Jim Long - Web Video, Content Marketing, Social Media | Verge New Media

The Cameraman Marketer, Metrics and Measurement in Social Media

Greg Cangialosi over at The Trend Junkie has tagged me with the “measurement” meme in a post entitled “Metrics, Measurement, and Social Media”. In the same week author, entrepreneur and marketing strategist Geoff Livingston included me in a “DC Area’s Top 12 Social Media, Marketing, and PR blogs” list. So I’m scratching my head here. I’m a cameraman for a major network news organization, right? I’m not a marketer… or am I?

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In my journey with social media, my blogging, and use of platforms like Twitter and Facebook, I’ve discovered that I’ve become somewhat of a personal micro-media brand. I’ve been able to measure the tangible results of my personal brand building in terms of hard data, and in terms of harder to measure, yet deeply enriching professional and personal connections. The hard data is readily available and demonstrates that listening to the very smart people in this space, and engaging them in meaningful conversation goes a long way in building your brand. By hard data, I’m talking about Google search ranking and analytics, Technorati ranking/authority, blog traffic data, and friends in my circle of influence on various social networking platforms.

That more difficult to define measure of my social media involvement is how it’s enabled me to connect with incredibly smart, visionary, driven entrepreneurs. With fourteen hundred Twitter friends, I have a knowledge base of deeply engaged, early adopters drawn from the ranks of venture capital, PR, marketing, social and traditional media, web strategy, and technology. Social media enabled CC Chapman to connect me to my first professional speaking engagement and meet Geoff Livingston and Valeria Maltoni. People like David Eckoff of Turner Broadcasting cite me as a case study of how to use social media on panels at Streaming Media West. I use Facebook to organize events and affinity groups. Recently, I hosted a breakfast for Seesmic CEO, Loic Lemeur here in Washington, DC. In short, I’ve become relevant in this space. None of this would have been possible without my deep engagement in social media. I see TREMENDOUS value in all of that.

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Talking Twitter to marketers, Photo courtesy of CC Chapman

Twitter is my most front-facing social media tool. I post frequently every day, much of it on assignment for NBC News. People tell me they find this behind-the-scenes look into the news fascinating. Many have told me that I put a human face on “the media” that they would otherwise have no real connection with. So I think there is a real value here in being a bridge between the Facebook generation and traditional media. Those type of fuzzy metrics, while interesting, aren’t enough for corporations. They want ROI – and whether you define the “I” as “investment” or as Valeria Maltoni prefers “involvement” – a social media effort should produce measurable results. So it’s not enough that I’m the “crazy uncle” running around NBC evangelizing shiny new social media platforms. Big companies, like my current employer, want real definable results.

Kami Huyse points out that you should begin any social media effort with well defined relational objectives.

One of the things I will stress is the importance of having well-defined objectives. By definition, objectives have to be measurable, “What would you like to see happen and by when as a results of engaging in social media?”- Kami Huyse

John Bell, of Ogilvy’s 360 Digital Influence practice, helps us further define some of the nuance of social media measurement, exploring the distinction between influence, authority, engagement, and impact.

So, dear readers, how do you measure your social media activity, or in fact, do you measure at all? How are you defining reach, influence, and impact? Frankly, I’m still much of a noob at all of this. At the end of the day, at the core of my being, I’m just a cameraman..right? ;-)

  • http://www.marialanger.Com Maria

    Difficult to comment fully via smartphone but EXCELLENT post! I just read it to my husband to help explain why I’m using Twitter. And I agree entirely about the value of your behind the scenes tweets. Thanks so much!

  • http://www.secondtree.com/data Tim Wilson

    “By definition, objectives have to be measurable” gets accepted as an immutable law, when it really is not. I remember going through some PMI-like project management classes years ago where this was what the instructor taught. It didn’t sit well with me then, and it doesn’t sit with me well now. The problem is that acceptance of this as fact leads to a very bad, bad thing: objectives being abstracted from what *can* be measured, rather than the *real* objectives being developed.

    In today’s wired (and wireless) world, it’s never been easier to get at data. For Twitter, you can measure the number of people who are following you. For your blog, you can measure visits, unique visitors, and page views for free with Google Analytics. You can measure Diggs. You can measure the number of subscribers. You can measure a dozen other things without batting an eye.

    The “easy” way to measure is to take everything you *can* measure and then step back and try to develop unifying objectives that would allow you to group those measurements. This is scary, because it completely bypasses the “so what?” element. If, instead, you focus first on what your objectives truly are — regardless of whether you know how to measure them or not — you will be in a great starting place. And, you will be freed up to think a bit outside the box as to *how* you are going to measure them (like applying the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index to a web site: http://urltea.com/24f4). And, in my mind, if you have an objective or two that is not measurable in objective terms, it’s okay to leave some subjectivity in!

