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Not-For-Profits and Social Media, an interview with Jenni Beattie from Digital Democracy


Interviewer: Tim Martin, July 2014.  Episode #16 from the NET:101 podcast.

 

Podcast Transcript

 

TIM: Hello. With me today I have Jenni Beattie, who is a social media consultant. I’ve known Jenni for a number of years know. We’ve actually run some training sessions together in the past. More recently, Jenni has left the Cancer Council in New South Wales as the Social Media and Strategy Manager and doing her own thing again. Welcome, Jenni.

 

JENNI: Good morning, Tim, how are you going?

 

TIM: Good. So what’s it like to be working for yourself again?

 

JENNI: I really loved the work that I did at the Cancer Council in New South Wales. What drew me in was my interest in health and health information. But look, it’s great to be back doing a range of projects. It’s always really interesting to get to work on a variety of things. One of the things I’m doing at the moment is working for UTS and running their social media course in Sydney, which is fantastic.

 

TIM: Sorry, UTS is the University of Technology in Sydney, yes?

 

JENNI: Yes, that’s right. And I’m also just doing a few projects as well. I’m trying to get the balance right, which is always a challenge.

 

TIM: I know you’ve had commercial clients in the past, but for the most part, being out of the health sector, you have spent most of your social media time within the not-for-profit sector, yeah?

 

JENNI: Yeah, I have. I’ve worked for the Cancer Council. I’ve also worked for the Medical Journal of Australia. I have done some work for pharmaceuticals as well. So I’ve really covered a fairly broad range in that health space.

 

TIM: Is there fundamentally any difference between running social media for a not-for-profit, a religious or a political organization, as opposed to a commercial organization?

 

JENNI: I think there’s definitely challenges with budget, although budgets are tight in the corporate space. I think there are similarities as well. I mean, you’ve still got to prove that something’s working, so you need to be able to show what your conversion paths are.

So for a corporate, the conversion path might be selling a product or downloading a brochure for a car manufacturer. For a nonprofit, it could be around online donations, it could be around how many people have been sent to a webinar on cancer and health and things like that. So there’s similarities around the need to show that you’re actually performing , because regardless of which sector you’re in, dollars are tight and you need to be able to prove your worth in that space.

I think at the moment, it’s really challenging for nonprofits with the organic newsfeed being as low as 2%. Years ago when I entered this space in around 2007, the newsfeed in Facebook was up very, very high, and it was sitting around 12% for quite a few years. So now there is a real need for organizations to have a budget for social media for advertising, and that’s something that I think in the nonprofit space, people are only really starting to come to grips with now, and that marketing niche has really changed.

But I think in terms of both areas, there’s similarities around content production. Regardless of whether you’re a charity or whether you’re a corporate, you’ve really got to put the time and often the money aside to produce highly engaged content. You’ve still got to have a good community manager that knows how to attract, engage, and retain those community members. So I think there’s probably more similarities than differences in a sense.

 

TIM: Is it safe to say that not-for-profits may have a slight advantage over their commercial cousins in that they’ve got better stories to tell? They’ve got the ability to create content more readily that is going to engage?

 

JENNI: I think that’s a fair point, because people are very passionate about a cause, and people are passionate about their own stories. And as we know, storytelling is just so powerful in terms of getting the information across in an emotional and engaged way. So I think charities are very lucky that they can often tap into their base.

Us, we often ask them, “Can you share your story?” And people really want their stories to be shared, because they’re really passionate and they’ve got information that they think can help other people about their experience or their journey that they’ve been on. So yeah, I think nonprofits do have that advantage around that.

 

TIM: You talked about the sales funnel, so to speak. Obviously you’re not selling hand cream or bicycles or things like that, but what are you selling? Are you selling awareness of the cause? And what else, the brand behind the cause, I guess?

 

JENNI: Yeah. Like I said, there’s two elements. One is of course you want to get your brand name out there, primarily because you want to help people. You want people to know about your services. I guess I’m talking about the Cancer Council in New South Wales once again, because it’s my most recent immersion.

