, as defined by Mack Collier:

… allows for an ongoing, working relationship with special customers who are fans of your brand. Their job is to stay in constant contact with your customers, not only promoting you to these customers, but also giving you invaluable feedback on what your customers think about your brand.

As a result, as a CM, you gain a greater understanding of your target and can pass along valuable insights to your marketing and advertising teams. Brand ambassador programs are especially helpful for larger companies, who find it overwhelming to connect with their consumers.

Collier offers 10 tips for creating a brand ambassador program. Three of my favorites are:

  • Spread the world internally as well as externally
    • If you don’t have the entire organization behind any given initiative, it’s doomed to fail
  • Make membership exclusive
    • You want to ensure that you are giving “membership” to the customers who are true advocates to the brand and who are truly committed. No phonies allowed!
  • Give your advocates direct access to the brand
    • Be sure that your ambassadors have access to some executives or people of significance at the company. These people are the “brand’s biggest defenders and advocates,” so it is essential that their voice is always heard by someone who has the power to enact change.

Buzzing Communities also recommends that brand ambassadors meet at least one of these criteria:

  • High levels of activity
  • High levels of expertise or passion for the topic
  • Distinctive contributions
  • Interesting real-life positions
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Great contacts
  • Overall strategic fit

 

Many agencies and brands who are looking to reach college students are now targeting these same students to be their brand ambassadors (image via MrYouth http://mryouth.com/)

Many agencies and brands who are looking to reach college students are now targeting these same students to be their brand ambassadors (image via MrYouth http://mryouth.com/)

Choose wisely!

 

Which of these three avenues do you think best suites your brand? Try them out and let me know!

 

Doing Your Homework: The Key to Becoming a Great Community Manager

Reading

CMs need to learn on-the-go. From moriza on flickr.

The easiest way to become a terrible community manager is to focus solely on your own community.

Does that seem contradictory? It shouldn’t. A past panel mentioned that community managers aren’t just managing members – they’re also managing communities within communities. Same goes for the other way: your community is probably one among many other communities just like it. If you’re going to get anywhere with your community, you need to be a full incorporated member of sister communities, too.

So what’s the biggest thing you can do to strengthen your community management skills?

It’s simple: research.

In a presentation on Blogger Outreach, Jenn Pedde (our own #CMGRclass leader!) offers some advice in a presentation one how to stand out from the crowd in the sea of community managers.

KNOW YOUR BLOGS

This is a logical first step for CMs. Understanding where your blog exists among others is the best way to understand your position and to whom you need to reach out.

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH

Another step to building a community is reaching out. A great way to spread the word is to create an ambassador program: an integrated team of people who love yours community and want to help it grow. When creating this team, Mack Collier insists that research is key to understand who will be the best people.

You can’t just sit back an pick the most active people: you need to watch, listen, and converse with people. Research, after all, isn’t just reading up!

EVERYTHING IS STRATEGIC

From Britt Michaelian’s blog post, she emphasizes how people are rejecting traditional marketing, and instead they crave connection.

Community managers are driven by this demand to supply connection, and most likely they are the kind of person that’s naturally good at it. What Michealian reminds us is that it’s important to remember how every action by a successful community manager is backed by a strategy. Every exchange is carefully crafted to maximize returns to the community.

Although “strategic” and “crafted” sounds like community managers aren’t genuine, it’s actually a good thing. CMs, after all, want people to find connections in their community. That’s their job. If a community manager can help someone make that connection, they try their hardest to establish it. Wouldn’t you want someone to do that for you?

This means that community managers are consistently watching other communities and community managers and learning from their every move. Where have they made mistakes? What has made them a big success? What are the best tried-and-true methods? When is it a good idea to step outside the box?

Being a community manager is like being in a relationship: they are not easy to maintain, they take a lot of work, and you learn from the past to get better next time. The only way to keep afloat is to constantly learn, make mistakes, reevaluate, and try hard.

What do you think about researching for community managers? If you’re a community manager, do you actively research throughout your day or week? Or is it more passive?

How Do I Create a Brand New Community?

