Digital PR, jono, Marketing Thoughts

The normal person’s guide to creating an awesome social media measurement tool

When I worked at Cake I was part of a team of very bright energetic people working on developing Flightdeck, their proprietary social media monitoring tool. So when I felt a new and different tool was needed for my current agency Citizen Relations, I thought, can I really do this?  Was Flightdeck a one-off moment in time, one achieved by the unique combination of luck and circumstance of having the right minds together in one place? Or could I conceive a tool that would be a game-changer for my current agency?

So after the cliche sleepless night of self-doubt, I set to work and in the process I learned a few things I think are worth sharing, if you want to create a brilliant social media measurement tool:

1) Don’t worry about what will work

Start with your dream scenario.  For me it was a tool that would take all the potential different factors for online success for a brand and combine them: to provide just four separate scores out of hundred and one overall score that even someone who has never looked at social media analytics in their life could understand.  Like the judges scores on Simply Come Dancing – a lot taken into consideration, but a very clear simple output on the surface. Worry about dreaming it up first, the “how” can come later.

2) You need imagination, not a maths degree

During the creation of the Citizen Scorecard tool, I filled out mountains of paper with scrawled formulae, but not because I’m great at maths. My claim to fame as a teenager was doing maths GCSE a year early, only to beg my mum to write a letter to get me out of the maths A-level sessions as I was struggling so much!

I knew the formulae to draw up and work out all the elements required in the tool (like brand advocacy and brand awareness scores), not because of some profound mathematical ability, but because they involved an act of creativity on uncharted territory.  My only guide was an understanding of online marketing and a determination to get to the end result required.  If my formulae and maths were wrong, I quickly found out after a period of trial and error, not because I was Rain Man.

3) Put your balls on the line

I told the agency I was inventing a social media tool that would allow our brands to see at a glance at any given moment how well they were performing online, way before I had any idea if it could be done.  I wanted a tool that would make others agency’s existing tools look old-fashioned, or at least unwieldy.  Big talk, and safe to say, that very big talk focused my attention, to avoid utter humiliation later.   I presented it to certain clients and colleagues well before it was quite ready, constantly forcing me to propel the project on faster and faster.

4) Put it in front of nervous nellies

Nervous nellies are a proprietary measurement  tool’s best friend, as it nears completion.  They are the people that will constantly say “but how can that work? What if x happens?”  Their concerns inform and perfect you work,so they are to be listened to, though not at the beginning, otherwise you will never be intrepid enough.

5) Wheel it out at every given opportunity

Don’t present it to everyone possible for salesy reasons, present it so that you can get as much feedback as fast as possible.  It took me at least five formal presentations of the tool before I truly absorbed how to explain it in a clear and concise way that might chime with brand owners.

Finally, if at any point it is just looking too difficult, then just remember, it is not about creating something revolutionary, it is more about just moving things forward (or even sideways) by just a small step or two.  It is also about having a great and multi-skilled team around you, like @MyLostRomance@uemitoezcan@joebycro @yasiralani@laylahatia, @sunday_best

If you want to know what the scorecard tool actually tells you and how it works then give me a shout.


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