Friday, May 29, 2009

Thanks to Budurl and other text shortening tools, social media outlets can provide bloggers with metrics

Mention social media to a lot of old time advertising and public relations professionals, and many will bring up the metrics issue. Many of my fellow PR "dinos" will say that social media is a great thing, but they question if their client can truly measure the impact of its message.
With a TV ad on the local 6 p.m. news, an advertising firm can tell a client an approximate number of viewers that saw their message. With an article in the Express-News, a public relations professional can look at the newspaper's daily circulation to tell a client how many people may have seen a story in the local newspaper.
Having worked with the Air Force Band of the West in 1995 until1996, I remembered one of my officers coming up with a total of over one million eye balls that saw articles or information about them. For example, we once had a photo on the front page of the San Angelo Standard-Times. featuring the band commander conducting a rehearsal. With a circulation of about 30,000 copies, my deputy commander and I determined that about 55,000 saw the picture. The thinking then was that a typical newspaper had 1.5 readers, give or take a percentage point.
So, through the years, I have often used a metric to tell a client the impact of my efforts for them. In some cases, the effort truly helped publicity and marketing efforts. For example, the front page picture of the band commander rehearsing with the San Angelo Symphony probably doubled the crowd that came to see the Independence Day concert that day.
Yet, despite the "bean counters" in my industry, there really wasn't something that specifically told a public relations professional and his customer how many people really saw that picture. The 55,000 who saw the Air Force Band of the West photo was what I would term "a very educated guess."
But things have changed for the social media arena. One of my clients, Live Oak 360, developed an application named"Budurl." This Austin tech company has created the first metric application that allows me to check how many people read my article if I use the special Budurl tag.
For example, a recent post on automated phones for the MySA web site has created a response of 62 people who saw the "" posted on Twitter and Linkedin. With about 750 people who follow me on Twitter and another 500 plus on LinkedIn, I know that there was a five-percent response among what my friend Roy Braggs, the Express-News "uberblogger" would call "my peeps."
In direct marketing circles, a five-percent response is pretty excellent, unless you're giving away free food or ice cream at a restaurant like McDonalds. Then, professionals will tell you that it should hover at 10-percent.
Today, my client has just announced its first major partnership with AMD. Andy Meadows, the chief executive officer at Live Oak said AMD's marketing team has created a customized corporate brand with Budurl. When the Austin silicon chip manufacturer puts out a news release, completes a blog, or sends a Twitter message, each one is now given a specialized "AMD" moniker for each effort.
So, if someone tells you that you can't provide metrics for social media, I would tell them to look up something like Budurl or to investigate other tools like Hootsuite. Of course, I am partial to the folks at Budurl as they named it after my 77-year-old father. My papa, who is formally known as Eugene Francis has always been called "Bud" by everyone. It's ironic in that my father is like John McCain in that he's never ever surfed the Internet. Yet, if my dad did learn to surf the Internet, he would get the metrics of products like Budurl.
(Note: LiveOak 360 is a client of mine. It's important to note that they pay me for publicizing them. However, the fact that social media now has measurement tools that are better than traditional advertising is something I felt of value to readers of my blog.)

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