“What we are doing is more lively and accessible than developing an exhibit and providing a catalog.” -Michael Edson, NY T...
How to Measure Social Media Success: The Smithsonian Collections Blog, a case study<br />Rachael Cristine Woody, Freer|Sac...
Preface	<br />Mandate to get out there, and get online! Be accessible to the users! Generate content!  Be Fun! Be Exciting...
Table of Contents<br />Definition of Social Media<br />Goal of Social Media<br />Case Study Introduced<br />Definition of ...
Definition<br />Social Media: is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via ...
Social Media is not the goal, it’s the vehicle to reach your goal!Goal: Exposure, Engagement, Influence, Action<br />
Case Study: The Smithsonian Collections Blog<br /><ul><li>Platforms
Set Up</li></ul>http://si-siris.blogspot.com/<br />
Success<br />suc·cess Noun   /səkses/<br />Synonyms:<br />noun: hit, prosperity, luck, achievement, triumph, speed, accomp...
What do you Measure?<br />Exposure, Engagement, Influence, Action<br />
How do you Measure?<br />Numbers Trends Relationships Sharing<br />Google Analytics, Interactions on site<br />Google Anal...
Where and How Often do you Measure?<br />Visitors: unique and loyal<br />Content: popularity and diffusion<br />Traffic: d...
Google Analytics<br />
Visitors<br />
Content<br />
Traffic<br />
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How To Measure Social Media Success


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This presentation was given March 23rd, 2011 to the Smithsonian\'s Freer|Sackler Gallery as part of a Research in Progress talk. The presentation is a case study using the Smithsonian Collections Blog as a framework to explore and provide guidance for museum social media engagement, and how to identify and measure success using Google Analytics.

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  • Many museums received the following mandate: When Secretary Clough came onboard in 2009, he gave Smithsonian staff the blessing to go online; but he didn’t tell us where online, let alone how to do it. How liberating, right? Or, where the hell do we begin? There are thousands of questions and the truth of the matter is, he doesn’t know the answers. He’s letting us figure it out. The same is true across the museum culture and within the corporate world.Therefore some important questions we need to ask before we begin, and periodically as we progress are:Whose reaching us? Who are we trying to reach? What content should we use? Where should we put it? What social media platforms are most effective for our message? Where are our engaged followers already at?Why should we engage in social media? What’s in it for the audience and what’s in it for us?And the most important question…How? How do we navigate contributing to a social media platform and how do we measure success?There is an extreme lack of guidance, not only for the Smithsonian, but for the museum community at large. This presentation is research-in-progress to identify the components of social media set up and success measurement. Furthermore I hope to articulate why we are doing this and if we are doing it right. My research is based in my experience creating and managing The Smithsonian Collections Blog, and is supplemented with social media books and articles from the museum, archival and PR communities. This research will be presented in the Spring 2011 MARAC conference, and the topic is submitted for review to be published as an article in the Society of American Archivist’s publication.
