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The Importance of Measuring Your Media

Dr. Alan Roseblatt published two articles on FrogLoop.com in October 2010, which to this day remains relevant. In the first article, Measuring the Impact of Your Social Media Program, he discuss the critical assessment of Return on Investment, for both non-profits and advocacy campaigns. For social media campaigns/programs, the ability to measure your engagement can be crucial to the success of your campaign. It allows you to determine what works well and what can be altered. In Measuring Social Madia Reach, Rosenblatt looks at the audience size, hashtags, impressions, and an analysis of your followers/fans. He opens the article by discussing how influence is comprised of three main categories of metrics: reach, engagement and driving traffic to your website.

“Simply put, reach is about the size of your audience and how many people see your social advocacy messages. Reach features your largest success metric number—the number of people who see (potentially) your message. Since more people will see your social media posts than will click on any links within them, it is imperative that the posts contain your key message points. That way, just reading the posts will deliver value to your audience and to your programmatic goals,” opens Rosenblatt when discussing reach. This leads to his second article, Rules of Social Media Engagement, in which Rosenblatt discusses ways in which to track what’s trending through social media (ie. re-tweets and hashtags). He looks at top websites that offer link shorteners and the ability to track who clicks on and shares your link, such as bit.ly or hootsuite.com. By far, the largest takeaway from this duo of articles, is his Final Thoughts on Metrics of Success, “The metrics discussed here provide a good set of indicators to help you identify the general performance of your social media program. But in and of themselves, they leave out some important performance metrics. For example, you still want to know if you are improving your brand recognition and reputation, are you creating enduring memes and raising public awareness of your issues, and did the policy you pushed for pass or fail as you hoped it would. These remain important metrics, but inevitably are the most difficult to use. They are easy to measure, but attributing causality to your social media program will be as difficult as saying a commercial caused a person to buy a product. You can correlate them to each other, but assigning the causal relationship is tough”.

From these articles, we learn the importance of hashtags, where to find out what they mean, why they’re being used and how you can start trending. We also learn some metrics of measuring engagement and reach and how those figures can help drive traffic to your website. Finally, we’ve learned that the resulting affect of measuring social media performance is that these statistics generated can be used to influence those that allow the social media manager to continue engaging users for an advocacy group or non-profit, which in todays environment may carry the largest benefit due to the earned media, costing little to nothing for these groups that already have little funds to allocate to campaign advertising.


Mobilizing the Mobile Campaign Strategy; Driving Force for the Upcoming Election Year

In the MobileActive.org Strategy Guide for Using Mobile Phones in Advocacy Campaigns, we were introduced to a number of examples and a case study of countries around the world incorporating mobile phone usage to engage and gather support; allowing people to easily take action and join a cause. Through this guide, we were able to apply the tools and guidelines for using and monitoring a campaign strategy to upcoming 2012 election campaigns that will definitely be integrating mobile applications and SMS text messaging to track, reach, update and mobilize voters. In the article, Trend to Watch in 2012 – The Rise of Mobile by Katie Harbath, published on techPresident, Harbath describes why the use of mobile devices were not incorporated as heavily in past elections, because they simply rose to popularity after campaign strategies were implemented and it was much more difficult to understand, create, implement and measure a mobile campaign halfway into an election.

MobileActive.org outlined a number of helpful guidelines for creating a mobile strategy after outlining how these guidelines were used in past campaigns such as with “Oxfam UK in April 2006 who provided additional data. The organization contacted 2,000 supporters via SMS text message to recruit volunteers to help write content about local events for their website. 10% responded back, providing their email address for follow-up”. We can only expect results to be much more aggressive with campaigns in the United States for the election year. Harbath gives similar examples stating, “For us at the National Republican Senatorial Committee our first ventures into mobile were the launch of an iPhone app in May 2010, the first of any of the party committees to do so, and the building of a very simple mobile version of NRSC.org. With very little statistics out there on what the political online mobile community looks like I wanted to start gathering some data so we were making intelligent decisions on using mobile and not just flying blind. While our iPhone app didn’t get used as much for uploading and sharing user content as I hoped it would, it was accessed over 26,000 times in five months by people watching our videos or looking for information on the candidates. I think a candidate using an iPhone app would see even more use by its visitors, especially presidential candidates”. These results are not surprising.

