How to do the monitoring of your community and measure the impact of your work?
What is your relationship with monitoring and evaluation? Hate? Maybe it is not that we hate them, but maybe the problem is that we simply do not know where to start. Even though I'm pretty sure about something: whether you have already realize it or not, we all are experts in our online communities and in evaluating our efforts to inform them and involve them in our campaigns. And it is true, as I am sure every day you learn something -no matter how small- about the behavior of your community, right? And you surely do know what were the most important or publications or successful actions last week.
I want to start preparing the field, so you get a sense of what GvEx is cooking! So just briefly, here are some tips to start with monitoring and evaluation to help you strengthen your communication efforts.
What is monitoring?
Have you ever thought about what's going around in the digital environment?
Monitoring can be used to:
- know what is said about the topic you work on
- know what is said about your work
- know what your target audience says /what matters to them
- identify evidence of the impact of your efforts
You can start by making a list of topics that you should be always aware about, blogs to subscribe, list of people you should follow on social networks. Some tools that can help you in this process are: Twitter lists , Google alerts , search Twitter , subscriptions to blogs with Feedly  or IFTTT recipes .
The evaluation not only consists in saving piles of numbers. First, think or remember what is the main goal of your campaign, do you want to grow your community, do you want a specific audience to have more resources to understand about a topic. What is it about? Now identify which clues can you find that will reflect the impact of your work? …and maybe you won’t find them within your channels. Did you wrote a serie of blogs for a website that was closer to your main audience? Ask them to share the results on those blogs! At the same time it may also be useful to document other basic numbers, but first think of the clues.
An example: if you want more people to know your campaign, then focus on having more likes on your page, and it would also be very interesting to identify which contents have more retweets or shares, because those are the ones who are helping you to reach and get exposure in more profiles of your followers and potential followers. Are you introducing a “complicated” issue to a new audience? How about taking a look at how many people have hidden your publications in Facebook and in which topics?
We know that sometimes this is what we dedicate less time to. Why do it now? Because solving these questions will make your job less painful and you will start learning more from your experience.
Create a spreadsheet document or a board in your workspace where you go writing down month after month or whenever you find something important, make a note of that moment! Evaluation is your ally to improve your plan of action and your daily communication efforts and to avoid you from making the same mistakes, but new ones 😉
Photo: Bill Sodeman – CC