Evaluating Social Media: Step 1. Determine what you will evaluate

We have already determined that we’re evaluating social media efforts. But the question remains whether you are measuring a strategic initiative or a tactical effort.

A strategic initiative might include aiming for behavior change (e.g. new communities to participate in classical music; one-time ticket buyers to return); a repositioning effort (e.g. going from an organization that purely presents performances to an organization that stands in the middle of the community); or brand awareness (e.g. earning the reputation of an innovative arts organization; earning the reputation of an arts organization for the community).

A tactical effort might include evaluating how well your message is being disseminated; quality of communication with your audience (e.g. satisfaction of you social media engagement or quality of blog responses); a social media campaign; or simply one aspect such as your podcasts, videos or Facebook presence.

Our evaluation of social media efforts is therefore an evaluation of a tactical effort (social media). But throughout the subsequent blog posts, as you will soon read, we will be looking at how it is placed within a larger strategic context.

Let me now take just one minute to highlight an important point: the difference in evaluating a communications plan as opposed to evaluating a marketing plan. While I have indicated that I believe it is important to approach your communications plan from an integrated marketing communications perspective, in general terms, a communications plan is focused on policy or behavior change, whereas a marketing plan is focused on sales and commerce. Your social media campaign will likely touch on both and I will try to incorporate a brief comparison between the two concepts in the different steps. However, keep in mind that we’re working with a communications evaluation guide.

Your influence on policy or behavior change is a more abstract matter to measure than an increase in ticket sales or recording sales. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at step two: defining your goal.

(Source: Are We There Yet? A Communications Evaluation Guide)