Measuring the success of your communications is important because you want to know what is working well, where you need to improve your content, and in the end, justify your efforts. It will help you to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of communications. Remember, measurement takes time. It involves research and having the support of internal teams. Then once the research is conducted, you need to know what all that data means and what you can do with it. You need to decipher what is relevant to your research questions.
Vanity metrics are metrics that are often misleading and are contrasted against actionable metrics. In other words, the data does not help you make decisions that will help you reach your goals such as likes, shares, and retweets. While these are still valuable information, they shouldn’t be the only or the key metrics used.
Measuring the relationship journey, on the contrary, is about measuring the awareness, interaction, and engagement among your audience members. It’s about evaluating the participation of your community. These metrics can include your high-level metrics like new followers and also things like evaluating the number of comments and tags on posts as well as the measurement of traffic on your site.
To reach a deeper level of understanding with your data, you should be using multiple research techniques. You should also measure before and after to evaluate and compare results. Research techniques include:
Providing an opportunity and space for the audience to showcase their knowledge and expertise instead of positioning yourself as the expert. An example of this would be asking the audience for feedback, using something like a focus group or asking questions on social content.
You are focusing on the solutions and strategizing around what’s working well. An example of this would be using analytics to evaluate what is working well on your social media and replicating more of that content.
Rather than doing research through text, you are gathering information through photos or videos. An example of this is interviewing individuals and having them comment on the images or video, you may also collect video or image responses to more accurately understand their answers, seeing things such as body language.
This involves narrowing your research down to one or two simple research questions and directly approaching your audience members. You might go to a forum site, such as Quora or Reddit and pose your question there.
This approach involves posing the same question to 50 different people and recording their responses, typically through video.
An alternative to a focus group where people take turns discussing the question at hand. Ensure everyone has the chance to be heard, maybe by using something like a talking stick and a timer. This approach is especially useful for contentious issues.
This involves conducting research in a multi-lingual setting and seeing if there are differences in communicating answers. You might consider researching cultural differences and finding a common ground for getting the same message across in various languages. Ensure that when using this approach, you conduct the focus group in the first language of those attending.
This platform is dedicated to helping individuals crowd-source answers to questions in real-time. Using patented analysis tools can help you make decisions and create change. You can get connected with people and participate in live events to learn new ideas with one another. Ideally, you can compare and contrast what's important to different people. Your thoughts will be shared with other participants without sharing your identity.
Qaultrics provides help with research at any stage including finding respondents to reporting. You can design a survey and select a sample. The data will then get processed through tabulations, data weighting, open-ended coding to simplify the analysis.
With Google Forms, you can create a new survey on your own or simultaneously with others similar to Google Docs. It will collect the data and you can create the graphs from the responses and analyze the data with Google Sheets.
This online survey software is designed to help you to create and run online surveys that can easily be shared with other people. Results can be viewed as respondents fill the surveys out.
When you have collected your data and understand the meaning of it, you can:
Look for similarities in feedback from audience members and address them directly. This will help you to build stronger relationships.
Create a blog segment dedicated to the data such as the number of views or downloads, take your findings and expand on them, answer the questions people posed, or share your response to the sentiments expressed. Explain what the data means for the future and its impact on any changes.
An infographic is a visual simplification of concepts that would otherwise be too complex to understand in just text, bring all the data you gathered into one easy to understand place. Using minimal text and images can help people of all backgrounds understand the results.
Writing articles about related subjects. Similar to writing blog posts, but much more in-depth, and potentially published research. This is a much longer-term approach to utilizing your data and will require calculated research and planning.
Let your audience know what you found and how it can be useful; share in quick social posts answers to common questions. Explain to your audience the impact of the data and how it will bring about changes.
Webinars can be used as a dynamic and effective tool to create awareness and insight, they also let you take a deeper dive into the data that you found and your next steps with your results. It can be easier to talk about it as opposed to writing about the data. It provides a deeper connection with your audience by better explaining its relevance.
Measuring the success of your communications is important for all organizations. With different research techniques available, you can gain a deeper understanding and compare your results between various techniques. These techniques include empowerment evaluation, appreciative inquiry, photo and video, intercept research, 50 people – 1 question, talking circles and multi-lingual focus groups.
There are also tools to help with research such as ThoughtExchange, Qualtrics, Google Forms and Survey Monkey. Once you have collected your data, you can use the data to improve public relations, create a blog series, create an infographic, publish an article, discuss the results with your viewers or do a webinar to expand on the results. Measuring the success of your communications can help you to improve your content, the experience of your audience and overall effectiveness.
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