One of the main areas we are seeing a lot of discussion in for public relations professionals is not only in the area of social media marketing strategy, but in the area of measurement and evaluation.  In particular, focusing on what metrics to look at for social media platforms.

We will continue to look at Facebook for general conversations and trends, but we will also look beyond and see the seamless integration of other associated platforms like Pinterest and Instagram – but the focus is going to be beyond social media platforms. Instead, the focus for social media practices and research will evolve to focus on experiences – the stories, activities, and conversations emerging from society, communities, businesses, and individuals that share common interests with each other.

To understand these future trends, we also need to discuss how to evaluate the metrics associated with each of these.  Here are some other metrics we should discuss further and determine 1) what is the overall value of this metric for PR and social media campaigns ; 2) how do quantify these results to measure across platforms and industries and 3) what are the best practices for PR professionals to address these advanced social media metrics?

  • Value of Images:Pinterest and Instagram are definitely setting the trend for emerging social media platforms as well as raising the issue of how photos and videos are the new currency for social media purposes.  Understanding the types of images and photos has to be considered along with the actions captured, user who has captured this image, comments emerging from images, range of exposure, visual voice + comments associated with the image, etc.  Will location be a key factor in this equation as well? However, some of the traditional means of monitoring and listening to social media may not apply for images, so we have to look beyond these metrics and determine what are going to be the specific ones we focus on for visual social media platforms.Optimization, reach, and shareability are just a few things to consider as well in analyzing these various platforms.
  • Value of Stories:  We have seen much discussion related to the concept of storytelling for brands and individuals via social media. While it is important to note that stories are all unique and have to represent the brand on a personal level – there are some associated metrics we can try to quantify that is related to storytelling.  Measuring authenticity, location, engagement in response to the shared comments, sentiment in the comments, timing, context of the story, and voice are just a few we may want to take into consideration and discuss further.
  • Value of Emotions:  People are more likely to share their perspectives and voice which images and visuals they like the most – there are some metrics that are similar to traditional social media platforms like FB with likes and follows on both Pinterest and Instagram, but how do we really capture the intensity of these emotions with individuals – do they just like this picture or do they absolutely love it?  Is there a formula to determine if someone likes and comments on a photo – that means they like it more than just sharing it with others?
  • Value of Shareability:  We have looked at the evolution of social media to translate to just separate platforms and traditional media to be more focused on converged media – how paid, earned, and shared media are all connected. So, how do we value how certain items are shared across platforms?  With these visual sites like Pinterest and Instagram, separate services are doing this already, including Pinalytics.  My guess is that sites like Bottlenose, Hootsuite, and Tweetdeck along with other paid services like Radian6, Cision, and others will follow this trend as well.  We need to discuss how we would be able to quantify this for clients and in our research as well in social media.
  • Value of Influence:  We have seen many discussions related to the topic of influence and whether or not Klout, Kred, or PeerIndex are really capturing what influence is all about? We have to consider various components like audience, communication skills, personality, and other attributes that constitute and contribute to the overall conceptualization of influence in social media. Is influence something that happens on one platforms, or translates across all social media platforms and even offline?  These discussions and associated metrics need to be explored further.

In summary, there are many opportunities to have advanced social media metrics incorporated into campaigns and in research.  However, further discussion needs to occur in order to determine the proper value as well as specific items necessary in order to quantify some of these variables.  With that being said, we should also explore the potential for exploratory research to determine these items first with qualitative research – so mixed method approaches would be good to address these points.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Best Wishes,