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Thud 2.0 – Death to Bad Social Media Measurement!

DeathtoThud20.jpgIn the bad days of PR measurement, some PR professionals would try to impress clients (or bosses) with the ‘Thud factor’ how big and heavy a clip book could they drop on a desk. It was all about volume, circulation and hits. But as KD Paine says, HITS stands for “How Idiots Track Success.” This lead some to focus on quantity rather than quality and to some inflated circulation and reach figures that didn’t tie back in to core business objectives.

At Schwartz, and at many other firms and organizations, we focus on measuring outcomes and results. Impact and Influence are core. What business impact did our PR programs have?

Yes, we use measures such as share of voice and key message penetration. We look at conversion, change in consumer perception, increase in Web traffic, increase in searches and other metrics. These are elements of good PR measurement that have a tie back to business results. Many of these have a direct correlation.

But now I am seeing the poor measurement of yesterday rearing its ugly head in the social media world of today.

I call it Thud 2.0.

Instead of ‘hits’ the new Thud factor is “How many followers/fans” do you have. The bigger the better. People are flexing their social media muscle and getting out the measuring tape.



Of course, they are measuring the wrong thing.






At the Social Media Club Boston meeting Thursday last night, EMC, Vico Software, IDG and other companies showed us how they are measuring the right thing. Most impressive was Holly Allison. She handles public relations and marketing for Vico Software ( a company that makes software for commercial construction). She was showing how her efforts worked throughout the sales funnel and how they translated directly into sales. Yet she seemed apologetic for having such small followers or visits. She is selling to a much smaller B2B universe. The business results were impressive, so it doesn’t matter how big the bicep is…

The SMC session was an interesting contrast to a talk by Paul Gillin with the Mass Technology Leadership Council the day before. He exposed how many B2B executives with whom he speaks are still just looking at the Thud factor when it comes to social media. (Aside from a few that are showing a direct tie to more effective recruiting).

I plan to be writing much more on measurement in the coming months, but I wanted to start it off with a simple call to action. Resist Thud 2.0.

Make sure your social media efforts are tied to business results. Don’t become obsessed with followers. Look at how engaged they are. Do they click through to your Web site? Respond to tweets? Praise you to others? Purchase products?

The goal of social media for business should not be trying to see if you can be the most popular kid in school.

What do you think?

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Mark McClennan

Mark McClennan

Senior Vice President at MSLGROUP

For the past 19 years, Mark has led teams working with innovative technology and healthcare clients for MSLGROUP. He is also the national treasurer for PRSA.

Mark McClennan

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