Why bother measuring?
My last post generated a lot of interest, and a lot of agreement that some kind of measurement needs to be in play when talking about the less quantifiable fields of social media and public relations. Nick Brown from InsuranceHQ made a great point noting that,
ROI will always be relevant as long as the social media/PR practitioners are NOT the bosses.
Yup. ROI to justify our very existence. It’s a cold, hard fact, but it is up to the PR and social media professionals to translate their value to management. A practitioner’s intuitive “sixth sense” is not enough.
It provides justification for the very existence of such a department. Communication is often the first area to get cut from the budget, simply because there are no immediately observable effects on sales or profit.
One noted communication scholar, Dr. Geduldig, paints the picture,
A hard-nosed manager would have a tough job evaluating a function that cannot be defined and can do well when it does nothing … Don’t expect others to buy public relations on faith. If public relations doesn’t set standards of measurement that are both objective and meaningful, management will apply its own, and the value of public relations will ultimately be measured against the bottom line.
Proving your worth is no longer as simple as showing evidence of volume or claiming public relations, social media and reputation evaluation to be intangible and not subject to measure—managers are demanding quantifiable results of practitioners
Ah, but measurement does actually have a greater, nobler purpose than securing our paychecks (though that in itself isn’t too bad). It helps determine whether or not we are meeting the objectives we’ve set for our communicative efforts. Is social media helping our agency? Is our public relations campaign effective? How can we do better? You can’t attack these questions without having some sort of measurement and evaluation program in place.
So what do you think—why should we be measuring our public relations and social media efforts?
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