Measuring the effectiveness of social media really is possible – if know what you want to measure and what tools to use.
At the Agricultural Relations Council annual meeting in Ft. Myers last week, we had a presentation from The Center for Public Issues Education – or simply the PIE Center – which is located at the University of Florida’s Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences (Go Gators!). The center is only a couple years old and was established with the mission “to enhance the understanding of agriculture, natural resources, and the environment by providing research-based solutions that address societal issues and raise public and policy maker awareness.” Increasingly, that has meant the use of social media, including blogs, Facebook and Twitter so they have gotten more interested in helping agricultural groups manage, monitor and measure the effectiveness of this new communications tool.
Dr. Tracy Irani (pictured) is Development Director for the PIE Center and she talked about the rapid adoption of social media and how agriculture has become part of the conversation, like it or not. She notes that social media actually has an advantage over traditional media when it comes to measurement. “We know that most of the traditional media metrics are based on the number of eyeballs or number of listeners,” she explains. “That’s where social media has an advantage because the return can be looked at on the basis of who’s in the network, who’s actively using, viewing, posting in a social media environment.” In other words, traditional media can tell you how many potential viewers or readers you might have, where social media can show how actively involved they are by retweets, comments, messages, etc.
PIE Center Media Specialist Kevin Kent got into some of the nuts and bolts of monitoring and managing social media. He gave a list of ten social media metrics to monitor, which include SM leads, engagement duration, membership increase, activity ratio, conversions, brand mentions, loyalty, virality, and blog interaction. Kevin also talked about being specific about what you want to measure, focusing more on quality than quantity and setting goals, and the use of social media Best Management Practices – like using social media with other communications tools, limiting posts to make them easier to monitor, and engaging in conversation channels.
Listen in my interview with Tracy and Kevin here: ZimmCast 294 - PIE Center
This week’s program ends with a song from Music Alley called “All You Can Tweet” by The FuMP.
Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsor, Growmark, locally owned, globally strong, for their support.
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