    More elaboration on the subject at: http://urltea.com/24eu

    For my personal blogs, I measure purely based on the quantity of content I post. But, in both cases, my objective is simply to keep a record of my thoughts and ideas (my data blog) or my family’s experiences (my family blog, co-authored with my wife). This is as easy to measure as looking at the date stamps on the blog posts. It has nothing to do with reach or influence.

    For my Twitter usage, my objective is to just understand it. That is clearly subjective. But, I keep track of how steadily I post, as well as how often I stumble across relevant work-related nuggets (like this post) because of it.

    For my company’s blog…we’re struggling a bit. We’ve somewhat realized that we did *not* have clear objectives when we started it. And, not surprisingly, we don’t feel like it has been a “success.”

    I don’t want to sound like I’m opposed to measurement. I’m not. My job is measurement! But, I always come back to a quote from Christopher Kenton in a post titled “Social Media Metrics” at (the now defunct) The Marketers’ Consortium blog: http://tinyurl.com/2rtrnt.

    “The lack of robust metrics makes a lot of marketers gun shy. If you can’t demonstrate clear ROI, how can you justify the budget? I don’t want to be flippant about this, but I think marketers need to bring a little balance to the justifiable demand for performance accountability. We do need to be accountable, and we do need to show that we’ve thoroughly vetted the investments we’re making. But when you’re in a competitive market that demands innovation, you have to get in the trenches to help innovation along, instead of just throwing up knee-jerk stop signs to every project that doesn’t come with a business case tied up in a neat bow. It makes me think of a prehistoric fish in a receding inland sea saying to an amphibian ’so, what’s the business case for legs?’”

  • http://blog.thelettertwo.com Ken

    I agree…EXCELLENT post. I think you’re definitely onto something and I would say that if anything…Twitter is just an extension of any media by connecting people together and shares pertinent information that people would find informative. Your twitter posts will let people know what’s going on and force them to seek out the info at a URL you publish in your Twitter post – whether that’s to Facebook, MySpace, NBC, a blog, etc.

    Why base the ROI solely on ONE item. Yes, corporate America may seem to want ROI based on rationalizing why Twitter is a good tool, but in looking over the long-term, it’s a man-made news ticker that can be made more personalized and adds a human aspect onto things. I agree with Valeria Maltoni’s definition of the I as meaning “involvement”…that’s what social media is (in my opinion)…getting the masses involved in the marketplace, but not as a collective, but as individuals influencing the way the world works.

  • http://www.disruptiveconversations.com/ Dan York

    Jim, Great post! You *have* become a “personal micro-media brand”. When we met at VON in Boston, in fact, my immediate thought was “Hey, that’s ‘newmediajim’!” And I certainly can be counted as one of those who very much enjoys your “behind-the-scenes” view of your work. Many thanks for jumping so far deep into this grand experiment!

  • http://raw.channelfrederator.com/profile/rickwolff Rick Wolff

    Man, I am so there!

    Marshall MacLuhan was referring to television when he made that first quotable truism, but it seems now more than ever, the medium is the message! People blog about Facebook. They Twitter about Seesmic (whatever that is). They podcast about their blog, and blog about their podcast. They obey the rules of cross-promotion to such an extent that it crowds out the end in favor of the means (medium).

    At the end of the day, if you haven’t either made some money or made a friend, there’s no measurable point to your activity. And by friend, I’m not talking about a name with a ticked check box. I mean, someone whom you’ve physically met and manage to discuss something else besides social networking. Someone you give a damn about, and vice versa. Nobody has 4957 of those. Though, of course, the more casual the “friendship” the more countable they are. There are friends you count, and friends you count on.

    In conclusion, I totally understand the befuddlement of the old TV networks about all this. Instead of explanation, I hear a lot of PRspeak. But I’m still listening.

  • http://www.vaspersthegrate.blogspot.com vaspers aka steven e. streight

    I agree with all that is said on this post, except the measurement thing.

    Corporations have to quit trying to get an accounting department metric, and just do what’s right, regardless of what “return” they get on it. What is the ROI of new carpet, business cards, or a CEO making 600 times what the lowest paid employee gets?

    Sometimes, a company has to be visionary, without a spreadsheet flapping in the breeze.

    Businesses should think: we ought to be on Twitter, Facebook, Spock, Gleamd, Mahalo, Pownce, Jaiku, etc. because we’ll be increasing our exposure to younger people, potential recruits or customers, and we’ll be able to establish our thought leadership and our openness to customer communications.

    The symbolic value of blogging, Twittering, etc. is huge.

    Engaging in social media can solve one of the biggest problems of MSM and corporations: credibility, trust, human warmth, true connection with the public or audience served.

    When I see anyone mentioned in a business publication, I always expect the person’s name to be linked to a blog, so I can learn more about them, and gain more of their thinking.

    Sure, we have to justify time spent on Twitter, blogging, etc. for an employer.