But you really want people to know, if you’ve got a webinar out there that is about cancer and how to get back to work and maybe some of the struggles you might find yourself in, or a webinar around finances and how to actually keep your finances going in that difficult time, you want to make sure that you’re getting it out there.

On social media, Facebook and Twitter are fantastic for that, and you can measure your social media referrals back of course through your Google Analytics to say, “Yes, we actually sent 200 people to that page, and 90% of those people registered.” So while you’re not selling a hand cream, it’s lots of conversion paths around information provision, around online donations, around things like our help line – which our telephone help lines are really, really important.

So getting that information out and then asking people “How did you find out about the service?” is really, really important. Conversion paths, within nonprofit, they’re still there. We had multiple, multiple funnels within our Google Analytics so we could track. And as I say, at the end of the day, if you’re putting time and money into these services, you want to make sure that people know about them and that they find them really valuable. Because that’s why you’re there.

 

TIM: Yeah, for sure. In terms of donations, I know there are some instances where the donation can take place on the social media platform itself, but it’s probably more common to drive them back to your website for that to take place.

 

JENNI: Yeah, that’s right. And if you look at the research internationally, you’ll find that while it could be good for the traffic, not so much conversion on the actual social media platform, it does certainly – it’s a good referrer of traffic to websites. People to date have found it more comfortable to donate within a website. I guess they feel more comfortable with that.

If you look at donations overseas, it gets interesting, I think. If you have the humanitarian causes that sort of suddenly happen in a country around perhaps a natural disaster, SMS donation is huge overseas. Red Cross and other organizations have found that really successful. And ease of use is important. People don’t want to jump through a thousand hoops when they donate. They want to get in, get out, feel good about it, and make it simple.

 

TIM: With a not-for-profit, cause-related organization, whatever that may be, probably even before digital or social came along, they had a fairly robust community around them already as to what they represented. Does that make it easier for a social media manager to migrate that community from that point over to social as opposed to building a brand new community from scratch?

 

JENNI: Yeah, I think that’s a fair point because you’ve got people on the ground, you’ve got people in the communities. That translation from offline to online is definitely easier rather than starting at ground zero like corporates do and then have to rally a cause around a product. I think that is more challenging, definitely.

 

TIM: You spent quite a bit of time in the community management space, and I guess that’s a quality problem, that you’ve got a community to be able to manage in the first place. But what are some of the ins and outs around that? Obviously it’s not just broadcasting to them; it’s more engagement, I would imagine.

 

JENNI: Yeah. I think the ideal scenario is that you’re having those one-to-one conversations with people when they hit your Facebook page or when they hit your Twitter feed or Instagram. I think one of the challenges is having enough time to be able to respond to people individually. People would respond by talking about maybe coming to an event or people would respond with a question around their health.

So I think it’s really important to try to spend some of your time having that kind of one-on-one relationship, because whether you like it or not, once you’re there and you’ve got your platforms, your channels become customer service channels. And that doesn’t matter whether you’re a nonprofit or whether you’re a corporate. You might think you’re there to broadcast information, but at the end of the day, someone will say “Something’s happening with my pone” or “Can someone give me some guidance around some health issues?”  You are there for customer service.

I think a lot of people go in there and think “Oh, this is about the marketing, it’s about the brand.” And suddenly they realize there’s this whole system for workflow that they actually need to support customer service, and I think that’s a real challenge for organizations, to make sure that everybody in the organization plays a part in social media or understand the timeliness. So if you go out to your guys to get the response, they understand this response needs to come in within a certain timeframe.

To almost have some SLAs around that kind of workflow, I think that’s really important, and I think that’s a challenge for a lot of organizations because people still think “That’s the social media department. They’ll deal with that.” Well no, this is a whole business environment, and this relates to a lot of people’s jobs. So whether you see yourself as a social media person or not, it really is important that everyone has a certain amount of understanding and training.

