Gamifying the gamification industry

This is a guest post by two of the Gamification Gurus, Pete Jenkins and Vasilis Gkogkidis, describing how Rise is being used to motivate gamification professionals to be more active on social media.

Introduction

Recently the Success Tracking University was launched by Toby Beresford (https://successtracking.teachable.com/blog/962609/launching).

When we read about it we immediately wanted to help spread the word by sharing some of our experiences with numerical feedback and how it can change behaviour. We have used numerical feedback as a tool to motivate users in a lot of projects we have designed or part of as it can be a quite powerful tool if used right.

In this blog post, we will talk about how Rise, a company that Toby Beresford founded, engages and motivates gamification professionals to be more active on social media. The aim of this case study is to have a look at how numerical feedback made us feel as users and changed our behaviour.

One way to use Rise is as a tool to make a leader board and keep track of how well players are doing on their social media and online presence.

The leader board we participate in is called Gamification Gurus Power 100 (https://www.rise.global/gurus) and monitors how well participants are doing on their social media. The metrics include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn interaction with the audience as well how many blog posts you uploaded for the month.

We will start by explaining how leader boards work as a game mechanic and what effect they have on the players and on audiences watching the players. Then we will list the goals behind this leader board and how it promotes the gamification industry.

How do leader boards work

The sole purpose of leader boards is to introduce competition among the players. Let’s take a sport like Tennis as an example. Let’s have a look at the Men’s Singles leader board for 2017.

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Table 1: Source: http://www.espn.com/tennis/rankings

We need to keep in mind again that a leader board works on three levels:

  1. it helps the designer of the system to reach the goals of the project,
  2. it motivates and rewards players and;
  3. engages and informs the audience that follows the sport and the leader board.

Let’s break this leader board down and analyse it to see how it works on each of these levels. Going from left to right, the first thing we see is the rank of the players and their name. It may seem obvious but it’s important to have numbers indicating the ranking every player occupies on the leader board. Being number one is a matter of status, I want to see the number 1 next to my name if I am first on the leader board. The same goes for the audience, they want to know who is the best at their favourite sport. By giving this information first the designer of the leader board awards status to the players and informs the audience about who is the best at what they are interested in.

Next element of this leader board is a list of flags indicating where each player comes from and which country they represent. The designer here wants to remind us that Tennis is a sport that people play all over the world. It’s not a national but rather an international phenomenon and each player represents his or her country. Players feel proud to represent their country of course and audiences from these countries are proud to see their flag up there on the leader board.

Third element is the movement of players and how many places they went up or down the leader board. This element shows the progress of players in time. Maybe I was third last month but now I managed to climb to number one or two. It’s important to show how stable player’s performance is. The best players always perform well over a long period of time.

Finally, we have points! Points are rewarded to players for playing the game. The better they play, the more points they get and they perform better than their competitors. This is the element that determines the ranking in every leader board. This is the numerical feedback we have been talking about. Points can be very useful because we can quantify performances based on them. You can see how many wins each player made throughout the year and how many times he lost.

What does the Gamification Gurus Power 100 achieve?

Let’s have a look now at how numerical feedback helps the gamification industry grow by changing behaviours.

A leader board that rewards people to share good content online related to gamification works on three levels as well. First, we have the designer (Toby Beresford in our case) that wants to motivate gamification professionals to share content regularly to grow the industry and create a buzz around it and around Rise, which is his product and he wants to demonstrate its usefulness.

Then we have the players, the gamification professionals that their reward is status that helps them boost their profile in the gamification community. I also think that getting credit from your peers when you share something useful is very motivating. The same goes for some of the conversations that start online and the information you may get on a new project you didn’t know about.

We can’t forget the audience of course. People that want to know more about gamification and they can have a look at the leader board to know who to ask for some information and knowledge on gamification.

Getting numerical feedback from this leader board has really changed the way we think about our social media. We all know that it’s very good to promote good content on social media and have active profiles that help you promote your work.

Participating in the Gamification Gurus leader board though, has really changed the way we use social media. We now feel that we get something extra for being active and for creating engaging content.

As we mentioned earlier, points can really help you analyse a performance and see what you need to improve and of course how well other people are doing on the same thing. Curiosity is in all of us and can motivate us to participate in something to see how good we are compared to other people.

