Defining the Metrics of Success, Twitter ed.

I wanted to title this week’s post, “‘I’m such a loser’ and other thoughts about Twitter” because that “losery” feeling descends upon me anytime I check my account. Followers are constantly coming and going; my tweets are unfavourited as easily as they’re favourited; in the end, I just don’t get it. While I’ll readily admit that I’m not the best or most prolific user, it can sometimes be demoralizing to see throw-away accounts gather more followers and traction than I could even imagine. In other words, I love Twitter, it just doesn’t love me back.

Some people will ask, “why do you care?” or “what’s the point of all these ‘likes’ ‘favourites’ and ‘retweets’?”. The simple answer is this: when I generate content whether it’s on this blog or my other social media accounts, I’m doing it so that I can build a community and I seek what so many others seek: engagement.  I want to know that what I’m doing means something, to someone, however remote. It’s not to suggest that I, or anyone, should tie our self-worth to other people or our social media presence, but the fact is that we’re all a part of this social web because we want to be heard. But how do we define success in this realm? Is it the number of followers, favourites, or retweets? We know that high numbers don’t always equal engagement. Is it the attention a tweet, individual, or brand receives? Or is it the magical golden egg known as engagement? Moreover, what does success in the realm of the social web mean for businesses/organization? Is it monetization? How do you translate the success of online campaigns to business initiatives? As you can see, there are many ways to define success which vary from situation to situation, and these goals will evolve as your brand, whether personal or corporate, grows. Your conversations will become more nuanced and represent a greater segment of people, and your voice will become stronger.

At the moment, what I’m trying to do on Twitter is find my space and where I belong. This is a personal mission and I’m doing this by participating more actively in conversations that interest and challenge me, finding clarity in my voice and concision in my thoughts/comments. For me, success is discovering where I fit in but how do I track and measure my progress? At this stage, it’s primarily a numbers game for me, which I suspect this will change over time. Even though it’s not my favourite way of measuring success, currently I define progress through numbers. How many retweets do I receive? When I post a link to my blog, how many people click through to drive site traffic? Which hashtags are most effective and what time should I post?

There are certain methods to improve your Twitter presence, as outlined here, here, and here, but what I think is most important is that you keep going, even when it doesn’t feel like anyone is listening. Just because people aren’t responding immediately doesn’t mean they won’t respond eventually. What you have to accomplish in the meantime is find your own voice, and figure out what you have to say. The social web is a crowded space and it takes awhile to determine where you belong in the conversation, and if you can’t find the space, then create it! All of this takes patience. Read more articles, interact with other users, listen, and adjust. It’s work but it can also be fun.

SXSW 2015 Trending Stories

I’ve been working on a lengthy post for this week and initially wasn’t planning on writing a second one. However, with all the fresh, innovative technologies and ideas coming out of South by Southwest (SXSW), which just wrapped its interactive portion on Tuesday, I couldn’t wait to share. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to attend the festival in person but here are a few stories I’ve seen trending online and I’ve gathered my favourites.

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Taylor Swift: A Case Study

Taylor Swift is undoubtedly one of the biggest pop stars in the world right now and I debated whether or not I should write a post centered around her because if felt like click-bait. Peruse any pop-culture site and you’ll find an article, photo, mention, anything really as an excuse to use Taylor’s name because mentioning her generates a boost in traffic. She’s on top of her game and people are responding with their “likes” “shares” and comments. All of this is fine to an extent but being a new, unknown blog, numbers aren’t my main goal and I don’t want to write about her for the sake of a few additional views. I wanted to scrap this post but the reality is that Taylor, or the people on Team Swift, have done an exemplary job using the social web and present a fascinating case study, one that I obviously can’t resist.

Full disclosure here, since the release of her album 1989 I’m what you would call a “Swiftie”, so I’m glad to see her not only succeeding but owning the moment so well. By all accounts, she’s a kind and talented person and her work speaks for itself. I’m not questioning her success or her intentions. Instead, I’d like to unpack the ways in which Taylor and her team have used the social web to accompany her re-branding as a bona fide global superstar and examine the ways in which she uses various channels to share content, focusing specifically on her Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr accounts. While her other profiles share similar content as the three outlets I’ve chosen, I’d like to focus on Twitter which she joined in 2008, Instagram which joined in 2011, and Tumblr which she began using in 2014 because these are the channels that demonstrate the most interaction between Taylor Swift and her audience, with Taylor messaging fans, commenting on their posts, and reblogging their content. There are so many elements of Team Swift’s social media presence to discuss but for the sake of brevity, I’ll focus on what I believe is their greatest strength: tone and targeted messaging.

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Here We Go Again

Hello?

Is anyone out there?

I won’t be upset if there isn’t. After all, it has been more than two years since my last post. But if by chance there is a reader sticking around, I want to say hi (!) and thanks.

I have to admit that this – my return to blogging and this blog in particular- has come as a surprise. This site was born as a school assignment and was supposed to end along with the class, slipping in line with countless other abandoned blogs and online projects. But I’ve hesitated to delete this site, periodically coming back to check the traffic and read old posts, and now I’ve worked up the courage to start writing again, this time without the class syllabus to provide structure and guidelines.

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Crisis Management: American Apparel and Super Storm Sandy

Note: Here we are, at my last post. It’s been an interesting term so far and I’ve learned a lot from this experience, so thank you for your readership and comments! To wrap things up, we’re going to discuss the use of social media in crisis management.

Effective crisis management has always been an important facet of public relations and requires constant planning and preparation, allowing organizations to react swiftly as crises arise. Ideally, with this monitoring and planning, crises can be avoided to begin with but the reality is that this isn’t always possible.

Arguably, with socially media now firmly embedded into our daily lives- from personal to organizational use- crisis management has become even more important. Social media helps expand the reach and speed of communication and while we’ve highlighted some of the positive ways this can affect an organization, it can also achieve similar results with negative aspects, which obviously is not beneficial for organizations dealing with a crisis.

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Social Media Monitoring Tools: An Assessment

Much like traditional forms of communications and public relations, social media initiatives need to be regularly monitored and evaluated. Although this task is a bit more difficult to do than with traditional media- new technologies, changing metrics, and a much larger platform- it still needs to be done. Three benefits for doing so are as follow:

1. The social web is a big place and conversations can occur across various platforms. Monitoring your organization’s social media programs allow you to identify where these conversations are happening as well as the key players, and lets you better understand your audience.

2. Social media monitoring is a key component in reputation management and helps your organization track both the good and the bad. What is the general sentiment towards your organization and what can you do to maintain or improve those perceptions?

3. Determining ROI and finding out what works and what doesn’t. Is their value in your current social media program? Are you concentrating on the correct forums?

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Finding the Balance

By now, most people on the social web are familiar with the hashtag symbol (#), which helps tag keywords in a tweet, allowing others to search for and find that content. Hashtags are simple to use and effective for search optimization, helping to improve keyword searches and connecting users with similar interests. They are important. However, in a bid to push content to more viewers, some users have taken the hashtag to a whole new, and very annoying level, by tagging #every #single #word.

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