 

TIM: Because I hear people say that “Look, we just don’t have time to be on Twitter or Facebook and have a one-to-one interaction.” Weirdly enough, they actually do handle one-to-one interactions through the telephone or email, but it seems like they’re not prepared to do it on social.

 

JENNI: I think that’s probably changing, and I think it comes back to the objectives and the KPIs that are set for individuals as well. First of all you need to know, what are you there for? Is it customer service? Okay, what sort of objectives have we got around that? Who’s going to run it? What are their KPIs? It needs to be very transparent upfront what is going to happen, who’s going to do it, in what timeframe, and how it’s going to be measured.

None of that ambiguity should be there. But for a lot of organizations, social starts in the PR area or the Comms area and then it sort of bleeds out through the organization and ripples out. It can become stuck because there’s no planning in the workflow.

 

TIM: The manifestation of that planning and mapping out what you’re doing or not doing, that would be part of the social media policy, or is that a separate document?

 

JENNI: The social media policy is really a separate document. That’s more around the way the organization uses social. And typically there would be a couple of sections in that – so you’d have the social media policy for the average person in the organization that doesn’t touch social; what are their rights and responsibilities? Then you would have a section for people that come into contact with it, but they don’t work as a community manager. And then the third section would be very much the people that are immersed in the space.

So the policies can be quite complex. The workflow really comes in when  you’re doing a social media strategy. If you’re setting up that strategy document, you’re looking at what are the key objectives, how are we going to roll these out, what are the tactics, who’s doing it within what timeframe? So it gets quite micro. Normally there’s appendices at the back, there’s matrixes.

For example, if it was an engineering firm, it would be “Okay, who do we go to for a question around X? Okay, this person. What timeframe do they need to reply?” It’s quite micro, it’s quite boring, it’s quite administrative information, but it’s really necessary. You need to have that so when something breaks, you can turn to your matrix and you know what – you’re going to either have suggested response, which will be part of your Issues and Crisis Management Plan, and we will have set responses. I’ve worked with companies where we had 40 responses in a matrix so at any time, any frequently asked questions could be responded to in a seamless way.

But not only that, you need to know who are the contact people? If I don’t have a response, who needs to clear it? If that person’s away, who’s the person that you go to next? Because there’s no point flapping around when something’s hit your page and you want to get something out there, and you don’t know what the response should be, who to go to, or if they’re away, who do you go to next? All of that needs to be mapped out on Day 1, or close enough. Before you have a crisis, not after you have a crisis.

The more planning you do upfront, the better it’s going to be. And a lot of organizations – I really feel like that’s rare. People fall down. They don’t want to put the time into that, or culturally, they have a problem getting people onboard to see that their name’s going to be put against something. “But that’s not my role.” Well no, it actually is now. Yeah, things have changed.

 

TIM: And it doesn’t just have to be a crisis. It could be an event, there’s been an announcement or whatever, and it’s a great opportunity to be the spokesperson that gets out there first.

 

JENNI: Yeah, exactly. It’s not always negative; it’s positive. It’s customer service, it’s a range of areas. Yeah, you’re right.

 

TIM: Around community management, in some organizations probably more at the controversial end of the spectrum, does that mean more work? Because you’ve actually got to handle people that in some instances are quite antagonistic to what the cause represents?

 

JENNI: Yeah, I think that’s a good point. I think that if you’ve got a polarized cause, you’re going to be people that are going to be coming onto the page more regularly saying negative things. The upside is your community will generally self-moderate and respond to those negative comments. So as an online community manager, you’ll be often in a position where you don’t have to respond.

But I think that it’s definitely more challenging. It’s almost like they should pay community managers depending on the grief or the complexity of the client. And there’s going to be some companies – I won’t say any names, but there’s probably a handful of companies I would say that is a really hard job. And yes, you’ve got to probably have more people on that company than others.

But it’s not even about having more people; it’s about the fact that a lot of your work is about putting out fires as well, and that can be challenging. So good on the people that work in those companies. And I’ve worked on a couple of those projects myself, and it can be quite complex. Because when you’re working for a feel-good cause, you have less of that.