We hope you enjoyed our small case study, if you want to know more about us please have a look at https://gamificationplus.uk/ and find us on Twitter: @petejenkins and @v_gkogkidis

PS. Editor’s note: you might be interested to see that Pete has increased his score from 24 this time last year to 73 (out of 100) on the Gamification Gurus, and Vasilis has increased his from 31 to 65:

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Pete Jenkins Gamification Gurus Score. Source: https://www.rise.global/gurus/p/2249879
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Vasilis Gkogkidis Gamification Guru Score. Source: https://www.rise.global/gurus/p/5916048/r/2526853

Social Permanence Matrix

editability matrix

My Social Permanence Matrix is one way to model the different rules each social network applies to editing and deleting posts.

Lawyers have identified the edit button (and by extension the delete button) as being legally important – the edit button: can the past be erased.

The four quadrants are:

  • Editable and Delible – Facebook posts and comments. They can be removed from the record, permanently
  • Indelible yet editable – Hipchat messages you can use the substitution command to make quick edits to your last message while Quora answers are editable but all revisions are kept making your original answer indelible.
  • Ineditable and Delible – Tweets can be deleted once sent but you can’t edit them. This also applies to a certain extent to Snapchat messages that you know will be deleted once received by the recipient.
  • Ineditable and Indelible – chat messages cannot be changed once sent, nor can Trip Advisor reviews. Rise releases are stored in perpetuity too.

As can be seen from this simple matrix, there are already several different ways to handle the permanence of social content.

And now, with GDPR looming (May 2018) for most networks, social permanence presents new issues.

At stake are competing priorities such as:

  • revisionism – the ability to “change history”
  • right to be forgotten – the ability to be erased from history on request
  • data integrity – the need to maintain a dataset in its original form – for example for audit purposes

Many social networks maintain multiple digital objects, each potentially requiring slightly different  editability rules  – whether that be a photo, a post, a comment, a like, a snap, a check in, a release,  or even a view.

Right now, individual users tend to have primacy in terms of features available. For example:

  • I can clear my search history
  • I can edit Facebook posts to present an entirely different point of view to the one I originally thought
  • Politicians can delete tweets of views they no longer hold, or where they were wrong

However, as the shared, multi-stakeholder requirements around media increase in importance then the user must release power to others. I think the latest legal challenge in the USA over whether the president has the right, under the constitution, to filter out the tweets of certain citizens on a public network like Twitter, is very interesting indeed! (Trump tramples US Constitution by blocking Twitter critics – lawsuit)

I think the social networks will need to store not just the post but the revisions (and make them available) – in the way that Quora will store revisions of any answers I put on its site.

For us at Rise we will be adjusting our rules to so that we keep a copy of original releases (and allow users to find them if needed) but if you re-release that will be the one everyone sees by default, they’ll have to drill down to find the original release.

This seems like best practice of course but then as you quash one issue another emerges… does this comply with GDPR and the right to be forgotten?

Whatever the reality, there are going to be lots more jobs for digital lawyers in the future!

 

 

Use Success Tracking to encourage sales team micro-behaviours

As a sales manager you have a pretty good idea of the tools and techniques it takes to be a successful seller.

Often you can see the behaviours that your top sellers are doing, mostly out of habit, that you’d love to see in your mid and lower range sellers.

These behaviours could be the big obvious macro-behaviours – like getting out of the office, picking up the phone and making calls, but they might also be micro-behaviours, those smaller tips and tweaks that over 100 calls would make an incremental difference.

Examples of micro-behaviours might be:

  • tweeting on social media once a day,
  • keeping track of customer birthdays,
  • checking the industry movers and shakers news,
  • exchanging news with a colleague or
  • doing extra call preparation.

The micro-behaviours might only result in small improvements for each individual– an extra sale here or there – but as a sales manager, you know that if everyone on the team did them, that would all add up to a sizeable difference.

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But, if micro-behaviours are worth considering you still have the problem of how to incentivise them!

After all, most of your sales staff only get out of bed when there’s money to be earned, it’s the nature of the sales function and decades of conditioning from sales motivation programs based on financial rewards.

What you’ll find is that the big behaviours are already heavily incentivised: finding opportunities, making calls and closing deals are all covered within your formal  sales incentive scheme. It’s formal because this scheme is compulsory – every seller is measured by it and the commissions they earn are the key reason they come to work.

You may have other mandatory sales motivation programs on top of the commission structure too – for example, I’ve seen many managers circulate a sales leaderboard to encourage competition between sellers and win an additional, local, prize.

