#measurePR: Influence and Social Media

October 26th, 2011 | Shonali Burke | 16 Comments

who's influencing whom in social media?Seeing as how Jen Zingsheim has bravely been shouldering the #measurePR burden weight the last few weeks, I thought it only right to ask her to return to this week’s chat… but this time, as a guest.

And since the topic of influence in social media isn’t going away any time soon, particularly with new tools cropping up, we thought we’d talk about that.

We tackled four questions, and I was thrilled that it was an engaged discussion with several new participants as well. These were:

1. How do you approach measuring influence in social media?

Jen said the first step is to determine your goals, and preferably tie them to business goals. The important question to ask is, “Why are you measuring?”

Then, determine context. “Without context, influence doesn’t mean anything,” said Jen (and angels sang, as Erica Allison would say). Ted Weismann asked for an explanation of “context,” and I loved what Jen said:

“Context means relevance to your audience. Can Justin Bieber sell motor oil to 50 [year old] males?”


2. Do we, as an industry, get our definitions wrong? Eg, many people say “measuring” when they are really “monitoring.” Y/N?

Most people thought, “yes,” we do. Because you can monitor till the cows come home, but until you’re actually analyzing and drawing conclusions from the data, and seeing where you are with respect to your goals, you’re not really measuring.


Great quote from Cris Davis: ” Without monitoring you could have a crisis erupt and miss the lava.”

And Fabiola Fleuranvil very sensibly asked, “And why monitor if you won’t measure?”

Why, indeed? Therein lies the rub.

3. Jen had brought my attention to this (excellent) post by Matthew Rideout where he points out that several “measurement” tools are really just focusing on outputs as opposed to outcomes.

And we asked what everyone thought of that.

The reason both Jen and I (I’m speaking for her here, but since she pointed the post out to me, I’m going to make a reasonable assumption) think this is a great post is because, as Jen said, “Matt’s ‘Molly’ example is spot on. Influence tools can’t get to offline influence.”

(Who’s Molly? Read the post!)

But just say the K word and of course, you unleash a hornet’s nest on Klout scores, people being hired (or not) because of them, and so on… which is usually fun and it was no different yesterday.

I’ve said more than enough about Klout so I won’t say anything more right now!

4. What are some simple steps people can take to create an effective social media measurement program?

Jen said to put the “plan first, tools second. This is a mistake I think many make. You end up measuring to fit the tool.” Then, she said, pick the right tool… and pointed out that it might not be the one you’re currently using… or the one that’s free.

So much awesome in one chat! Here’s the transcript of #measurePR with Jen on influence and social media.

Oh, and before I forget: Jen gave propz to Spiral16 for their hilarious take on a one-size-fits-all monitoring tool.

I hope you enjoy the read and save the date for our next chat, which will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 12-1 pm ET.

And thank you, all those who joined in!

Image: Gabriela Camerotti via Flickr, CC 2.0

Shonali Burke
Head honcho of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke is President & CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, she loves helping for- and non-profit clients, both small and large, turn corporate codswallop into community cool™. She also loves ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
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@spiral16 Thanks for passing along and for participating... and that GREAT blog post. #measurepr


Great chat--as far as the influence controversy goes, I think there are a lot of ways to approach influence measurement and none of them are perfect, but if you understand what's important for your specific program or campaign, you can find something that will at least approach your needs.

PS Thanks to you both for giving us a shout-out on the Stat-Master 9000. We're really excited about its built-in social media ROI calculator!


Love this post! Thanks for sharing the deets from a chat I adore and hate to miss. How do you prefer to save transcripts of your tweetchats? As host of Association Chat, I have lost some of my fave archiving tools since Twitter changed its API...


Awesome chat, thanks for having me Shonali!

Shonali moderator

@SceneStealrEric I bet you just knew that calculator was going to get a ton of attention. Nice work!

And I think you're right - the discussion/controversy around influence isn't going away any time soon. The question is, are we going to approach it as a one-size-fits-all, or are we actually going to do some legwork for our causes/campaigns? Right? Thanks for participating and stopping by, Eric!

Shonali moderator

@kiki You're so welcome! I've started using RowFeeder to track the hashtag and then I convert the transcript once I isolate the tweets that were generated during the chat. Love it, and it's really easy. I do have a paid subscription, but it's not too much and I'm tracking a few different hashtags, etc., via RF.

Shonali moderator

@jenzings I figured it was time to give you a break and answer the questions for a change, instead of asking them. Thanks so much for a great chat, Jen!


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