 

TIM: I heard a presentation from a social media manager for one of the large IFL clubs, and he said depending on what happened on the weekend, he was either looking forward to going to work on Monday morning or he had a sick feeling in his stomach if they had lost. Because if they had lost, then a lot of the fans would just come onto the Facebook page and tear shreds off the club and the players.

 

JENNI: Yeah, that’s right, and it’s such an unfortunate and unfair position that the club should be in. I think community managers definitely ride the highs and they ride the lows. And you’ve got to be pretty resilient. I think the more you can put process around what you do, that means you can ride out those lows a lot easier. It’s never personal, and you know what you have to do around them.

 

TIM: Could you talk to the idea of house rules? Articulating, for example, “If you’re on our Facebook page, this is the behavior that we believe is acceptable or unacceptable.” Is that important?

 

JENNI: Yeah. I think it’s important. Whether people read those rules – often they don’t, but it’s about as close as you can get to actually stating “if you’re racist, sexist, etc., etc., we will delete your comments.” I think it’s important for people to know that, because then if they come back, you can say “We do have the rules.”

In a perfect world we’d have people come onto our page, we’d state the rules, they’d check a box which would basically say that they agree to the rules or agree to the terms of the page. That doesn’t happen, because we don’t really want to set up too many barriers, I guess, when we’re building a community. But I think it’s important to have those rules there so people know what the rules of the game are. They’re there, and people will still flout the rules, but you can feel justified when you get rid of a comment or hide a comment or delete a comment that that is not acceptable on the page.

 

TIM: You’d have to have a fairly – I guess as a community manager, a fairly strong personality to be able to say, “Look, this is unacceptable. We’re bringing down the hammer, you’re out. And I’m sticking to my guns.”

 

JENNI: Yeah, and I think most community managers and most sites have a fairly soft touch. You don’t want to do that. Social is about having an opinion. You’ve got to make sure that obviously negative opinions still stay on your page. It’s not about that; it’s about opinions that are upsetting the community managers and that are not adding to the page.

So any negative comments, sure, you want those on your page. You’re not going to get rid of negative comments if you’re a brand. That’s kind of social media 101. But yeah, I think you need to make that assessment and that judgment call. And sometimes you might hide a comment rather than delete a comment, and that’s quite a good technique, but that person still thinks their comment’s there, but it’s not being seen by everybody. So that can be a good way to have a soft touch on the site.

 

TIM: How do you get around the 24/7 aspect of social? Obviously you can’t be sitting at the desk 24 hours a day. What happens when you go home at the end of the day?

 

JENNI: I think every organization, depending on their requirements and why they’re in the space, will service it differently. Your [inaudible 00:19:49] are going to service it around the clock more; your airlines are going to have an out-of-hours operation. And the same for mental health organizations. They understand that people will often come to the site out of 9 to 5.

So I think that if you’re in one of the areas and you know that people are going to be coming onto your site out of hours, you really have to service it. And whether that’s getting more people internally or outsourcing to an online community agency to get people to do those out-of-hours shifts, it’s really important, particularly in certain spaces, that you can service them during those times.

I think for a lot of companies, though, probably working in that 9 to 5 space and then checking periodically is okay, and making sure – just being sensible about your content production. If you’re going to automate content and you’re going to put some posts into Facebook and Twitter and automate, that you’re not going to put a controversial piece of content up on a Sunday morning if you’re not going to be on the page.

You have to think about the way that you actually put information out there and how you disseminate it and the certain times around that, because in a perfect world it’d be 7 days a week, it’d be checked ??21:10 out of hours. But there’s also the economic reality of the fact that that is just not going to happen in companies, and that they have to put on their page “This is monitored between 9 to 5. If you’ve got a problem, you need to go to X.” That is an economic reality of nonprofits, it’s an economic reality of a lot of corporates as well.

Because I think that from a community manager’s point of view as well, is it sustainable that when you get a job in social that you should be working 7 days a week? Is that a reasonable expectation that you’re going to work all through the week? I don’t think so.