  • Above is the traditional definition of Social Media. Romantically, social media and its mass-inspired movement has been referred to as: the ultimate democracy of information sharing. A people powered content evolution. And a PR Renaissance. Social media is different from a website because a website is a static dictation of formalized museum information. Navigating a website is solitary, cold and automated, allowing no exchange or interaction between the museum and the visitor. Social media is a platform where a museum can build and sustain a relationship with each and every one one of it’s visitors. As with any relationship in the “real world,” it takes work. There is a getting to know you phase, a give and take of effort and attention, and every action having the best of intentions for it’s receiver. Social media and its relationship implications have required museums (and corporations) to become personable and interctive.Museum content on social media platforms typically consist of highlighting collections, unveiling hidden treasures, informing and educating the public on collection projects, announcing new discoveries, etc. A few of the social media platforms the Smithsonian is participating in are: Art Babble, Blogspot, Facebook, Flickr, FourSquare, LibraryThing, Linkedin, Myspace, Ning, Second Life, Tumblr, Twitter, uStream, Vimeo, Wordpress, Youtube. There are 492 Smithsonian entities with registered social media accounts; Freer|Sackler holding 5 of them.WHY? Why are there 492 SI social media accounts? Why the rush into the wild west of web-based interactions?With information being just a short Google search away, public expectation on access, use and interaction online have changed. The attitude that “if it’s not on the web, it doesn’t exist” is becoming more and more prevalent. Web 2.0 technology has evolved to enable and encourage the every-day person to review, interact, add, modify, improve, comment on, and share online content personally and professionally. Museums have slowly allowed this shift ininternet behavior to change theway they traditionally haveinteracted with visitors.An online visitor is just as important to serve as a physical visitor, but the museum world is still catching up and adjusting the value and priority placed on the online visitor. Museums are beginning to join in social media platforms for a few reasons. 1. They’ve realized it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. 2. An increasing number (if not already a majority) of their visitors can now be found in a social media environment. And 3. Museum’s need to stay relevant, if they expect to remain experts in the field. Museum staff need to make sure they show up, contribute and engage in their fields as they exists virtually.I believe museum’s need toexperiment to determinewhich tools meet our visitor’sneeds.This people powered contentevolution is forcing user interactions from the PR department to Archivists, Librarians, and Museum Specialists; who are now responsible for taking a more active outreach role online. It is not enough to merely digitize the collections for access, we must now offer a way for visitors to interact with the collections and us as a result.My case study with the Smithsonian Collections Blog, is an experiment in this new universe of visitor expectations.
  • Too often there is a “Just Do It” attitude when it comes to managerial mandates to get on social media. I think this has perpetuated the inaccurate conclusion that if the museum is available on social media, then its job is done. If we are going to “do it” we need to determine goals to work towards and measure against. To create goals, it must be decided who “we” are that’s participating in social media, and who our visitors are. In this case I am identifying content key holders as the “we” involved in content creation. We are the Archives, Library, Curatorial, Conservation and Collections departments.Historically, our primary motivation for getting our content online is so it can be seen. For content key holders, accessibility and diffusion is paramount. This is still the case, but social media has altered our status quo. In my research with the museum and archival material on social media, I found too often that the content key holders were wrong in thinking that their only motivation for putting content in a social media format was to gain audience insight. This view is lop-sided as our primary role is a service role to the community. The whole picture of why we’re on social media is not asking what our visitors can do for us, but what we can do for our visitors. Now, our enhanced motivation for getting content online is for it to be seen, used, interacted with, and shared. To start, we need to ask ourselves and our visitors what they want, and determine how they want to learn and interact with our content.A museums’ social media presence and interaction should be an extension of what they do in their physical museum world. Staff can do this by creating helpful how-to’s, videos, Q&amp;A, and other easily digestible tid-bits about the profession or subject area. This content creation can seem daunting, but think of how much already exists and can be reinvented for social media consumption. Just remember to keep the tone “human,” approachable, encouraging of interaction, and open to the development of relationships.Reviewing traditional museum motivations, priorities and goals, I believe our social media mission can be stated as: gaining exposure for collections, engaging visitors, influencing community and inspiring action.