Many users today see a thriving constantly changing community where there is a generous amount of activity. Not many users see what a community was like when it started out. This week’s reading deals with How to Build a Community which is something extremely important to me as I am personally building a community for a program at my office.

Where do I start?

The article gives the secret of “one person at a time.” I have to agree with this because of the fact that as I am working to create and build my community it wasn’t successful overnight. I had to build my community user by user where I had to start with a lot of outreach within the specific program.

How do I develop a Social Media Strategy?

The article gives 3 tips to creating a strategy; calling your users, invite them to a private Facebook group; and help them get involved with discussion.

I like to email or instant message my users to show them that they matter. Instead of using a private Facebook group I had held many “community working groups” where I would ask some of my most influential early users what they wanted to see and how I could further build the community. I love to get my users engaged as it not only benefits them, but it also benefits me. I will post on a discussion board major topics to generate discussion and my users will respond to create conversation.

Where do I continue from here?

This is a question that a lot of Community Managers are constantly asking, even I sometimes ask myself this. Strategy is the most important thing while managing a community if your strategy is horrible your community will be horribly effected. Having a poor strategy can not only cause you to lose users, it will cost you many new ones. If your strategy isn’t up to par try to figure out why. The best thing I did is meet with a few staff members, and users that are constantly on the community. Working Groups have been the most beneficial by far as they have kept me constantly up to date on the state of my strategy. It is okay to update your strategy to keep up with changes within your industry but implement changes at a slow rate, if too many are implemented quickly it can have a negative effect where it will take users longer to adapt.

Hanging out with three leaders in the CM community

For our #CMGRClass hangout last week, we had the amazing privilege of speaking with three community management professionals: David Yarus (@DavidYarus), CM at MRY; Morgan Johnston (@MHJohnston), Corporate Communications Manager at Jet Blue; and Nick Cicero (@NickCicero), Lead Social Strategist at Livefyre. Here’s a look into what they had to say.

Not all community management environments are created equal

Well, not exactly. They’re all just different. I found it fascinating to learn about the different team settings and how the setups of the various teams truly depend on the nature of the business. This sounds obvious, but I don’t find that to be the case. Each company or agency has its own brand, and uses that when it defines roles and organizational structure. Early on in the hangout, Nick mentioned that he believes job positions are much more definable today. These definitions have definitely evolved since the CM space first emerged, but I don’t know if they are yet definable to a point of satisfaction. Now, we just have a better idea of the types of roles we need filled for any given organization, but the description of that role will vary (drastically, or not,) from place to place.

All three men came from very different team backgrounds. At David’s agency, MRY, there is a distribution team that is responsible for media that is paid, earned, owned, and experiential and analytics. CMs work with this distribution team to create content, develop strategy, and monitor feeds. Specifically, David works with a community of influencers and brand ambassadors for Bobble and Spotify, among others.

At Jet Blue, Morgan is the head of the corporate communications department. He works with marketing and customer support departments to be sure that all communication is in check and stays in line with Jet Blue’s brand identity (for which he is also partially responsible). He works with Jet Blue’s customer insight team also uses a net promoter score as a way to constantly gauge the satisfaction of their customers; they survey, through a variety of media, “How likely are you to promote/recommend Jet Blue to a friend or family?” Aside from the 20+ team at Jet Blue corporate, there is a group of over 1000 employees in Salt Lake City who respond to the community at large (besides social channels): emails, phone calls, whatever it is, you name it, they respond to it.

Nick is a member of the strategy team at Livefyre, a real-time conversation and social curation tool. As a member of the strategy team, he works with the clients who use the Livefyre tools — other community managers. He helps them to use these products more effectively and how to better manage their communities. His strategy then coordinates with the customer and marketing teams to make for integrated communications.

Unique, not different

Okay, so maybe I was being a little harsh before. It’s not the differences that set these work environments apart, but rather, their unique qualities. It’s what these community managers are bringing to their respective workplaces to elevate their work.

At MRY, it’s that David likes to remove the idea of the screen away from the conversation. He constantly reminds himself to remember that there is a person on the other side of it, and to treat them as such. By breaking these barriers and treating people like people, simple tasks get accomplished a lot faster and a lot more efficiently. Completely unrelated, David also conducted this entire G+ hangout from the New York streets via his iPhone. I just love technology.