In the guide published by MobileActive.org, some of the steps for a successful mobile advocacy campaign are:

  1. Set goals and plan your mobile advocacy campaign
  2. Identify a vendor to run the campaign
  3. Develop a marketing plan to reach your mobile constituents
  4. Craft the mechanics of your campaign and your mobile messaging steps
  5. Set up your system to get your mobile data into your in-house database
  6. Decide on your campaign closure and evaluation activites

These are all great steps to follow with any type of marketing campaign; the simply break down into set goals, identify methods of monitoring, develop marketing plan, create marketing material, methods of storing data and set the timeline/sequence of events. Determining a timeline and sequence of events for constituent outreach is definitely a great tool in allowing the implementor to determine where they are in the progression of the campaign. Both articles gave great outlines for campaign strategizing and development.

The upcoming election year will no doubt have the most engagement of any campaigns past. In the most recent presidential elections, we saw the mobilization physically of more people and the activity online, however, we had not yet adopted the mobile application use that we will definitely see next year. The engagement was there, but the ease of contact and engagement was less progressive than it will be next year. Live tweeting sessions, facebook groups/events and mobile applications will most likely lead the way for campaign strategies during election year.


Here Comes Everybody, With New Online Tools For Activists

Mashable.com has become my primary source for developments in social media, emerging technology and even pop culture. Not a surprise as the site is so customizable. Today, I stumbled upon an article titled, 5 Online Tools For Activists, by Activists, by Susannah Vila. As introduced in the article, Vila “directs content and outreach at Movements.org, an organization dedicated to identifying, connecting and supporting activists using technology to organize for social change”.

In her article, she identifies five online tools: 1) CrowdVoice 2) Sukey 3) Off-the-Record Messaging 4) Crabgrass and 5) Piddler. These tools emerge as niche-oriented platforms for activists. Vila theorizes that through a need for socialization, which directly correlates with the same statement by Clay Shirky in his book; Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, users will congregrate online to support like causes. Shirky was led by the same conclusion that the majority of people who participate online in support of a cause are initially pulled in by watching their peers become active within a similar activism and from there they share and inform others. Vila and Shirky share this common outlook, Shirky outlined examples of when activism catches on within a circle of influence and becomes a online phenomen which potentially occurs at certain points when a social network is popular at a given time and not crowded by other sites. This may be at points when there are not prominently emerging sites, like Google+’s unveiling. Will we see large scale following of causes in the near future, once the shock of this new social media tool takes on relative use? Shifts for movements due to shifts in or primary, popular networks.

Vila lists five online tools that are newly emerging that could potentially sway a large crowd if they become popular enough globally, to effectively advocate a cause. CrowdVoice is open to all users to share content to support causes and share information related to their concern. Among the current topics are LGBTQ Rights in the USA, Protests in Iran, Demands for Reform in Jordan, the topics are varying and may be too broad for users to find a cause to become passionate about if it becomes to difficult to discover peers. Aesthetically, the site appears to be cluttered with information.

“Sukey is our name for a set of applications designed to keep you protected and informed during protests. When you see something interesting, you tell us. When we’re confident that something has actually happened, we tell you,” states the website of Sukey.org. Accompanied by a mobile application, this site appears to take action itself, mobilizing others to follow suite. They claim to “keep demonstrators safe, mobile and informed”. Based in London, Sukey encourages users to use twitter as a form of notification, brought together through hashtags. Off-the-Record Messaging appears to be the more dangerous of the suggestions, it encrypts your messages so that they cannot be read by those intercepting the message. This may imply to some people that users have something to hide, which can be both good and bad.

Crabgrass is a software that is more directed for the organization that would utilize its services rather than the overall audience that would be supporting an organization. It was setup by Riseup. Vila points out that the United Nations Development Programme and Camp for Climate Action are both users of Crabgrass, which definitely adds credibility to the service.

Finally, Vila suggest Piddler as an online tool for activists. Piddler is a social network allowing users to be completely anonymous beyond information they provide. It is secure and may provide the opportunity for activists to organize and mobilize their efforts for activism without being traced and followed by advertisements or opposing organizations. The site claims to be “clever, secure and quick,” which are definitely terms that one would be looking for in a social network.

The five tools outlined by Vila are great resources for those looking to become active; they provide very different benefits of safety, privacy, secure communication, mobilizing and connection. Here Comes Everybody can be embodied by many networks that Shirky could not have even been aware of when writing his book, but the evolution of activism and the ability of those to come together online continues to develop.