  • Now introducing the case study:The Smithsonian Institution Research and Information System (SIRIS) Members committee wanted to bring our collections and ourselves to our visitors in the social media world. We examined social media platforms that had proven themselves popular, yet not fleeting. Strategy in our selection was important because being on all forms of social platforms is both unnecessary and unsustainable. In looking at the top three forms: Twitter, Facebook, and Blogging we observed the following:Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that can spread news, information and opinions quickly in 140 characters or less. This is great if you can link to already existing content, but it discourages expansive creation and relies on people finding and following you to be effective in getting the word out.Facebook is a space where you can throw photos, invite people to events, share bookmarks, solicit feedback and engage in conversations. It’s also a space best utilized by already existing physical entities, with already existing communities. The people who are already interested in you will find you there.Blogging provides a narrative format that can share content in the form of text, photos and videos. The blogging community is not exclusive and lends itself to attracting new people through suggestions, higher Google rankings, and easy share-it-ability. Blogging can feed and nurture your existing community and attract new members. Blogs are a popular form because they can convey the museum’s personality in tone, content information, and branding. A blogging platform seemed the most appropriate for 16 aggregate voices across the Smithsonian to begin exposure of our collections, engagement of new and old visitors, influence our communities and professions, and inspire action.***Point to Blog picture: branding, mission, content, contributors, related links.Specific goals the SIRIS members want to achieve are:GOALSExposure for collections, projects and professionsHost a place for interaction with visitorsOutreach to and beyond our existing visitors Increase SEO numbers for our collections contentProvide a creative outlet for staffWhile at the same time, SIRIS members want to continually ask:QUESTIONSAre we producing good content?Who are we reaching?Is it worth staff time?What reactions and interactions do we want?What impact will this have on our collections and our work?These goals and questions for the Smithsonian Collections Blog fall in-line with the social media mission of: exposure, engagement, influence and action.What it took to SET UP the Smithsonian Collections Blog:I led meetings to establish web content strategy initiatives and goals in consultation with key players (i.e. other archivists, librarians, and museum specialists).Members created web content standards (like voice, tone, timeliness, relevancy, and so on).Members decided on what we would publish (for whom, where, when and how).Members participated in operational discussions about resource planning and management, content management technology, and so on.I created and led content grooming, training, and provided motivation for content creators.I coordinated the schedule, analyzed analytics, provided updated training, and submitted reports to the SIRIS Members committee and upper management (including the Secretary), led collaboration with other SI blogs for campaign causes, and contributed to the larger SI social media discussion.
  • Once a museum has identified its social media platform and defined its goals; its next step is to determine to how it will measure success. Assuming a museum is not in it to be in it, then being in social media does not mean instant success. An examination of efforts need to take place to determine current success against the goals established. This is the part where museums need to determine to what extent they want to measure their results. Perhaps it is basic as counting Facebook fans, twitter followers, or blog readers. Or at the opposite side of the spectrum like our corporate counterparts, you are wondering to how your success plays in your Return on Investment. There is not a magical equation to measure success in social media. You can measure by a gut-check, or eyeball the numbers. You can checkmark against articulated goals and create basic statistic benchmarks. You can even perform and extensive mathematical equations with identifiable factors and variables for a ROI analysis. For many museums the right way is one or more of these options. I argue that at the very least, you do a checkmark system measure against the social media mission. To do so, achievables, measurables and analytics come into play. My nest few slides will discuss what to measure, how to measure ,and where you can find analytics information.
  • Let’s define the achievement factors that we will checkmark the Smithsonian Collections Blog against:Exposure: Is the content from the institution being published in a social media setting and receiving viewership?Engagement: Are people interacting and engaging with the content?Influence: Has the exposure and engagement influenced perceptions and attitudes with the online community or profession?Action: Has the content been replicated, shared, or otherwise proliferated?These can be simple, surface-level yes/no answers, or you can continue to drill down with each category. For example with Exposure; is the content receiving exposure? Yes. Exposure to who? Do you have more unique, onetime visitors, or do you have more loyal repeat visitors? Where is your content being exposed? Etc.
  • To measure achievement factors you need to define qualitative measurables. Above is what I have defined as the Smithsonian Collections Blog’s measurables, and where I find the raw data for them.Guidelines for each section are as follows:Numbers: Count numbers in all forms: unique visitors, loyal visitors, engaged visitors, visitors in your target community, comments you receive, and old numbers compared to new numbers. Numbers can represent the exposure, and to a smaller extent, engagement your content is receiving.Trends: Look at trends to better understand previous consumption habits and identify how to better meet visitor’s changing needs. Viewing what content was most popular in the short and long term can better determine current and future needs, gaining you greater influence, and potential engagement and action.Relationships: Look at commentary and interactions that occur in addition to viewer loyalty statistics to see which of your visitors come back, how often they come back, and what they say when they’re engaging. These interactions and repeat visits indicate a relationship being formed, which means you’re content and effort on the social media platform is worthy of a relationship.Sharing: Track the content that is shared. Links to your content and further commentary can occur on other social media platforms such as: twitter, facebook, stumbleupon; and online sources for news, academic or cultural institutions. By tracking the sharing of your content you can see influence and action occurring based on your output.