 

TIM: I just thought that social media managers never slept. I thought they just were there 24 hours a day. (laughs)

 

JENNI: I think that there’s got to be better servicing, because I think there’s also a lot of burnout, too, and that’s something that’s not spoken about in the industry. There is a lot of burnout if that’s the case. And people take it on themselves to do it, and their managers may say “Don’t do it,” but you personally feel the need to do it because you are so passionate about your community that you want to answer those questions.

 

So it’s a really fine line between what’s expected, what’s given, and as I say, I think burnout is something that people don’t really talk about, but I think it’s there.

 

TIM: On the outside it seems like such a glamorous position, social media manager, and you get to play with some cool toys and platforms. But you’ve mentioned one of the points of pain there, the burnout around managing a community. What are some of the other struggles that social media managers and community managers come up against?

 

JENNI: Things are changing a little bit, but I guess it’s that buy-in once again. Years ago it was how do you actually get the senior management of the company to understand what you’re doing? I think that’s changing a little bit in the last couple of years, that senior management is starting to understand the importance of social media to the organization.

And it goes beyond that; it goes to how do you actually transform a business to not just have social media sitting in the marketing department, but how does social media or the philosophy around being social and being a social business, how to make sure that senior management are actually realizing the world’s changed, and businesses are changing and adapting and business models are shifting and industries are either popping up or dying. This is a fundamental shift. This is not a Facebook page; this is a lot bigger than that.

So if you’re interested in your bottom line, you’re shareholders, if you’re working the corporate sector, these senior managers really need to know and to be trained and to get out of the box of thinking “This is just a PR tool.” This is not a PR tool; this is a fundamental shift. So yeah, I guess that is still challenging in some areas.

 

TIM: You’re talking buy-in from all the different executives and departments across an entire organization, not just the marketing/social media folk.

 

JENNI: No, not at all. It’s got to be much more diverse, yeah, much more holistic. Having a social media working group can often be quite good. You can take different people from different departments, and they can be champions or advocates from each area of the business. That’s a really useful way, if you’re at the beginning of the journey, to start out, because you want to have that buy-in in the beginning rather than you’re setting all the policies and the strategies and then going back to engineering or back to customer service and saying, “Okay, now you have to do X.” “Oh really? How did it get to that point?”

The social media manager does not know the ins and outs of all those other departments. That’s the reality. So they really rely on the expertise of those people in the other departments, so everybody’s got something to give, and the time to give it is in the beginning, not 2 years down the track when [inaudible 00:25:09].

 

TIM: Coming back to not-for-profit, especially for example somebody like the Cancer Council, where fundraisers or special events or drives are quite important, would there be an extra concerted social media effort around an event in terms of while the event’s happening, or even the buildup to the event, that you go into overdrive?

 

JENNI: Yeah, definitely. Some of the bigger events for nonprofits – most nonprofits will probably have like three or four key events in the year, and you really need to clear all decks and be on social really intensely during that period.

Because that’s when either new people will come onto the site because they’ve heard about the event, and it’s community management 101: when someone new comes to your site, you really need to welcome them. If they’ve just joined, you want to have those conversations with them because they’ve taken the time to hear about you and to come to your platform, and you need to acknowledge that and hopefully retain them.

So definitely the big events are a really good time to attract people to the site, and also to hear about their experiences as well and find out why is it that they’re here. So yeah, those big events are a key time to make sure you’ve basically got as many people on deck, you’re out there listening. It’s really important at those events you’re out there retweeting, you’re out there creating content from those events. Those events have got great content opportunities. You might be out there shooting a Vine video, you might be doing some Instagramming onsite. It’s all really good content.

And getting people’s stories as well. You’ve got a lot of people at an event, what a great opportunity to hear from them. I was with a client last week at a conference, and it was a good opportunity to go around to the delegates and say “Why are you here? What drives you? What have you enjoyed so far? Where are you from?” and tweet out that information on Twitter. “Meet so-and-so. He’s from Adelaide Hospital. He’s an oncologist. He’s here because he’s looking at world best practice.” Getting to know our delegates is really important.