    I just wish companies would learn that these social media tools work powerful magic for SEO, good will, and establishing trust.

    You, NewMediaJim, just happen to be the point of the spear that is plunging into this new, and ever increasingly proven, new realm. I’m honored to be in communication with you via your blog and your Twitter tweets.

    In spite of your pioneering work and growing popularity, you remain humble and interactive with everyone, not just the “celebrities” or “influencers”.

    http://twitter.com/vaspers

  • http://www.technosailor.com Aaron Brazell

    I sense a career change, @newmediajim. ;-)

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  • http://www.livingstonbuzz.com/blog Geoff Livingston

    Great round-up post, Jim! Thanks for participating. John Bell’s definitely taking social media measurement to a new level. I am finding that many of the roads lead to him, just as your thread has…

  • http://rss4everyone.blogspot.com/ scott mcdougall

    You are an excellent writer Jim. I can’t believe you regard yourself as ‘just’ a cameraman. i see the camera as the smallest part of what you do, talking for the readers of your blogs and tweets, I don’t remember ever seeing your camera work nor would it be distinguishable from other ‘pool’ cameramen so clearly people are not following you for that.

    Your experience about the political world, your international travels, your ability to write, great personality and likeability, your credibility, professionalism, and you still know how to go out an have fun, are worth a great deal to all of us.

    People want to have your experience, people want to be a fly on the wall in international meetings when they are busy earning a living doing something else. If you could find a way to become a media outlet yourself, become a NewsFeed yourself, (you have the O/C skills), allow people to donate to your feed, and maybe you will give us more information on the event, your own take on the events and how the meetings you go to will impact the world or just a microcosm.

    Today we are missing quality editorials by smart people, that we trust are not in the pockets of big corporations, or in danger of loosing their jobs, you come across as a reporter with the highest marks IMO.

    BTW i liked your interview with the other cameraman, more of this kind of thing is good as well. very good because it is other people reinforcing your comments and adding to your story, adding depth and additional faces, bringing directly into your world.

    don’t have time to check for sp mistakes today…

    bye for now Jim!

  • DA #23

    “People tell me they find this behind-the-scenes look into the news fascinating.”

    truth! i sit in the buro all day — your pov is better.

  • Anonymous

    “People tell me they find this behind-the-scenes look into the news fascinating.”

    truth! i sit in the buro all day — your pov is better.

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  • http://www.barefeetstudios.com Rox

    Jim – your official trade may not be statistician or marketer, but you are one of the best network marketers I know (I mean – just look at the link love in this post alone!) and being that you are out on the street when news happens, you have a direct line into one of the most important measurements (as Vaspers alludes to) – how people actually respond in the moment. It’s hard to put a number on, but you have developed a strong sense about it and make use of that sense all over the place.

    As for numbers, I was literally crying a week ago over my confusion with numbers for Beach Walks with Rox. Our subscribers have gone up 25% but our so-called views are down. Our old media server with episodes 1 – 420 shows almost as much traffic as our more recent blip-hosted episodes. It makes no sense. So I plow ahead, and within *hours* of those tears, we were featured on YouTube Travel channel, and voila, 80,000 views over the weekend. Like I said, it makes no sense. You just do what you wanna do, and trust that people who wanna find you, will. get in the game, play nice with others, and focus on good content. You are a master at all three.

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  • http://www.vaspersthegrate.blogspot.com/ vaspers aka steven e. streight

    I agree with all that is said on this post, except the measurement thing.

    Corporations have to quit trying to get an accounting department metric, and just do what's right, regardless of what “return” they get on it. What is the ROI of new carpet, business cards, or a CEO making 600 times what the lowest paid employee gets?

    Sometimes, a company has to be visionary, without a spreadsheet flapping in the breeze.

    Businesses should think: we ought to be on Twitter, Facebook, Spock, Gleamd, Mahalo, Pownce, Jaiku, etc. because we'll be increasing our exposure to younger people, potential recruits or customers, and we'll be able to establish our thought leadership and our openness to customer communications.

    The symbolic value of blogging, Twittering, etc. is huge.

    Engaging in social media can solve one of the biggest problems of MSM and corporations: credibility, trust, human warmth, true connection with the public or audience served.

    When I see anyone mentioned in a business publication, I always expect the person's name to be linked to a blog, so I can learn more about them, and gain more of their thinking.

    Sure, we have to justify time spent on Twitter, blogging, etc. for an employer.

    I just wish companies would learn that these social media tools work powerful magic for SEO, good will, and establishing trust.

    You, NewMediaJim, just happen to be the point of the spear that is plunging into this new, and ever increasingly proven, new realm. I'm honored to be in communication with you via your blog and your Twitter tweets.

    In spite of your pioneering work and growing popularity, you remain humble and interactive with everyone, not just the “celebrities” or “influencers”.

    http://twitter.com/vaspers

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