At Jet Blue, it’s that Morgan’s audience experiences the product/brand in real time. Although this can be frustrating and stressful at times (especially if the feedback is negative), it actually gives Jet Blue opportunities for wins; as David described, real-time gives brands the chance to “over-deliver, surprise, and delight.”

My own interaction with @JetBlue on Twitter!

My own interaction with @JetBlue on Twitter!

At Livefyre, it’s that Nick is working with people who essentially have the same job that he has. Nick works with community managers, yet he himself is a community manager of sorts. Again completely unrelated, Nick also worked with Kanye West early in his career to help grow his label’s community, so he wins at life.

 

Thanks again to David, Morgan, and Nick for hanging out with us – hope to see you all on Twitter!

What are factors in social media analytics?

Today social media analytics are measured in a variety of ways for each different tool. Users generally think that analytics are just metrics, but they are so much more. When measuring analytics users and professionals should look at Strategy, Metrics, Organization, and Technology. By looking at each of these factors you will be able to determine if you are posting information that is effective and that your clients or users want to see. This should be a main goal within your company as social media can be a huge revenue generator.

Screenshot 2013-10-14 18.13.08Strategy is key for determining if you are meeting your companies goals while posting effectively online. One great way to make sure that your strategy goes as planned is to plan for the present and the future by looking at key objectives, your companies mission and vision statements should be studied closely when determining how to post and communicate with clients effectively. By developing a good strategy starting out will help in the future as little updating will be needed on how to interact with clients. If a poor strategy is developed you will have a hard time determining the most appropriate way of outreach.

Metrics are used to measure how effective your campaign is in interactions, and outreach. Metrics are closely nit with your strategy. If your strategy is planned out poorly then your metrics will reflect that. A company can measure many different elements of strategy to generate metrics such as the number of posts, interactions, mentions, tags etc. Using tools such as backtweets are some of the most effective ways of measuring some of these analytics. By developing an effective plan you can determine how your company is doing with its presence and you can make changes if necessary.

Organization is one of the most important factors when it comes to social media analytics. It is best that a company representitave investigates resources, employee expertise, and employee involvement before developing a strategy. Today many companies have problems with this as they don’t have adequately trained employees who know how to represent a brand. This costs companies a lot of money each year if they mess up when dealing with their reputation online, thus having at least one or more trained employees is key.

Technology and how you use it is key to representing your company. With adequate resources and employee training using devices such as iPhones and iPads with software such as hootsuite or TweetChat it makes it easier to manage your presence at one time. Employees are able to manage all tweets sent to a company Twitter handle, or even hashtags and try to effectively address any complements or concerns.

SEO: The Good and the Bad

Anyone remember a Buzzfeed writer’s essay-length potshot at The Oatmeal‘s Matthew Inman?

I do. As an avid reader of The Oatmeal, I read both the original essay and Inman’s rebuttal, but the thing that stood out to me from both articles was Inman’s past job as an SEO marketer.

SEO the good and the bad

According to Inman, he: “did SEO for a few months in my early 20s, sucked at it, and got banned by Google … I hated SEO when I did it, and I hate it now.”

That was my first introduction to SEO, and it was enough for me. I decided that SEO was bad and stupid, and I moved on.

Fast forward to this past week’s readings, and I learn that good SEO is what makes the web go ’round, especially for strong online communities. So what is this dark side of SEO that I hated so much?

Shady SEO is commonly known as black hat SEO. Black hat refers to a hacker who uses the Internet for selfish or harmful reasons, so someone who practices black hat SEO takes good SEO principles and exploits them for personal gain.

So what are some common black hat SEO techniques?

CLOAKING

If your website serves different set of content to search engines and users, you’re practicing cloaking. Cloaking usually involved baiting search engines with popular search terms; but when a user comes to your website, they find completely different content. Cloaking was one of the first abusive SEO practices to get banned by Google.

DUPLICATE CONTENT

If you are creating multiple webpages with the same content, you’re practicing duplicate content. The concept behind duplicate content is simple: the more pages you own with that content, the more likely users looking for that content will come to your pages than your competitors. In the long run, however, this makes your website less effective and confuses users.

