Community Engagement

40,000 likes is great but that’s only part of the story

On the 1st of July (2013) the Staffordshire Police Facebook page achieved a great milestone – 40,000 likes – Fantastic.

This is really good news and follows a great deal of hard work in developing the content and approach by a great team of people, but the 40,000 likes is only part of the story. Whilst content is really important, for this page real engagement is the objective.

Everyone involved in social media is trying to work out what success looks like and how do you measure it. Can you put a number on it?

The simple answer is no – you can’t put a single number on it, but why celebrate 40,000 likes?

The answer is that we all need numbers and to help quantify and justify our efforts, it’s only when you get into the details of the numbers and add qualitative context can the quantitive make sense.

Around 39 out of every 40 people who like of the page are from within Staffordshire, but 11,343 of them use ‘English (US)’ as their chosen language – so that tell us ‘over 11,000 people don’t know how to change their settings as only 226 like are located the USA.’

Even more confusing is that 45 people speak English (Pirate) – I’m not going to try to qualify that one.

Perhaps a way to judge if an organisations approach to social media is successful is to ask the organisation and it’s publics separately. If there is common ground in the responses then may be this is success?

Are Staffordshire Police happy? – Yes very much so – the 40,000 is great as a quantitate measure, but we are still working on evaluating the qualitative (which is likely to be where the true value is to be found).

Something that reinforces the need to see success from both quantitive and qualitative viewpoints could be that when we were asked to provide a brief case study about public confidence for an important document. The senior officer wanted an example from our proactive use of social media to support a live operational issue. The case study included a quote from a member of the public about her experience and feelings supported by a range of key social media statistics.

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