Measurement camp: London May 2009

I recently had the pleasure of attending Measurement Camp: A “global open-source movement” that was born to encourage the sharing of knowledge, ideas and theories about measuring social media. “A global open-source movement lends itself to the idea that, like open source software, all the ideas and secrets are publically shared and useable by all”.

Conceived by industry specialist and local boy done good Will McInnes of Nixon McInnes who curates the monthly event, Measurement camp attracts a diverse range of attendees from both client side as well as agencies, accountants, and PR’s,  all who benefit from dipping their toes into something a little different. Sponging knowledge from other peoples’ ventures into the slippery subject of social media is priceless. We can all learn something from each others endeavours, success and mistakes in an industry which has continued on an upward trajectory ever since the term web 2.0 was first coined.

The vibe at Measurement camp is very friendly, un-pretentious and wholesome – venue, bodies and brownies are all volunteered and a frank lecture during the intro on how “Measurement camp is not a pitch” keeps the atmosphere relaxed yet professional and the un-capped advice free flowing.

I came back to the office with gusto, and an open mind full of thoughts and ideas to share with colleagues and clients based around others experience, guidance, hints and tips to take how we measure social media up a level.

This open source ethos was inspirational, encouraging me to share the information I have gained on this blog so here are some of the key conclusions.

• Focus on a small but tailored target audience: With so many tools, platforms  and disciplines that make up social media  it can be difficult to know where to start. With some focused research into the target audience before hand, however, it is possible to find a smaller but more appropriate section of people to market the information to. This will, we concluded, in turn, yield a better response with more accurate data to evaluate afterwards. Once this theory has been proved, we are then able to widen this circle out to other areas.

A small focused campaign, for example could include very specific forums, a trouble shoot site, Twitter groups, regional Facebook ads and content.

• Test then test again: By setting up a matrix at the start of a campaign while recording the stats, we are able to test how the campaign is performing at regular intervals. This offers those working on the campaign a chance to evaluate performance and to tweak or change strategies according to ongoing results. We are also then able to keep the client informed throughout the length of the campaign and monitor the performance such as blog mentions, traffic from Flickr etc.

At the end of a campaign we can come back to the figures and evaluate the performance across the board with a more in-depth report which can then be delivered to the client. This does, of course, need to go hand-in-hand with constant feedback from the client regarding leads and sales their end. We need this data to add to our own figures to ensure a reliable and valid final equation.

• Objectives: set clear, specific objectives at the start of a campaign, and we mean more than “increased sales!”. This can include awareness, perception, traffic, influence, creation of leads and creation of non-traditional leads. This can be measured by looking at a cross section of both qualitative and quantitative data (methodological triangulation) in the forms of opinions, interaction with blogs, peaks in trends, traffic in analytics.

• Build Relationships: With traditional link-building still fundamental in campaigns, our social media experts are well versed in charming bloggers and site owners for back links. Remember, nurturing a relationship with the right channels, can result in some positive PR (as well as that warm glow) so all good stuff.  One camper described the story of how creating a wide net of meaningful relationships can result in some beneficial “back scratching”.

• Get your hands dirty and get involved: There are parameters that protect and prevent (and quite rightly so) us as an agency representing a person and client online. With the various platforms that enable us to syndicate (Ping) content around the online sphere, however, some situations will enable us to represent a project or team that a company is working on. If enabled with the appropriate recourse, knowledge and support this can be very productive.

• Research the client: There is no better expert in their market than the client themselves and some thorough research at the start of the campaign may be an extremely helpful insight. Any staff using Twitter? Any bloggers? Forums used? Vital information may be right under your nose…

My experience at Measurement camp was enlightening. I felt very encouraged by all the lovely people that are involved in social media and inspired by their genuine ambition to produce great results as well as their eagerness to share new ideas. Measurement camp is a monthly event so representatives of Leapfrogg will be back and I am looking forward to delivering a presentation of my own there in the future. Exciting times in the industry, no day, result, campaign is the same and the industry itself seems to be in a constant state of flux so with unpredictable variables it is down to us to harness this information into meaningful data for the client. So here’s to stepping into the unknown….

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