LINK BUYING

If you are paying irrelevant websites to link back to your site to increase your perceived usefulness by search engines, you are link buying. SEO relies on the fact that the most websites that link to you, the more authoritative you are for that content. Link buying is like paying for

KEYWORD STUFFING

If you have pages of content that are simply popular keywords that aren’t relevant to your content, you are keyword stuffing. Another simple tactic that is pretty obvious upon discovery, and does more harm than good.

Search Engine Watch, E3ngage, and Forbes can give you more info on these tactics.

It seems that the key to avoiding bad SEO is that when creating your content, think of your users first. SEO does have a place in the success of a website, but only as a supplement to quality content to your community.

Have you heard of or personally encountered bad SEO before? Or did you have an opinion about SEO that changed after our class readings?

Developing a Community Strategy is Easy as 1,2,3…4,5?

The first thing that caught my eye when reading the first chapter in “Buzzing Communities” by Richard Millington was, “Wow, only 5 steps to create a community strategy?” Much to my surprise was the depth that each of these steps involved. Alas, I read on and developed a better understanding.  However, once I was ready to come up with a strategy of the year, I read on to figure out that it is easy to make up a strategy that sounds perfect, but there are problems such as the strategy being either “unrealistic, not supported by data or theory, or difficult to execute.” So, I found myself back to square one and my hopes of developing a great strategy right away were put on hold.

The Steps that Matter

Image courtesy of Sean MacEntee via Flikr Creative Commons

Image courtesy of Sean MacEntee via Flikr Creative Commons

A strategy is comprised of five steps:

  • Data collection
  • Analyzing data
  • Establishing goals
  • Creating an action plan
  • Tracking progress and ensuring accountability

Collecting data has to be done first and foremost. The particular data that needs to be collected is regarding the audience, and the current progress and health of the community. While collecting data definitely takes time, it is something that has to be done. If you do not have data to support your strategy, then it’s practically a guessing game.

Next, analyzing data is crucial because you need to make use of the data you’ve collected. By analyzing the data you’ve collected, you can make use of it while analyzing how the community progresses in terms of growth, activity, and sense of community.

Analyzing data leads right into establishing goals. After figuring out the current state of the community, we can use theory to figure out the community’s next steps. Setting goals and targets that can be measured is an important step in developing a community strategy.

Once goals are set, it is required to figure out how you are going to meet those goals by establishing a plan of action. Daily, week by week, or even monthly plans can set you on track to complete your goals in a specific amount of time. We cannot just expect our goals to be met if we do not figure out a plan to meet them.

Finally, we cannot create an action plan without tracking progress along the way. We need to make sure that progress is being made toward our set goals and we aren’t missing any goals. We need to identify if there are any factors getting in the way, and if there are, we need to be able to make alternative arrangements to still be able to meet the goals. Tracking progress is the only way we will be able to tell if we are moving in the right direction.

Easy, Right?

We might all take a step back and say, “So, what’s the big deal?” Little do we know there are a lot more factors involved in developing this kind of strategy. Like previously stated above, we might think that by following these steps, we can create a pretty great strategy. However, there are two key elements that most strategies lack, which are data and theory. So, until we go behind the scenes of the theories of how communities develop as well as being able to effectively support a strategy with data, these 5 steps are not the golden ticket.

Overall, I think it’s important to remember that while these are the five steps that community managers need to take in order to develop a good community strategy, there has to be an understanding of data and theory in order to apply these steps.

 

Nothing is Stronger then a Well Built Community

This week’s topic is on building a community from scratch. There are a number of suggested readings which provide tips on how to build the best community from scratch. Through additional research, I found one article from www.socialfresh.com, that I feel provides good insight into building a strong community. The article,  How to Build a Community From Scratch, is written by David Spinks as he weighs in on the topic.

http://www.communityspark.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/community_members_active.jpg

http://www.communityspark.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/community_members_active.jpg

Spinks begins the article by explaining why both start-up companies and large organizations have problems building a community. Furthermore, start-ups have a problem because they take on the mind-set of the company in trying to grow as quickly as possible, however this is a problem because communities most often do not work that way. Secondly, larger organizations have a problem building a community from scratch because they often think that they have the money and brand recognition which equates to an instant community. Bottom line however, a community is not built over night, but as Spinks mentions, “…Both require that you give every small aspect of the larger goal your full attention, and build up toward your vision.”

