Last week (12 to 16 September 2016) was Social Media Week in London so I went to find out the latest trends and to get ideas.
Two of the talks I went to were about data and were, by far, my favourite sessions. They got me thinking about how we do monitoring and analytics here at the Office for National Statistics (ONS). I’ve just finished a paper about this so it’s interesting to discover the similarities and differences in approaches.
First up was a talk from Anthony Fradet, Chief Operating Officer for Linkfluence. The talk discussed the definition of social media influence. The measurement of influence is usually linked to a number: how many followers an account has, how many shares or retweets, how many engagements or mentions, or how many impressions.
It was refreshing to hear Anthony share stories about how numbers are often linked to success but are usually completely irrelevant … have you ever watched the number of likes a post gets and then used that as a measure of success?
Anthony talked about going beyond meaningless numbers and looking at social influence in context. This is where it got really interesting!
The talk discussed the difference between interest and influence. Just because you are interested in something, doesn’t make you an influencer on this topic. This means that bios or content you post on social media demonstrate your interests, not your influence.
To map influence, you need to map the audience through links. Links to and from accounts inside a relevant network creates a better measure of influence in a topic area. An example could be links on websites, through retweets or mentions on Twitter.
To finish Anthony’s talk, he made the statement that influence is not scalable. Some influencers are massively influential about one topic in a small community, others are influential in broader subject areas with a larger online audience. When reaching out to influencers, one is not more or less important than another. To engage with the right influencers for you depends on your objectives.
In summary, it’s all about context!
Building data teams
The other data talk I attended during Social Media Week was given by Hollie Lubbock, Associate User Experience Director from Code and Theory. Helpfully, Hollie has done a write up of her talk so I will skip straight to what I found most interesting. This was the concept of using varied data sources to build a data powerhouse! This is something we want to achieve at ONS.
Hollie’s talk focused on the value different backgrounds and expertise can bring to decision making. When she sets up data teams, she puts the User Experience (UX) or User Interface (UI) designers, social media people and web analytics people together so the whole user experience is thought about and has an input into the overall decisions being made. This multi skilled team has the ability to deliver the whole picture. Joining up data “touch-points” in this way adds value to teams, clients, designers and strategists that make decisions within an organisation.
I’ll finish this blog post with Hollie’s “10 commandments of data”. These have been developed from her experiences of different backgrounds often resulting in conflicting opinions.