Traditional and Social Media – Do They Have To Be Measured Differently? [VIDEO]

Traditional and Social Media – Do They Have To Be Measured Differently? [VIDEO]

Jessica Chan
28 March 2018

Today, high-quality digital content and online engagement is essential to the development of any modern business. While the PR industry adopted social media earlier than most, how we measure our efforts to demonstrate ROI and other outcomes is still an evolving discipline.

We often think social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn need to be measured differently because they’re new and unfamiliar. However, social media can and should be measured alongside traditional media to paint a holistic picture of our audience. It also provides us with another layer of depth, measuring important details like when, where and why our audience is engaging with our brand, business or client.

Why does it concern us?

We often worry about social media measurement because it’s not something we’re very familiar with. Unlike traditional media – which has been around since the advent of public relations – social media has only been used by PR professionals for about 5 years. Also, it’s rapidly shifting structure makes it difficult to maintain a reliable measurement framework that works every time. However, measuring social media actually makes us better at our job. Not only can we substantiate PR driven results; we can implement our findings into new or existing campaigns (via print or digital) to produce greater results for our clients, increasing sales and brand awareness – often in real time.

There are some great reasons you should be measuring your PR efforts on social media:

  1. Online measurement tools quantify more than readership numbers and potential exposure

To measure traditional media, readership and engagement is generally estimated from pre-existing data. For example, the potential exposure of an advertorial is largely based on readership and circulation figures produced (often without sound data) by a news outlet. While it’s great to gauge a sense of how many people are reading your content, you’re not able to pin point who your audience is, what content they prefer to read or where to target them in order to get the best return.

Social media measurement, on the other hand, can quantify impressions, comments, reach and likes as well as media exposure much more accurately – leading to more informed insights and better results.

 2. It paints an accurate picture of your audience

Assessing social media is more than measurement and data collection; it’s about analysing data to learn more about your audience. The number of follows and likes aren’t as impressive if you can’t translate them into results – especially profits.

Demographics like age, gender and location will lay the groundwork, but knowing when your audience is active online, what content they like, if they share it or talk about it with others is much more valuable to your bottom line.

Also, access to this data means you can measure sentiment – the ratio of positive mentions to negative ones – telling you how our content, client or brand is being received online and what type of content your audience favours the most.

 3. You can join the conversation

Modern PR is a two-way conversation between an organization and its stakeholders. This means you’re an active participant in the conversation and can steer it to be in your favour. However, it also means consumers expect more from you (or your client), including timely responses to questions, concerns and reviews.

What does this mean for traditional media?

While traditional media may be difficult to measure accurately, it’s still important to quantify your PR efforts on both platforms. Your online audience is also your ‘real-life’ audience, so the data and insights you gain from social media measurement will apply to both media platforms.

At Meltwater, we’ve been really successful incorporating our social media and traditional media measurements into a single framework. For example, our daily newsletter not only highlights relevant articles, it tells us who it is that’s reading them, as well as the sentiment associated with the public’s response to those articles – who’s sharing the content or engaging in the conversation. And that’s a measure that offers real, valuable insights into your audience.

About the author:

As the Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Media Solutions at Meltwater, Mimrah Mahmood help organisations across the Asia-Pacific break down media data (social, print and other media) and make business decisions from insights; create a framework to progressively and scientifically track efforts in PR and marketing; build a road-map to improve your communication plan; and identify opportunities and threats that arise from competitors. As a leader within a multi-award winning company, Mimrah is proud to be advocating better measurement practices in PR, Brand and Strategic Communications for many of the largest MNCs in Asia-Pacific.

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