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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Expert: Companies miss chances on Twitter

several people have asked me for an English translation of the article by Thomas Lövgren in Metro Teknik (22 April 2010) So here, it is.  I hope the translation is ok.
Many companies have no strategy when they use social media, according to advisers. A clear policy is needed to encourage businesses to make better use of employees’ social skills.  Social media is a buzzword reminiscent of blogs, micro blogs and Facebook. For many, social media is a way to talk with friends and meet people with similar interests.
This is also a the perception that many companies have. But it also means that companies are in danger of missing out on the opportunities social media can offer, “says Heidi Forbes Öste, Adviser in communication and social media.
Companies with a clear strategy would be able to channel the workers’ social skills in order to gather tips, information and establish important contacts.
Each company also has a background story, to attract people through social media, it is important that the story be communicated clearly. 
– It is important to know who they want to be, to explain their company’s identity, “says Heidi Forbes Öste.
For employees to use social media at work requires a vigorous but brief policy so that people know what they can say and not say.
– If it is ten pages long, no one reads it says Heidi Forbes Öste.
TIP!
Heidi Forbes Öste’s five tips to consider when investing in social media in your business.
1st Have a strategy that clearly communicated internally.
2nd Invest only in social media, that are value added for your business.
3rd Be consistent and relevant with information that employees use externally
4th Be patient: Building relationships takes time.
5th Social media should affect all areas of the organization to get the best returns.
6th Invest in one’s own social platform, where employees can share information and knowledge internally that is accessible to all employees where relevant.

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10 Truths about Social Strategy

1. You must cultivate an environment of trust for social tools to be effective.
2. Social requires people interacting, the tools enable the interaction.
3. People are individuals, effective social draws on their strengths and passions.
4. Social impacts every part of your business that is not automated by a machine.
5. You do not have to be a “people person” to be successful in social business.
6. Listening is more than monitoring.
7. Social tools are not just on-line, they begin with face to face interactions.
8. The extensive power of social is in engagement and resonance.
9. Communities do not get authentic commitment by force, but rather by seeing value.
10. Social strategy must be aligned with your business strategy.

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The Art of Social Optimization

Bringing all the elements of social together to consider the benefit and impact on organizations and their influence has become an increasingly important. To speak about being “a people oriented organization” social must be taken into account. My recent workshops in Egypt and Ethiopia followed by strategy sessions with a global company and executive trainings for business leaders have all had a common thread. In revising my presentation for the Ethiopia (note, 0.4% Internet penetration) to provide context, I removed the social media tools themselves(that all clients seem to want to jump ahead to). Doing this, the opportunities and the pitfalls of social became more distinct. I have returned to my “social optimization” theory that requires developing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships for growth and sustainability in a social economy. This mean you have to look at how and why you interact with your human capital first BEFORE you apply to on-line tools. It is the cultivation part that is so critical and often overlooked.

The above presentation, of course, had much discussion that lead in different paths depending on the context for the audience. The workshops in Ethiopia and Egypt were more focused on growing businesses to compete in the global marketplace, and emphasized Networking and Communications. We spent a lot of time bringing clarity to their stories and finding context for growth. The corporate and executive presentation and workshops were held in northern Europe, and had more of a business strategy and Corporate Social Responsibility emphasis. Engagement and finding ways to be more effective were the focus of conversation.

A note regarding the video, as it may not have as much context without the accompanying dialog. Aired in 2002, its re-emergence explains the power of word of mouth and sharing things in social tools beyond their original intended use. I use it often in presentations because it touches beautifully on the feeling of discovering context and connecting to something greater than ourselves by listening.

On a personal note, I have to say that I am thoroughly inspired by the people and the opportunities that working in social strategy has presented. I work with interesting and companies and executives that recognize the need to prepare their organizations for the social economy in order to sustain their company’s and their markets’ futures. I devote part of my work to creating change through knowledge sharing in the networks where I feel it will have the greatest impact. In this part,I am both supporting economic growth through women entrepreneurs, especially in developing markets, as well as teaching for the academic and non-profit arena where there social tools can have immense impact on change and the next generation. I look forward to connecting to more people that are working in this cross-over area. For me, that is social optimization, as I get to learn, to teach, to be inspired, and hopefully to inspire some along the way.

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