  • In the plethora of analytics out there, where in the metrics do you find what to measure? For the sake of simplicity and focus of this lecture, I will only review the use of Google Analytics for where to measure.Numbers are the easiest thing to measure; what is difficult is extrapolating meaning from those numbers. Over a period of time I observe and analyze significant markers, track trends, and identify meaningful changes within the statistics. The sections I use most in the Google Analytics are: visitors, content, traffic and geography; and relate the raw statistics to my measurables. The sections can identify ***(read slide) All sections can provide one or two achievement factors: exposure, engagement, influence, action.For measurement frequency, I suggest you measure at a rate that is relative to production. For example, The Smithsonian Collections Blog’s analytics is measure weekly as we produce an average of 3-4 posts a week. We also measure monthly to view any cyclical patterns that may emerge based upon our author contribution schedule.
  • Currently on the screen we’re looking at the Dashboard view, or what I like to call the cliff notes to the statistics. When I check this page once a week I look for numbers that have dramatically increased or decreased and I work backwards to figure out what may have instigated those changes. *** Point out obvious markers:Date for comparisonSpikes, campaignDashboard quick numbersTop areas
  • Visitor Overview provides raw viewership statistics, identifies unique and loyal visitors, and provides visitor access capabilities.The most important components I review on this page are:Overall visits: The Smithsonian Collections Blog averages 1,000 visits a week and I like to monitor whether that has increased or decreased, and work to determine why that shift may be. Spikes in the graph show that particular content for that day was interesting to our viewer.New vs Returning: Although the blog authors enjoy engagement with repeat visitors, we also want to continually draw new readers in as the content may be applicable to their interests via their Google search. Our coverage of content is vast, so we don’t expect a small/loyal community.
  • The Content page helps to identify popularity and diffusion of our content. The most important tools I use on this page are: Top Content: Shows me a breakdown for our most popular posts, which I can use to guide future content. By adjusting our content accordingly, we have been able to steadily build our numbers by providing what’s interesting to our visitors; this increases our influence and inspires further sharing.Entrance Sources: provide a breakdown of where our referred visitors are coming from, which in turn means where our content has been shared. It breaks down entrances sources from other social media or online websites. By monitoring where we are being shared, I can ensure that those same sources are aware of future related content. For example the University of Chicago picked up and shared one of our early Herzfeld posts. I reached out to the editor of their Ancient World Online Blog and have since developed a strong relationship both on and offline. As a result, coverage of our collections by peer institutions have increased, and stronger ties have been built for future collaboration.Click Patterns: New and still in beta-testing, this tool promises to be a huge boon in analytics as it tracks visitor click throughs as they read content. This tool allows us to see related interests readers have while visiting our blog.
  • The traffic page, for me, is the most easily useful. I can see in numbers, percentages, and graph form how our visitors are reaching us by direct link or referred by other online sitesKeywords: these are search terms that led visitors to our blog. By analyzing the terms we can identify if we are providing the content that these visitors are interested in. The more searched for a term, the more in-demand that topic must be.Sources: When reviewing the referring site sources I can see how many visitors are coming from which sites. This section will tell me how much exposure we’re getting, and indicates how much influence we have within other online communities. For example, the Archives of American Gardens has several dedicated online garden forums that increasingly send traffic to our blog. The forums inclusion and sharing of our content portends strong relationship ties being built with the forums. In addition, the blog gains influence within the gardening community hosted by the forums.
