“In a communal relationship, both parties provide benefits to the other because they are concerned for the welfare of the other – even when they get nothing in return. For most public relations activities, developing communal relationships with key constituencies is much more important to achieve than would be developing exchange relationships.” J.E. Grunig and L. Hon, Guidelines for Measuring Relationships in Public Relations. Gainesville, FL: The Institute for Public Relations, 1999
Can social media be an effective way for organizations to engage with their constituencies and can this be measured? I have been reading Measure What Matters: Online Tools for Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships by Katie Delahaye Paine to find out. After reading the book, I can see the multiple metrics and analytical tools which can be used with social media but realize their shortcomings. Many metrics and analytical tools can measure the “what” and “how” people interact with your messages but they seem to be limited in explaining “why” they do so. I like this book because it is not merely an inventory of metrics and analytical tools but instead focuses on setting goals and objectives based on developing an organization’s audiences and other publics. It ultimately points out the importance of using a robust surveying process in order to ensure that you are effectively communicating key messages to your constituencies. I like the book’s focus on developing key messages because it moves the discussion beyond an organization’s focus on quantity of responses on social networks towards framing real discussions based on problems and possible solutions. The book also effectively analyzes the growing importance of blogs and the ways that they can introduce a new dynamic into public discourse and providing one alternative to traditional media. Also blogs have the ability to present facts that may have been missed or obscured in traditional media.
Measure What Matters is a good book as it presents a breadth of possible metrics and analytical tools but also demonstrates that not all activity is easily measureable.