Communication and engagement metrics continue to fascinate me. Our profession continues to debate everything from their legitimacy ("You can't measure what we do.") to their application (likes are the new ad dollar equivalencies, to those of us who grew up in media relations).
To me, it's always been pretty simple. We need diagnostics to know if what we're doing is working or not, so that we can know whether to do more or less of it. And, given all of the pressures on organizations to find efficiencies, if we don't come up with those diagnostic tools, someone else will. And that person probably won't be a communications, marketing, alumni or advancement professional.
Yes, you've heard me sing this song before but I've added a new verse. This one is all about making sure what you're measuring matters, and there's an easy way to figure it out. Does anyone aside from you or your team care? When you talk about your metrics, do you have to make a case for why they matter or is it obvious?
No matter what discipline you focus on, there are metrics that can be applied at the micro level - media placements, Facebook post likes, retweets, alumni event attendees, donor renewals, etc. - but how do each of those matter to the macro goals for your institution? I'd argue that each of them does, but depending on today's macro goals and pressures, not in equal proportion.
Knowing what your big picture divisional and institutional goals are and aligning resources in support of those goals allows you to align your effort and energy with those goals, and use your micro metrics to ensure each effort is on point. It's just a variation of what you're probably already doing. All it takes is some good, direct conversation about institutional direction - and what matters most to your leaders. Being proactive about your metrics will be appreciated.photo credit: Marco Bellucci via photopin cc