Measure Engagement: Micro-Engagement with Macro-Impact

ROI of Engagement and the value of relationships is no new conversation. What is new is how we develop and maintain the relationships, especially as leaders. In developing leadership seminars for the new social paradigm, we came across the same challenge of measurement but looked at new solutions. “Quick and dirty” ROI measured from campaigns and their impact is not relevant or feasible when talking about social leadership. Unlike a short term campaign or solution it is a long term adjustment to culture and approach to communications.

 

Finding the tools that can help us measure more effectively are a start. Of course, looking at numbers of connections give us one view. Yet, they present several problems in themselves and only show us a small part of the greater picture. The greatest being that leaders are predominantly absent from these tools (Forrester Research), and resistant to entry for fear of exposure or distraction. Another being the need for measurement of network engagement that occurs outside these sites (intranets, industry specific networks, public following, etc.). Then of course there is long term and the secondary effects, the MacroImpact.

 

Klout.com does a great job aggregating the numbers of followers on Twitter, links on LinkedIn and friends on Facebook and their influence to see what kind of a role individuals play and their online influence. It may not be the MacroImpact we require to create the argument for investing in teaching social leadership, but it is a good place to start. Then we need to look at layering of other factors, after all, changing behavior and culture is no “quick and dirty” fix.

 

BUSINESS IMPACTS: To start with there are several areas from which we can measure shifts that are have MacroImpact from the Leader’s MicroEngagement (must be measured over time). Of course this assumes establishing a baseline and keeping in mind other externalities that can cause spikes:

 

* INCREASE/DECREASE in new applications for jobs under leader’s management or control
* ATTRITION of existing employees desire to stay/leave working with the leader
* TEAM COHESION project completions advance of schedule, faster to market cycles
* INNOVATION cycles decrease with open acceptance of new ideas within clear parameters
* IMPROVED HEALTH decreased stress from greater job satisfaction, less sick days
* PARTNER/CLIENT LOYALTY return clients and partners desire to continue relationship
* COLLABORATION new opportunities in-industry based on respect for knowledge and trust
* LEARNING community shortens time to response from internal subject matter experts,
saves need hire external consultants when knowledge available internally
* MEETING lengths and volume decrease due to better collaboration and clarity in
communication
* AGILE RESPONSE to opportunities and threats in PR through direct engagement savings in
“Fire fighting” and valuation dips

 

This is just a first “whack” at a list as we look into measuring tools to pull together for leaders to understand their own MacroImpact and for organizations to evaluate their social leader’s performance. I would love to hear your thoughts on what other factors could be included, and what tools can be used to measure this effectively. It is not simply performance review we are considering, but rather effective engagement.

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Social Implications of Mobile Apps

Sometimes it is important to dig deeper into how things work.  As children we disassemble things or dissect them for better understanding of what we are really dealing with.  Last week I chose to immerse myself in such an experience provided by the Big Nerd Ranch’s Europe campus at Kloster Eberbach.  Okay, so the name speaks for itself, and the class was iOS programming (iPhone/iPad Apps). Having become a true adopter of both devices, my curiosity got the best of me. I re-discovered my inner geek, and renewed my respect for programming, after 15 years of strategy.


You may wonder what this has to do with social strategy.  A lot, is my answer, and here is why.  Social has to do with people, how they communicate, the tools they use, what results from their interaction, and impact from engagement. Quite rapidly the device of choice for communication is becoming the mobile handset.  Executives who were previously computer shy are now carrying around tablets and entering the world of electronic communication that way.  We teach using these devices as tools for sharing, for exploring, for deepening knowledge and for innovating.  It is important to understand what it takes to make these tools effective and how. Understanding the opportunities they present and barriers to entry from both creation and adoption of these tools is critical for strategic usage. Who are we trying to reach, how do they use the tools and what can we expect in the future are all critical questions to ask.


The capabilities of these tools are very exciting. Many things that before were challenges now are simplified and friendly to the computer lover and computer averse alike. Being a teacher at heart I must say the prospect of using devices like the iPad makes me enthusiastic for the future. I had the same feeling back in the mid-90’s when working with the Virtual High School and seeing the opportunity for global collaboration through the Internet. Yet, then we were challenged by access to computers for schools, even in developed countries.


I am very aware of barriers that this evolution creates.  Apps designed as communications whether for customer service, team building or partner engagement, the requirement for entry is access to a smart phone, in most cases.  Like early mainstream social media tools, there is a heavy balance on Apps for their own sake and some task simplifiers (electronic boarding passes, ability to customize pizza and then submit orders,…).  Strategically, buy in of App development requires ROI rationalization for reaching a portion of the audience intended. iPhone, Android or Windows7 use by audience may be sufficient, otherwise they must be prepared to provide alternatives.


Yes, smart phones are on the rise and futurists talk of $10 iPhones in 2020. But certainly there are still a large population of business professionals using Symbian (Blackberry) devices and professionals and non-professionals alike using “simple” mobiles which are limited to a numeric keyboard. Not to mention the social society issue.  Consider the vast population to whom these smart phone devices are inaccessible due to their cost.   Are we creating a wider gap of the rich get richer and poor get poorer, until they get access too?


Okay, so I will get off my “half empty” soapbox. Are Apps an important element of social strategy? My take is Absolutely when Apps fit strategically with who you are communicating with. They can simplify and add value to your interaction with stakeholders. Caution to note, make sure they are aligned with your vision. As with any social tools, they have enormous potential, and are constantly evolving. Simple, functional and fun Apps can add value when aligned well. For complex functionality, unless new media tools/App creation is your business, let others do the new iterations, license it and don’t recreate the wheel. Apps for smart phones, especially iPhones (okay so that is a personal bias) have an amazingly dynamic future that we have to look forward to. I hope they spread faster than predicted and I look forward to seeing where they go. What is your take?

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