So every event, you have an opportunity for understanding who’s there, understanding their needs – because from a communication and marketing point of view, you want to reflect that back in what you do when you go back to the office. So it’s a really good listening exercise and content production exercise.

 

TIM: And I guess to some extent, acting as the conduit between the different people that are at the event, not just physically in the same place, but…

 

JENNI: Yeah, that’s right. Exactly. At these recent events, we had people from all around the world that were tuning in to the content via the hashtag and commenting. Of course, during that event we picked up quite a few extra followers on the Twitter feed because we’d registered the hashtag with Symplur, which is a health hashtag operation online where you can put in a hashtag for your conference and then you can track all your stats through it and who are the key influencers there at the conference, who were the most mentioned.

You can troll that later and go, “Okay, what are the topics that people were really interested in?” and get some really good learnings from that from a market research perspective. At the end of the day, you want to stay relevant to people that matter.

 

TIM: Yeah. You know my position on hands-on skills. Strategy obviously is pretty important, but people actually physically need to make stuff happen. I’m a big advocate of skilling yourself up around content production, manipulation, how these things work. But I also know that you’re a fan of what we call the hybrid model of the combination of hands-on skills in-house, but also outsourcing strategically. Could you talk to that?

 

JENNI: Yeah. There’s always that debate, is it better to have everything in-house, is it better to outsource your social media? Well, I think there’s no perfect solution, but I think that a hybrid solution often works well. So you’ve got some core people in your organization that have these skills that also know the people in the organization and understand intimately about the brand, the cause, the language, the tone. I think that can often only come from being within an organization. It’s very hard for an agency to come in and understand your language and your tone and your sensibility straightaway.

But I think also that agencies do have something to offer, and that is that they can offer really good design skills for content production, they can offer out-of-hours community management. If your organization can’t do that, then there’s community managers that will come in out-of-hours, or if you go away for annual leave or something like that, they can come in. So I think they can fill some really good gaps.

Also, I think with agencies, because they’re working on so many clients, they’re also seeing trends in the industry that you may not see if you’re sitting in an in-house position. So I really think there is that debate, and many years ago I used to always say “Oh, it has to be in-house. That’s the only way it has to be,” and then I swung to the other side, which is “Oh, I’m in consultancy and it should be serviced in a consultant’s kind of arena.”

But now over the last couple of years, I can see that both have their place, and it’s just working out where are the gaps? What gaps do we need to fill? Whether it’s training – it’s very hard to always have this social media manager that’s in-house training all the staff. The reality is that often they are a good person to do that, but their time has to be spent on their tools and on their platforms.

And I know that’s really challenging for social media managers, because on the one hand, they’re there, and management will say, “You’ve got the skills. You can train the whole organization.” But that means you’re taking away from your platforms for a day or for a couple of half-days, and that is really, really difficult.

So I think that having the two different areas work together is probably – I’ve been working in the industry now since 2006, so quite awhile, and as I say, my opinion’s changed over the years. I think looking at both areas and saying “What do I need from both?” If you’re in the position where you don’t need any external agency, fantastic. That is probably an ideal scenario. But I think agencies do have a lot to offer, and they are staying up-to-date on training or they’re staying up-to-date on trends and things like that, that sometimes in-house it’s hard to do that when you’re very much immersed just in your community.

 

TIM: Just in closing, if an organization, not-for-profit or otherwise, wanted to get into social – I mean, there are so many different options out there. Facebook seems to be the default starting point for a lot of organizations. But how would you recommend somebody go through the process of selecting not only the appropriate platform or platforms, but the number of platforms that they’re going to take on?

 

JENNI: If you’re going to choose your platforms, you need to look at the resources. Most people will need to spend about 20 hours a week, if they’ve got two or three platforms. Companies think, “How do I spend 20 hours a week on that?”, but you will spend at least that on the platforms because you’ve got content production, you’ve got monitoring, etc., etc. So I think you need to look at your resources.