The article then continues to outline a “foolproof community building strategy.” The strategy outlined is…

  • Step 1- Pick up your phone, and call a user/customer. Ask them about themselves. Ask them about their experience with your company. Make a personal connection.
  • Step 2 – Invite them to a private facebook group, for your customers.
  • Step 3 –Introduce them to the group and help them get involved in the discussions.
  • Step 4 – Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Although this strategy seems pretty simple, a community manager must understand that this process takes time and can be tedious. Spinks goes on to explain that a community manager must continue this strategy until the discussions in the group are flowing smoothly and until the community manager feels that the group’s users are connecting with each other and a true community is forming.

Much like the recent, social media dilemma Maker’s Mark encountered after diluting their bourbon, the article mentions to stay away from ambassador programs. Rather, suggests to start focused and simple and to listen to your community because they will tell you when it is time to build more structure. As mentioned earlier, this strategy may seem tedious although simple. Companies often tend to want to say, “I dont have time to call all of users,” however Spink explains, “There’s no interaction too small to be worth your time, when you’re trying to build a true community.”

So to all community managers, remember what Spinks suggests, “It may seem tedious, but once it’s all done…NOTHING IS STRONGER THEN A WELL BUILT COMMUNITY!”

Measuring Social Media Success, With Olivier Blanchard

This week in #CMGRClass, we were lucky enough to have Olivier Blanchard, the author of Social Media ROI, join us in our biweekly Hangout on Google+. We were asked to write some questions down ahead of time, relevant to his book and expertise. Given my current position as a social media strategist at SU’s IT Services, I was eager to hear Olivier’s commentary on using data metrics to improve your social media efforts.

Blog5_Graphs

One of the issues I’ve run into at work is that my boss and coworkers are unsure of what sort of goals they have for their social media presence. Part of the issue is that no one person is really devoted to working on our social platforms, it’s more of an extension of our phone support services instead. As such, when I asked about specific metrics that I should be looking at in my daily work, they wanted to defer to me to figure it out. That’s not something I would mind doing, but I’m still rather new to this particular organization, so I’m not well-versed in the overarching strategy and goals that already exist. I’m flying a bit blind until I learn them or help my superiors develop some more concrete wants and need in terms of data.

So, when the conversation with Olivier turned to finding and demonstrating value in your social media efforts, I knew it was the right time to ask the question burning in my brain: what questions can I ask to help my employers figure out what they want out of social media? If they’re paying me to look at Twitter all day, I’d love to give them some data and results that they can in turn act on to improve their services and better address customer needs. Olivier’s response, borrowed from Brains On Fire, was “What would you like to be celebrating in six months?” He went on to talk about how social media for customer service might prove to be a better medium for resolving issues, and one person on Twitter may accomplish just as much as three people on phone calls. Speed of response and speed of resolution were other metrics he recommended looking at, but he also brought up the point that if a leader can’t tell you why you’re using social media for business, there’s a problem with the leadership that should be fixed. I agree with that point, and I’ve gotten the impression that social media was adopted in this office more on a hunch that it would be useful, rather than with a clear goal of extending our service mediums to better meet our customers’ needs. Now that we have these accounts, and I’m in a position to influence our direction, I would like to help establish real goals, and I think the language Olivier offered will be helpful in having that discussion with my superiors.

As this problem has been on my mind for a few weeks, I’ve done some research of my own into what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) similar organizations use, which metrics work, which are just for show, and so on. I found an article on a Harvard Business Review blog, entitled Why Your Social Media Metrics Are a Waste of Time, by Ivory Madison. Madison writes that pageviews and unique visitors, Twitter followers and Facebook likes aren’t exactly relevant to running a business on their own. Instead, she advises that actionable metrics that align with clear business goals are better, something you could present to your CEO with no further explanation. I’m inclined to agree.

What KPIs are most relevant to your business? Were they difficult to establish?