Social media stories

In my blog “5 ways to get more followers … or not” a few weeks back I explored the concept of follower numbers not being an all-powerful social media measure, this week I want to explore a little about what are important measure in social media.

ruler1Social media is rather like nursing in that it is all about people – so how do we know when nursing if effective? How do we measure nursing? Well we take a wide range of measures from data to feedback from patients and we look at it on a large scale … however sometimes we look at it on a small scale, we look at the individual patient’s stories and how we have or have not made a difference.  I really like Patient Opinion, for those of you who have not come across it (where have you been!) it is a fab resource that allows patients to post stories about the care they have received – good and bad.  It’s a really fabulous way of measuring nursing as it allows us to concentrate on people and the things that matter to them…. Well worth a look, a read and a follow on Twitter.

Soft_rulerBut back to Social Media measurement – someone very close to me (and very clever with data) often says “You get the behaviour you measure” and he is very right! If we measure followers we will be focussed on followers so that is what we will get, if we measure Twitter RTs we will be focussed on that so we will see an increase in RTs and so on. So yes we do need to look at data, we need to look at followers, likes, mentions, shares, reach, sentiment and compare that with data of our peers and counterparts but as with nursing we must never lose sight of what is important – PEOPLE. Listening to peoples stories, to their tweets, to their updates and blogs about why they find what you are doing and how you are engaging useful.  Listening and responding to feedback is a vital part of becoming a valuable social media resource. As with Patient Opinion stories are a great way to do this and we have collected some really great stories via blogs about the #NurseCommunity and some great micro stories via tweets via @WeNurses. I will most definitely continue to measure via stories the impact that social media is having on people. If we want an engaged communities in health via social media then we need to start to measure the things that matter because as my wise friend says “you get the behaviour you measure”

2 thoughts on “Social media stories

  1. To expand, with some authority, some readers might not get the complexity in your comment “If we measure followers we will be focussed on followers so that is what we will get” as surely this is what most people are after is a larger following, but there is a difference between getting followers and being followed. For example on a new twitter account we might follow lots of people to make them aware that “we are here”, we might re-tweet tweets again so tweeters know “we are here”. This is what I would call getting followers as thye are likely to follow back, however are they interested in what you are saying, doing or offering or are they only interested in you because you interacted with them, you may note I didn’t say engaged with them.

    This practice and other similar ones will show a rise in following but it is not sustainable and it is not a measure that you are offering or delivering a value to your followers who will not only follow you on twitter but also visit your website,share your content, call you or even come and see you, whatever you are. It’s likely therefore that you will be sat in a meeting room proud that your follower activity is going up but you may have to be prepared to answer “why is there not a related increase in interaction with our organisation” and you may have to come to terms with the fact that you have the wrong followers.

    As Teresa knowledgeably and wisely points our you need to look beyond social media metrics when looking at this channel as either appropriate or impactful measures as you could spend a lot of time counting numbers that don’t add up!

  2. Good blog Theresa and important to consider/understand the issue – I also agree with Nick that having followers and being followed isn’t the same thing. However the cumulative effect of ‘being followed’ has a relation to influence, even if it’s only at an opinion forming/informing level. It’s an area I’m interested in as you know from my previous blogs, although I didn’t focus on data for understanding the way you have. However like all good role models, your influence will extend far beyond what you can see or touch – keep up the good work and keep on blogging.

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