But micro-behaviours aren’t valuable enough in themselves to be worth incentivising with cash. So how do you do it and sustainably?

sales micro and macro behaviours

One approach is to run a success tracking program.

In a success tracking program, you help a seller improve professionally by giving good, digital feedback.

To do so, you track, for each seller, the micro-behaviours that you’ve seen work – for example, if you’ve seen digital selling on Twitter make a difference then you can offer to count for each seller how many tweets they did each day.

You can save them the trouble of tracking and reporting the number of tweets themselves.

The exact micro-behaviours you identify will be according to your context and business. Your job as a sales manager is to identify them, make a list and then encourage the rest of the team to apply them.

Don’t forget, you need to offer your team your success tracking service on an optional basis. Don’t position the program as yet another sales incentive scheme or management and monitoring scheme, instead position it as a self-help tool for them to help them get better at selling. By getting better at the micro-behaviours of selling they can be sure that this will improve their results on the macro-behaviours where they are formally rewarded.

instead position it as a self-help tool for them to help them get better at selling.

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Another way to look at this is, to think about “lead” and “lag” indicators.

Typically sales remuneration is focused on “lag” indicators – opportunities closed for example. These indicators track how you sellers did in the past but they are difficult for sellers to improve themselves – they can’t magic up sales opportunities to close.

Lead indicators are the KPIs that track behaviours that lead to successful sales (and closed opportunities) – filling the top of your sales pipeline with prospects for example. That’s a surefire way (if not the only way) to increase the number of closed deals that come out the other end.

A good success tracking program focuses on the lead indicators that bring success.

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So, how do you go about designing your success tracking program?

You can test success tracking very easily today.  These are the steps:

  1. Decide what do you want to track = what metrics matter? How do you weight them or assign points? You might want to ask your team.
  2. Who do you want to track? Are you tracking teams or individuals?
  3. How will you collect the data? Can you automate data collection or will some steps need manual intervention?
  4. How will you distribute the score to opted-in sellers?
  5. How will you track your own success in running the program? Has it contributed to a positive change in behaviour among your sellers?

I recommend heading over to Success Tracking University where I present a couple of courses you can take to learn more about Success Tracking.

 

 

Understanding social media formatting

As users of social media we have an intuitive understanding of the different formats – Instagram is for  photos, Medium is for articles, Twitter is for quick thoughts and so on. However, as producers we need to develop a more articulate language to describe the difference between each media channel.

For example, both Instagram and Facebook are led by photo sharing – yet Instagram’s strong filter feature leads to a post being “one great shot” while Facebook’s tagged albums lead to a series of shots.

That would mean that a fashion shoot on Instagram might be summed up with one great photo while on Facebook you’d see 30 or so photos in an album.

This kind of problem plays havoc with any social media producer trying to maintain multiple channels for different audiences: even similar content types (images) on similar style networks (FB & Instagram) need different formatting.

I’m a user of Buffer, a social media management app that makes formatting content for multiple channels easier, by letting you create a post and then choose the channels you want it posted on.

Screenshot 2016-04-19 12.25.13

However, even with simple posts pushing on two channels is hard.

For me, with my business hat on, that means Twitter and LinkedIn. Twitter limits you to 140 characters and if you want to add a photo with your post, you get even fewer. LinkedIn offers more space and the photo is essential if you want your post to be picked up by a few of your contacts.

So simultaneous, automated reformatting is hard to get right, tweaks per channel are inevitable.

The real question is why do we try?

Firstly it’s quicker than the alternative of carefully crafting a post for each channel. If our audience is basically the same people on each channel then having the same content is a necessary time saver.

Secondly we subconsciously believe, wrongly, that the social media channels don’t add anything to our content.

It’s this second belief, I’d like to really challenge today.

“the medium is the message” – Marshall Mcluhan

Marshall Mcluhan said that the “medium is the message”. By which he meant that medium and message are intertwined, the medium you use to convey the message matters. A  letter written in rose petals on your bed conveys a very different image to one spoken by a disembodied voice over a tannoy loudspeaker.

Social media channels grow big and sustainable because they are different from their competitors. Instagram is different from Facebook. Pinterest is different from both. When Facebook bought Instagram there was no merger – they maintained and continue to maintain both networks despite their on-the-surface similarity (sharing photos with friends).

As producers, bloggers, vloggers, publishers, content marketers, app makers, the lesson is that we must respect the idiosyncrasies of each platform and understand reformatting as an important step in any content we create.

