Let’s be honest. When brands are working with bloggers, they have to have some metrics for their campaigns. (And if they don’t, they should). The metrics might be clickthroughs, page views, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, or whatever. But ultimately, they need to be able to justify their time and money to someone.
We love our numbers and we hate them at the same time. And you probably know which numbers I’m talking about because I’ve had to share mine too.
There are the obvious numbers like how many Twitter followers we have or how many Facebook friends we have. Incidentally, it irks me that no one ever asks for numbers for a Facebook page. I promote my page. My personal Facebook page is exactly that. Personal. While it is part of my circle of influence, it’s reserved for friends. I don’t want to be judged on that.
So where were we… Twitter, Facebook. And then we might get asked for things like monthly page views or unique visitors. Sometimes, we’re asked for blog subscriber numbers. And if you’re anything like me, you sometimes feel apologetic in reporting them. Or if you’re unlike me, you might fudge those numbers (which is never a good idea, by the way).
But we are more than our numbers, and I don’t mean that in a touch-feely sort of way. There are new ways in which brands should be evaluating bloggers. Here are my recommendations.
With the addition of this app to the Android market, the number of Instagram users shot up literally overnight. Twitter and Facebook (who recently acquired Instagram) are flooded with pictures. Why should brands care? Because we tag the stores and restaurants where we are. We photograph a product we love. We capture some brilliant piece of marketing we see. It’s microblogging with pictures.
I’ve seen some people build very large, very engaged audiences just on Instagram. They may be bloggers in their own right but when they post on Instagram, they’ll get immediate feedback and engagement.
I have my own thoughts about Pinterest as a social sharing network (and they’re not all good) but for bloggers especially in the craft, food, and/or design space, it’s been a goldmine for traffic. To a Pinterest novice, it may seem like everyone is simply repinning pictures of really cool stuff. But Pinterest actually ranks more highly those photos that are pinned from the context of something like a blog post.
Users don’t just repin. They click through. They make the craft or cook the dish and then they blog about what they’ve done complete with links to the original blogs. It’s an extremely powerful tool and one that brands seems to be shying away from. Perhaps they don’t understand it well or they haven’t quite figured out the value. Trust me. It’s there.
3. Facebook Activity
It’s not about numbers alone. This newsflash came to me courtesy of my mother. She often asks me if I’ve seen her status update. Usually I haven’t unless I’ve specific gone to her profile to look. Often, if it doesn’t show up in my newsfeed or timeline, I’m not likely to see it. And typically, that is determined by Facebook by how active and interactive you are on Facebook.
For example, I can have a photo on my wall that’s over a year old. If someone is highly interactive on Facebook and happens to make a comment on the photo, I’ll start getting a slew of comments. On my old photo.
4. Facebook Friends
As I already mentioned, I’m not campaigning for friends on Facebook. I look for people I have genuinely connected with in come way. To that end, I recently decided to go through my list of 672 friends. Yes, they are actually friends. I probably wouldn’t invite them all over for dinner but I know them all in some capacity.
Many people are on Facebook. But many of those people never use Facebook. Some haven’t updated since last year. So should they even count in my numbers? Will I really have the intended reach? To that point, the same is true of Twitter followers.
I tossed in some good and some bad but really they are all examples of how a blogger isn’t the measure of all of their numbers. I like the idea of Klout. I like the idea of not just looking at numbers but looking at influence and reach. It’s a great idea, just not very well executed.
So what’s the answer?
Look at the whole picture. Look at the numbers. Look at the interactions. Look at the engagement. And think about what you’re really trying to accomplish before you assume that those top 100 mom blogs are what you need for your brand. (Not that there’s anything wrong with them either).