- Mon, May 02 2011
- Filed under: Social networking and web 2.0
When I did PR for a big nonprofit early in my career, I was amazed by how much emphasis was put on “impressions.” If I got a mention of my organization in the paper, we’d count that paper’s circulation, plus pass-along readership, and come up with number of “impressions”—as if that many people had read and internalized the mention. This is still done, and it’s even applied to social media. If someone tweets something and they have 4,000 followers, that might be seen as 4,000 “impressions” even if only two people saw the tweet.
My problem with the “impressions” metric is that it doesn’t tell us much about whether anything happens as a result. We shouldn’t be measuring what we do; We should be measuring its effect on others—as well as what they do.
Now I read in the Harvard Business Review that Coca Cola measures social media in terms of expressions not impressions. This is a great way of describing meaningful measurement.
So, in addition to “consumer impressions,” we are increasingly tracking “consumer expressions.” To us, an expression is any level of engagement with our brand content by a consumer or constituent. It could be a comment, a “like,” uploading a photo or video or passing content onto their networks. We’re measuring those expressions and applying what we learn to global brand activations and those created at the local level by our 2,700 marketers around the world.
Coke offers the following tips on expressions:
1. Accept that consumers can generate more messages than you ever could.
2. Develop content that is so compelling, authentic and culturally relevant that it prompts sharing through any medium.
3. Accept that you don’t own your brands; your consumers do.
4. Build a process that shares successes and failures quickly throughout your company.
5. Be a facilitator who manages communities, not a director who tries to control them.
6. Speak up to set the record straight, but give your fans a chance to do so first.
Good advice for nonprofit marketing. You can read more here.