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Monitoring and Measuring Wildlife (Social Media)

Danielle Brigida is the Digital Marketing Manager for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Her work has garnered national attention. She will be speaking at the Advanced New Media Strategies for Federal Government in October on “Monitoring and Measuring Traffic on New Media Sites.
Danielle has been working at NWF for the past four years where she has established a niche for herself. She has helped create innovative and engaging campaigns for NWF through various social media channels. Her work focuses on community building and helping internally to mobilze staff. I asked Danielle five questions related to monitoring and measuring social media. Here is what she had to say:
1. What social media channels (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) do you use in your outreach?
NWF has had a presence on social networking sites for a few years. Danielle actively engages with followers on YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Their “Cause” on Facebook has over 1 million people in it. It has been particularly active with the recent oil spill in the Gulf. Click here to view all their social sites.
NWF does not have an official guide to addressing specific social media sites, because the overarching aspects of reaching out to people can (and should) vary. “Where we find people heading, we go to, and we use it in all different ways depending on what the goal is of the specific outreach.” In the beginning, Danielle found herself simply broadcasting information on Twitter and other sites, but over time she has come to realize that there needs to be a conversation going.
Danielle would eventually like to create a strategy mapping document for the whole agency that can be handed out to specific NWF programs that want an account on a social networking site. This document would include recommendations for the different programs. Her goal is also to have NWF employees represent themselves more so than the organization. “In terms of how people react online, we are pushing more and more to be themselves, not the organization,” she said. She added that we want the organization to “respond in ways that people know there is a person” there not a computer spewing out information. NWF has multiple accounts on various social networking sites. NWF’s outreach is “not perfect but working pretty well..because we have very specific program outreach, and having one account would be a disservice to people.”
NWF fulfills their mission through educational programs, magazines, green hour, wildlifewatch, and the Eco-School. Their use of social media has been organic. We “never sat down and said this is what we’re going to do–just said I want to do this to get online, in order to do that we have to do this.” People have to be excited about social media, otherwise it won’t be too interactive. Some employees came willingly, others not so willingly.” Now over 70 Twitter accounts can be attributed to NWF. In order to manage their presence on these social media sites, Danielle started to use Yammer.com for internal communications, to make sure that staff are understanding and learning from each other.
2. What monitoring and measuring tools (both free and fee-based) do you use to monitor activity across those social media channels?
Danielle does not use a particular service to monitor or measure activity across social media sites. She has come up with her own ways. “I look at mentions and see how things are doing in that regard,” she said. It is more engagement focus, not looking at followers unless looking at engagement. “Social media monitoring isn’t sexy, but I’ll look at analytics and can see that Facebook or Twitter is driving this much and how can we get engaged more.” She may sometimes utilize frees sites that measure retweets and mentions like Topsy, Tweetmeme and bit.ly. Danielle “pays attention to revenue reach and engagement, as long as our programs do that, we try to keep them. Reach and engagement is easy to measure with social media. Reading, digesting, and analysis is hard; if you do it right then you can allocate resources” efficiently.
3. How often do you monitor activity – hourly, daily, weekly, monthly?
Danielle monitors activity throughout the day; she reads every mention, tags blog posts, co-tweets, and thanks people for being dedicated to their cause. But how can you add up that time? “You get what you put in with social media. If you’re on every day, people will know you are on every day.” She also uses PostRank and Google Analytics to measure how people are engaging on blogs, looking at where people are sharing posts and how often.
4. How do you coalesce all of that data/info to provide a snapshot of what key stakeholders can view easily?
Danielle has found that one-on-one interaction with stakeholders works best. “It is hard to have one report that everyone would be interested in.” She wants to send updates that intrigue a lot of people but that can be hard to do. She has found success in direct emails, updating stakeholders about their specific program or information they want to know, not an overarching email to everyone. She is also trying to empower staff to do their own work on measuring.
5. If you had to sum up for colleagues successful monitoring and measuring activities, what would be your 4-5 tips?
a. Use RSS feeds
b. Don’t forget keywords: Google keywords tools because a lot of monitoring is also looking at things relevant to your cause so track key words and what people are using the most. You can also use delicious to track mentions with internal key words or what department/program/staff members are saying.
c. Read everything but don’t track everything.
d. Make time to comment on blogs you are monitoring.
e. Monitor using free tools to start is a good way to find out what you are looking for, iGoogle, NetVibes, and Google Reader.

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