  • Geography may matter more to some than others. It is important to me and the Freer|Sackler Archives because we want to ensure they we are reaching the geographic communities that our collections have originated from. I take great pride in that although the first 4 countries are English speaking, the rest of the top ten include Germany, India, and Turkey. Our number of visitors increase in those areas any time I post content from their area. To me, that is a direct correlation of our efforts to bring exposure to our collections to a very important community we wanted to reach.(BTW, I realize Germany is not an “asian” country, but it does host a large populous of Herzfeld fanatics; in addition to the largest Japanese population in Europe.)
  • In the few statistics I’ve shared with you, has the Smithsonian Collections Blog achieved it’s social media mission?I would say, simply, yes. We have gained exposure for our collections that never would have existed had we not explored a blogging platform. We have met and engaged with visitors over topics in both the collections and within our profession. Our influence has increased by allowing transparency into our professions and by providing easier access to both ourselves and the collections. And we have inspired action within our visitors every time they return to us, share us, engage with us, or allow themselves to learn and be inspired by us.As for specific goals for the Smithsonian Collections Blog: (read through)There are no end of metrics being created to measure, and the most effect statistics are the hardest to measure. A next step for measuring growth for the Smithsonian Collections Blog is to drilldown further in the statistics to determine how successful our success is. By analyzing our numbers output over the last year, we could set numbers driven benchmarks and adjust our actions accordingly to meet those increased goals. For example, an action that is easily identified is: increase content output and campaign themed posting. This action would increase success in all aspects of our social media mission. Unfortunately, additional activities to grow the blog would warrant a full-time dedicated position. To give you a parallel, the Smithsonian Institution Archives’ Bigger Picture has two full-time social media staff that author, edit, coordinate and promote posts. Only with this commitment of additional resources and support will the Smithsonian Collections blog continue to flourish and grow.
  • IN this presentation I have defined social media, established a social media mission for museums, outlined measurables and told you where to find them within the crazy world of analytics. I used the Smithsonian Collections blog as a case study to provide a framework to apply the theory and practice of social media, and laid out each step of set up and measurement. In this presentation, it was determined that the Smithsonian Collections Blog was successful by using the checkmark system against stated goals. I also identified areas for further exploration in measuring and adjusting social media efforts in production.As far as where I see the Evolution of the Social Media in the Museum:I believe the change in technology and how we as human beings communicate will necessitate museum staff to change their mind-set and adapt skills and habits of the 21st century. The focus on adoption of technology will remain essential and those slow to adapt have and will continue to suffer lack of exposure, engagement, and influence in their communities. Museums will seek excited, early adopters, and really – problem solvers to take part on their staff. Workflow processes will be created and tweaked to incorporate social media actions into the every day work activities. Social media engagers will not be dependent upon a Public Affairs department. Management will accordingly become aware of the impact of staff social media engagement and provide support. Finally, there will be an effort made from the management level down to the staff to refocus the examination of success from the physical visitor as the priority (or only) visitor, to include the online visitor as an equal and valued visitor.Though technology and social media will evolve (and quickly), the mission will remain the same. It all get’s back to finding and building a stronger and mutually beneficial relationship with interested and engaged followers. This relationship will better collections information, make us better participants in our profession, and a thousand other reasons that help us and our visitors. Social media, like a any relationship, is a long term investment; and it’s about cultivating sustainable interaction with partners rather consumers.Quote from Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieth.
  • An interesting footnote in the conversation that I had to cut from the presentation, but I will cover in my article. The evaluation of popularity vs effectiveness.
