Analyzing, Evaluating and Communicating the Value of Web Presence

This presentation came out of a presentation Michael Porter and Amanda Clay-Powers did at last year’s Computer’s in Libraries. In that presentation they discussed how to manage your social network profiles. A common question they got after that presentation was “how do we communicate the value of social networks?” They thought about that question and came up with this presentation.

As with all my notes, these are no where near complete and I don’t have the vocabulary to capture Michael Porter’s energy in words. I hope I can provide a decent overview of what they discussed but I’m looking for more complete notes to help fill in my gaps. (Here’s one) (Here’s another)

I sat in front of Sarah Houghton-Jan and David Lee King so I was really hoping some of their super smart brain waves would pass through me and maybe make me a bit smarter. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn’t. Couldn’t hurt to try.

The session began with Michael Porter discussing the value of social media in general. He likened having a social media presence today to being in the yellow pages 10-20 years ago. If you aren’t there it makes it hard for people to find you. He gave us a few good sites to check out – smori.net run by Oliver Blanchard and socialmediaexplorer.com run by Jason Falls. I’ll have to check these out soon.

A business practice many people try to use when discussing social media is Return On Investment (ROI). Porter discussed how this can be helpful but extremely hard to do with social media. It’s hard because there is very little hard data to use. Most of the data you get from social media is anecdotal. Because it is anecdotal we should try to use that data to tell a good story about our social media efforts. So a good, simple question he posed is: Can you tell a good story?

He showed this video below to demonstrate that social media does have a positive ROI.

Another point he made was that ROI is only important if making money is your goal.

Amanda Clay-Powers took over and devoted most of her part of the discussion to showing that there are metrics and ways to gather data on social media. Facebook has some really nice analytics built in to their Facebook Pages. (I can’t wait to start using this for the library!) There are some analytics for twitter but I missed what was mentioned (damn!). Someone mentioned twapperkeeper as a way to archive tweets but I don’t know what kind of data it gives you. I’ll have to check it out.

She posed the question: What is the real value of assessment?

  • Building relationships?
  • Adding value?

Any assessment done with social media should be multi-phase and multi-layered.

Some things to keep in mind as we assess our social media efforts are:

  • What is being retweeted? Why? Is it obvious? Is there a pattern?
  • Who writes things on your wall?
  • Who likes the things you post on your wall?

What is “sticky”? What are the things that people are talking about that you’ve done?

I thought this was a great session and will hopefully be able to remember some of their advice once we get our social media presence up and going.

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