For example, on Rise, each board can be released as an article (blog post) and as a twitter show (series of tweets). The core content (changes in ranks and scores) may be the same but the Rise engine reformats it to take advantage of the particular medium. In the screenshots below, you can see the UN Social 500 as both a blog post and a stream of tweets. It is the same underlying content, but the formatting is noticeably different.

As bloggers we need to rethink how we use other channels such as Twitter. Simply tweeting a link to a blog post doesn’t do the post justice. We need to look at the core message itself and ask – how would we say this on Twitter?

 

The human algorithm – an interview with IBM’s Marie Wallace

 

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Towards the end of last year, I met up with employee advocacy and human network analysis guru Marie Wallace at IBM to discuss driving engagement and business results using scores.

 

mariewallace

Here’s what she had to say.

 

TB: Hi Marie, can you let us know a bit about your role at IBM and what you’re up to now?

MW:

I work in IBM’s Analytics Group on emerging technology. Previously I worked on the natural language processing technology which is now part of IBM Watson, our cognitive computing platform, although these days I’m all about analysis of human networks. Over the last couple of years I’ve been focused on an effort called Project Breadcrumb, which is an engagement analytics system that ingests collaboration and social data, from systems like IBM Connections, to measure employee engagement. The algorithms incorporate more than 15 years of IBM research into social networks and reputation. Our system measures engagement activity, reaction, eminence, and network to provide IBM Connections users with detailed scores on their internal social effectiveness. Now we’re expanding our vision to create algorithms that go beyond simply the social network but to other systems as well.

 

TB: What is an algorithm in your context?

MW:

Our algorithms take into consideration a wide variety of interactions, that are represented in the graph as nodes, edges, and their respective properties, in order  to generate a set of scores for each individual. The algorithm represents a significant competitive advantage for us and our clients as it’s based not only on good data science but also good social science, and has been proven through a number of business value experiments to accurately characterize individual engagement. This is absolutely critical because as they say “be careful what you measure as you might just get it” and if the algorithm is measuring and rewarding the wrong behaviors than it is detrimental to your organization.

 

TB: So do your clients ask you to create the algorithms for them?

MW:

Yes! We are seeing an increasing number of internal and external clients interested in using these types of network analysis techniques to meet a number of business goals. It might be an organization looking to implement organizational change programs where they could benefit in understanding who are the influencers or information brokers across their organizations in order to leverage them to maximize outcome. Or perhaps knowledge redistribution is a key objective where experts and expertise distribution, such as social sharing behaviors, are critical.

 

One question I always ask clients before they create any metric is to think very clearly about the outcome they are trying to steer. If you measure people to become more engaged then they engage more. If you measure number of deals closed then they will close more deals.

 

However, you have to be careful – sometimes you can optimise for the individual and not for the organisation.  Taking our personal social dashboard as an example; if you just chose to measure and reward individual “activity” then you’d generate a company of spammers, whereas if you include “reaction” and “eminence” then you drive more thoughtful sharing; which is critical to redistribution of knowledge throughout a company.

 

A great algorithm will in fact take “gaming of the system” into account and still ensure the right business outcome.

 

TB: So can an algorithm change behaviour?

MW: Absolutely, with social science we know that whatever culture you want in your organisation then the measurement and reward system you put in place can help drive that. By making this analysis available to every individual in the company, and simplifying the presentation so that everyone can understand what is driving the scores, much the same as you guys at Rise are doing, then we can use the scores from an algorithm to drive and reward the desired behaviour.

 

TB: So what advice do you have for business leaders wanting to create their own algorithms to drive behaviour?

MW:

Well firstly I would encourage you to bring all stakeholders, analyzers and analyzees, into a room to agree first what outcomes you want and then decide what the metrics should be. You are likely going to be constrained by the data you can get hold of, so secondly I would recommend that you start to identify the data you have or that you could start to collect; it’s always amazing to me how much data companies either have, but are not using for analysis, or that they could have but aren’t collecting. And finally consider potential privacy and security concerns early into the project and ensure that these are taken into account.

 

TB: Yes, we’ve also seen that the best scoring programs are those where the players have a real voice in how the algorithm creates the score.

MW: Yes, it’s really important that the analyzees – employees in our case – are part of the discussion and that they are comfortable and happy with the analysis being undertaken, and the privacy controls. Finally it’s important not to go too fast; getting the algorithm right and ensuring employees are happy with it, is more important than making it available for use by other parts of the business. For example HR usage in performance reviews. This will come over time, but we must walk before we run and bring all stakeholders with us on the journey.

