One of the biggest mistakes that even the most seasoned business owners, communication professionals, and PR pros make is the failure to plan for effective measurement of their efforts. Using the principles of public relations, you can easily measure your communication efforts and do so without spending money, outsourcing, or downloading any apps or extensions. Sounds good, right?
First, let’s take a look at an example: if you were going to set a goal to lose 40 pounds, how would you know when you’d lost the weight? You’d start by weighing yourself and then when the scale is 40 pounds less, you can have a giant banana split. Just kidding!
The point is that in order to measure something, you need a baseline. You have to know how much you weigh. So, to measure your communication efforts, you need to get on the scale. Where are you at?
Conduct an Audit
This is the technical term for getting on the scale. You can easily analyze your previous efforts by conducting an audit of your communications. For instance, on social media, you can figure out the average number of likes you get on each post by dividing your total likes by the number of posts over a period of time (use at least a two-week period). Boom – you know that on average, you get X amount of likes on each post. To figure out your engagement rate, you would divide the average number of likes by your total followers.
PRO TIP: A “good” engagement rate is 3% and a “good” email open rate is between 15 – 25%
Through your audit, you can also identify the types of posts that perform the best (i.e. photos, videos, testimonials, etc.) and which posts drive website traffic by measuring clicks. If you realize through your audit that you’re not tracking clicks, then you need to add Google Analytics to your website, which will tell you how people are being referred to your website (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, other websites, etc.).
Set A Goal
Now that you have audited your efforts, it’s time to set a goal. Your goal could be simple, like posting more consistently on social media. Or, you could set a bigger goal like growing your following, getting started on a new platform (like Pinterest), and/or increasing reservations.
I like to encourage clients to set multiple goals and include a few different levels for each goal. For example, remember when you were applying to college and you were told to think of “safe schools”? Apply a similar principle to setting your goals and set safe, stretch, and dream goals so that you don’t plateau your potential for success.
PRO TIP: Set S.M.A.R.T. goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant/realistic, time-bound. Want to read more about goal setting? Check out this post.
Break It Down
This is arguably the most important phase to measure your communication efforts, even though it doesn’t include actually measuring anything (yet). After you set your goals, you need to break your goals into objectives.
Each objective should indicate what, where, by when, and how much. So, let’s imagine you set a goal of increasing your Instagram followers. An objective for this goal could be:
To increase the followers of [Instagram account name] by 10% over the next six weeks.
This answers what (increase followers), where (Instagram), when (six weeks), and how much (10%). Nothing fancy or complicated. Simple, clear, and precise. When thinking back to your goals, the safety is likely 10%, but the stretch could be 15% and the dream could be 20%. You could adjust your objective to then read “…by at least 10% over the next six weeks.”
PRO TIP: By including the measurement in your objective, you will not set goals that you are unable to track.
Track, Evaluate, and Course Correct
After you set your goals and objectives you can implement your plan and begin tracking your efforts, otherwise known as measurement. I recommend checking-in on your efforts weekly so that if you notice a problem, you can course correct accordingly. An example of an issue could be that you sent out an email with an incorrect link. Thus, your website traffic is much lower than expected and you need to send out a correction. Of course, at the end of your campaign or timeframe in your goal, you should do a deep-dive into the analytics you collected and determine whether or not you met your objectives.
Remember that there are many different ways to track earned media and measure communication efforts. Some examples include clicks, likes, shares, comments, impressions, open rates, and even sales. Try to avoid sharing content that cannot be tracked.
Measurement can be scary to a lot of people who would say they aren’t “numbers people” and I’m one of them! But the truth is, measurement is the key to working smarter and not harder and you don’t have to be a statistician to beat the algorithms and share strategic communications with your ideal customers.
Need help setting goals and measuring your success? Get in touch with me – I’d love to help you!