You need to look at what the objectives are, so if you’ve got multiple objectives, then you need to look at if the Objective A is not going to work on this platform, what’s the platform where we think we’re going to get that through? So sometimes you might have to look at that aspect.

Also looking at your demographic and going “Where are they?” If it’s 14 or 15 year olds, they’re probably on Snapchat, but is that actually a viable platform for you? How can you actually use Snapchat? Or Instagram might be the most relevant platform, or it could be Pinterest, depending on your demographic.

So you have to look at resourcing, you have to look at what are your objectives, you need to look at your demographics, and then you need to look at your competitors. You need to map out and order where your competitors are and look at a gap analysis as well and say, “Okay, they’ve pretty much captured that space, but they’re not in that space, and that space is a growing space for us because of X and Y.”

So I think there’s probably multiple ways to actually choose the platforms rather than just to automatically say “I’m going to go on Facebook.” Perhaps LinkedIn’s your best bet. LinkedIn is often one that people forget about, but it’s actually a really powerful platform.

 

TIM: One before you go, because I find this quite amusing. Domino’s Pizza here in Australia is doing quite well, the [inaudible 00:34:14] going up, and there are a couple of analyst reports saying they’re doing really well on social, and they used the having a million fans as an indication of how well they were doing. But if you go onto the Domino’s Facebook page and you actually look at the level of engagement, they’ve got a [inaudible 00:34:30] of around a couple of thousand out of a million. To me, that’s a clear fail.

But it’s just sort of a sign in 2014 that people are still using those vanity metrics, the number of likes as an indication as to how well they’re doing in the space.

 

JENNI: Although I think that that’s changing. If you’re a community manager and you’re still just only using that metric, well, you’re probably quite lucky in the sense that no one’s really knows what you’re doing. But I think that is changing. People now know that they’ve got to look at the engagement metric, they’ve got to look at the conversion path, and Google Analytics is really important.

So I think while it’s definitely changed, I know back in 2007, 2008, likes were everything. And now it’s definitely around engagement, but more than that, it’s more and more pressure on conversion paths. Sometimes that is difficult because a conversion path is often not as clear. Like if it’s online donations, that’s clear; if it’s downloads of a brochure, that’s clear. There’s a lot of clear conversion paths.

As far as things that are around good will and about brand awareness and things like that are a lot harder to have from a single attribution model. So we might have a brand tracker survey saying “Have you heard about these five companies?” or “Tell us the top five organizations that you know in this space or sector.” But there’s always that challenge around attribution, and attribution can come from many sources. Maybe someone’s seen a TV ad and they saw a billboard poster, there were some tweets that happened that day as well. So I think there’s still complexity around measurement because attribution is still difficult in this space if it’s not a clear pathway.

But yeah, likes are very much still there, but they’re only one of many, many, many metrics, and probably one of the weakest ones, to be honest. And it’s really easy to go and buy likes, but if those likes have been bought, there’s no engagement. There’s no conversion path. So it’s not really providing much value.

 

TIM: No, just a distraction. Jenni, we’re going to have to leave it there. You’ve got to promise to come back, because there’s a few other things that I would’ve loved to have asked you today. Let people know where they can find you.

JENNI: Sure, it’s Jenni Beattie, and it’s Jenni with an “i” and not a “y.” I’m on LinkedIn, of course, and I’ve got details on LinkedIn. You can also find me on Twitter. It’s just @jennibeattie. They’re probably the two sites that I’m most active on. Well, Instagram, maybe not.

 

TIM: I’ve got an Instagram, but I don’t tell people to check it out for obvious reasons.

 

JENNI: So yeah, definitely LinkedIn and Twitter are always good.

 

TIM: Excellent, I’ll have those details in the show notes, obviously. Jenni, thanks so much for today, and look forward to talking to you again shortly.

 

JENNI: Fantastic. Thanks for the opportunity.

 

TIM: Okay, ciao. 

 

 

Shownotes

Jenni on LinkedIn and Twitter
Cancer Council NSW
Symplur