  • How To Measure Social Media Success

    1. 1. “What we are doing is more lively and accessible than developing an exhibit and providing a catalog.” -Michael Edson, NY Times<br />“Talk to anyone involved with museum technology and the conversation inevitably boils down to one universal work: engagement.” - Shelley Bernstein, NY Times<br />“It’s not about getting more traffic, it’s about getting traffic that gives a $*!&.” – Jay Baer, Content Rules!<br />“Only the clueless are impressed by numbers.” – SEO Book<br />“Internet users with the most influence among peers don’t just have followers, they have engaged followers.” – Evan Kraus, Social Informants<br />“We are now broadcasters of knowledge. It’s invigorating and a real collaboration.” –Michael Edson, NY Times<br />“In the end we want people to feel ownership of this museum. We want to engage with our community.” – Shelley Bernstein, NY Times<br />“Unless we pay attention to external factors, we my be planning for the wrong future.” –Richard Pearce-Moses, The American Archivist<br />
    2. 2. How to Measure Social Media Success: The Smithsonian Collections Blog, a case study<br />Rachael Cristine Woody, Freer|Sackler Archivist<br />Research in Progress Talk<br />March 23rd, 2011<br />
    3. 3. Preface <br />Mandate to get out there, and get online! Be accessible to the users! Generate content! Be Fun! Be Exciting! Be Popular! <br />Lack of guidance on the logistics: who/what/where/when/why/how?<br />
    4. 4. Table of Contents<br />Definition of Social Media<br />Goal of Social Media<br />Case Study Introduced<br />Definition of Success<br />What, How and Where do you Measure<br />Google Analytics<br />Case Study Success<br />Conclusion<br />
    5. 5. Definition<br />Social Media: is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue.<br />Wikipedia<br />“If it’s not on the web, it doesn’t exist.”<br />- 50 million hits on Google for this quote<br />
    6. 6. Social Media is not the goal, it’s the vehicle to reach your goal!Goal: Exposure, Engagement, Influence, Action<br />
    7. 7. Case Study: The Smithsonian Collections Blog<br /><ul><li>Platforms
    8. 8. Goals
    9. 9. Questions
    10. 10. Mission
    11. 11. Set Up</li></ul>http://si-siris.blogspot.com/<br />
    12. 12. Success<br />suc·cess Noun /səkses/<br />Synonyms:<br />noun: hit, prosperity, luck, achievement, triumph, speed, accomplishment<br />The accomplishment of an aim or purpose<br />The attainment of popularity or profit<br />A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity<br />The outcome of an undertaking, specified as achieving or failing to achieve its aims<br />
    13. 13. What do you Measure?<br />Exposure, Engagement, Influence, Action<br />
    14. 14. How do you Measure?<br />Numbers Trends Relationships Sharing<br />Google Analytics, Interactions on site<br />Google Analytics, Google Alerts, Twitter/Hootsuite<br />Google Analytics<br />Google Analytics, Twitter Trends<br />Ernst Herzfeld’s drafting tools.<br />
    15. 15. Where and How Often do you Measure?<br />Visitors: unique and loyal<br />Content: popularity and diffusion<br />Traffic: direct and referral<br />Geography: target communities with identified interests<br />“Only the clueless are impressed by numbers.”<br />- SEO Book “Social Media: the need for measurement”<br />
    16. 16. Google Analytics<br />
    17. 17. Visitors<br />
    18. 18. Content<br />
    19. 19. Traffic<br />
    20. 20. Geography<br />
    21. 21. Smithsonian Collections Blog Success?<br />GOALS<br /><ul><li>Exposure for collections, projects and professions
    22. 22. Host a place for interaction with visitors
    23. 23. Outreach to and beyond our existing visitors
    24. 24. Increase SEO numbers for our collections
    25. 25. Provide a creative outlet for staff</li></li></ul><li>Conclusion<br />“We don’t really measure it, it’s just another relationship building tool.”<br />-Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieth<br />
    26. 26. Popularity v. Effectiveness<br />Apple’s only Twitter account (through VP Scott Forstall), has 37,000 followers and 0 tweets. Apple’s twitter account is popular, but it’s not an effective social media endeavor because it’s not exposing, engaging, influencing or inspiring action. <br />Compare that to Google who has almost 3 million followers and over 2,000 tweets which provide updates on new products, related and helpful links and actively engage with user commentary. <br />Google is both popular and effective, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.<br />