Digital Adventures

Kew goes to Measurement Camp by claire_w
November 18, 2009, 8:19 pm
Filed under: Engaging audiences, Making stuff happen, Networked Projects, Social Media | Tags:
Measurement Camp logo

Measurement Camp - November 09

Alongside launching Kew’s wonderful new website in October, and following a handful of social media pilots, myself and my colleagues in Kew’s Digital Media Team decided to embrace some of the new opportunities offered to us by social media.

Our reason for doing this was not to be young, cool and funky (I promise). Nor was it to follow the latest trend or ‘be seen’ to be innovative. We decided to embrace social media because of benefits that ‘doing stuff in this space’ can bring. We wanted to:

  • improve access to Kew’s activities, knowledge and expertise in different spaces across the internet
  • take Kew to new audiences rather than wait for them to ‘find us’
  • make the most of the web by connecting up with others and inviting online audiences to participate with Kew’s work in different ways, and add value
  • encourage audiences to build stronger and lasting relationships with Kew and ‘get involved,’ in different ways

Now this all sounds great – and we’re really enjoying trying things out in social spaces online to help make Kew more visible across the web. We’re also really enjoying interacting with ‘real people’ and learning along the way…

Measuring social media

Following a handful of successful pilots, we’re now moving into the realm of more official channels for Kew content online. And as a result, some of the 50 million dollar questions have started to raise their head.

How can we measure and make sense of Kew’s impact in social spaces online? How can we identify our successes and build on them in the future? How can we learn from things we do and report this stuff to our colleagues internally?

In other words…what are Kew’s Social Media KPI’s and how can we report our progress?

On the road to enlightenment

As many of you who work in this area know – measuring social media is not easy or straightforward.   Tracking awareness raising activity, extending audience reach and increasing participation are complex activities that are just not that easily measured right now.

September 09 Measurement Camp - by unlovablesteve on flickr

Photo from September 09 Measurement Camp by unlovablesteve on flickr

So, on our first step on the road to enlightenment, my colleague Damian (@mrfly) and I (@claire_w), decided to join in the Measurement Camp meet up in November. Set up and run by the lovely Will Mcinnes, the purpose of Measurement Camp is to bring people facing similar challenges together on a monthly basis, to share knowledge and experience around social media measurement.

What I learned…

One of the most useful things that I learned ‘at camp’ is that there are many lovely people in London who are interested in, and making progress in the social media measurement space. And many of us are trying different things, on different scales, to track the impact of our efforts in social spaces online.

These are my highlights of what was shared in the November meet up:

  • set relevant benchmarks before you begin social media activity. This will help you track progress more easily and find out where your efforts are having impact
  • reporting of social media activity should include both quantitive and qualitive data
  • where possible, reports produced for organisations should speak the language of that organisation and explain impact and progress in terms used and understood – E.g. KPI’s ROI’s
  • there are few standard measures for capturing and analysing data across social networks as different platforms offer different ways for communities to interact and participate.
  • there are a few clever people developing complex tools to help measure social media impact –few of them are cheap and few are tried and tested.

What’s next for Kew?

It’s fair to say that Kew doesn’t have a BIG budget to blow on complex tools for measuring the impact of its social activity online. We’re definitely in the ‘practical approach camp’ when it comes to measuring social media.

So, these are the steps that I’m going to recommend we introduce.

Step 1

Agree a clear starting point/benchmark for Kew before doing too much more activity in social spaces online. We will do this by assessing our impact in the social platforms that we focus our efforts on, and draw a level of comparison with peer organisations, like the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum

Step 2

Agree a number of easy to measure quantitive KPIs for the different social spaces that we inhabit – and track these each month.  Some ideas we’ve had:


  • track the number of new followers we get on a monthly basis
  • track the number of replies and retweets each week
  • use topsy or twitter search to measure buzz on Twitter


  • use Facebook insights to track the number of new fans we’re getting, trends in Fan demographic and the average ‘quality of conversation’ each month
  • track the quantity of media shared each month by our fans

Media sharing (e.g. youtube and flickr)

  • capture the number of views our videos and photos are getting, the average rating they receive or the number of times people favourite our content

Step 3

Capture indicative qualitative data from the different spaces we inhabit on a monthly basis. What’s the quality of discussion like? What value did they add?

Step 4

Track referrals back to and look at broader buzz – E.g. track referals via google analytics, track mentions/results in google blog search, technorati and blogger

Step 5

When we do a specific push around a campaign or event – watch out for spikes of interest.

Thanks…and keep in touch

If you’ve managed to get this far – thank you – I hope this post has been of some interest to you.

If you have any feedback, other ideas or ‘things to think about’ in terms of social media measurement, then please do share them with us via comments below.

We’d love to keep the conversation going on this one, and in particular, keep in touch with those of you working in this space and dealing with similar challenges.


Join Kew’s network

Tools and resources

  • Trendrr – allows you to track the popularity and awareness of trends across a variety of inputs, ranging from social networks, to blog buzz and video views downloads, all in real time.
  • Google insights – compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties
  • Topsy – A search engine powered by tweets

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