 

TB: Great insights, thanks Marie. Do you have any other materials you’d like to share for people setting out on their own people analytics journey?

MW:

I’ve got heaps more content on this subject on my own blog and for those wanting to deep dive then there’s our Engagement Analytics team at IBM.

 

The top 10 barriers to social media tracking success.

In this post I outline the ten barriers that stop many businesses from measuring our social media return on investment effectively. I then propose a simple four step solution.  This is a summary of a talk on how to measure social media success given at Spring Fair and at Jewellery & Watch (slides).

 

Social media is a potential bottomless time pit – we can spend countless hours tweeting, posting and snapping with no return. In an ideal world we’d know what worked and do more of that: that’s the promise of effective social media measurement and tracking.

 

Before most businesses achieve a self-tracking culture that lets them see their social media ROI there are 10 barriers they must overcome.

 

None of the barriers are insurmountable but each presents difficulties.

 

The barriers are:

 

  1. No link from digital to physical events

For many bricks and mortar businesses, the transaction is completed in the physical world – someone comes into your shop for example. In this environment it’s really hard to attribute transactions back to their digital roots on social media or elsewhere.

 

  1. Not tracking as a team

Evaluating the analytics and planning optimization strategies as a result requires the mindshare of more than one person in a team. Trying to do analytics on your own, while possible, is hard to maintain momentum. Without the key team bought in, to looking at the metrics, it’s very hard to justify the necessary iterations you will need to make.

 

  1. Trying to track success in multiple channels simultaneously

 

In my experience I’m only really able to concentrate on one metric at a time. Trying to evaluate the results from multiple channels reduces the focus you need to be successful at optimization. It’s all too easy to flick flack between channels and getting nowhere as a result.

 

  1. Trying to track metrics for multiple stages of maturity simultaneously

 

Social media channels evolve through 4 stages of maturity. It is only worth tracking the metrics of one stage at a time – the stage your channel is currently at. To do otherwise again will blur the focus of your optimization efforts. The four stages of maturity are covered in the GERM model – metrics for really busy folk. They are Getting Going, Engagement, Reliable Reach and Monetisation.

 

  1. Metric Overload

 

Most social media channels have a plethora of analytics and metrics they output for you – far too many to be useful all at once. Looking at too many metrics will dull your focus and reduce your ability to optimize effectively. Don’t forget, our objective is to know what works – by focusing on one metric at a time we know whether changes we make to our channel are effecting that metric positively or negatively.

 

  1. Being seduced by vanity metrics

 

Vanity metrics are the easy metrics that make us feel good – total followers, total fans for example. But vanity metrics don’t tell enough of the story – we have a 1000 followers but do they care about our content? There’s no point in having 100s of fans if we never post anything.

 

  1. Undisciplined analytics processes

 

Looking at the stats every few months or so doesn’t create an internal culture that can use metrics to improve your social media channel. Without a consistent analytics discipline in place (weekly metrics meeting for example) you’re unlikely to make those kaizen optimisations that are needed for real success.

 

  1. Fuzzy marketing strategy

 

If your marketing strategy lacks clarity – your audience, your message, your channels, your pipeline is fuzzy then your social media channel will be fuzzy. Metrics need specificity to be useful – what exactly are you trying to achieve with your social media channel?

 

  1. Hazy audience development plan

 

This is all too often the case, where the target audience definition is hazy and the way in which we’ll reach them is not thought out. While you don’t necessarily need to worry about this until you’re worrying about growing a reliable reach – your audience development plan needs to state how and why your audience will grow.

 

  1. Not valuing our own time

 

The number one barrier I see when trying to achieve social media success is not valuing our own time – if you don’t know how much you’ve invested, it’s hard to make a call as to whether what comes out is worth it. It may be that after all those hours creating your own media channel you’d have been better off paying to advertise on someone else’s!

 

So how do you set about overcoming these barriers in your own social media measurement efforts?

4 Step Approach

There are 4 steps, and the great news is that they are refreshingly easy to do and will actual reduce the amount of work you do today rather than increase it!

 

  1. Start with a single channel

Your metrics journey starts with just one channel – focus on getting that right first before worrying about your other channels. Metrics is a discipline. Habit forming and focus is more important than covering all the bases.

 

  1. Focus on the metrics appropriate to your channel’s stage of maturity

 

Take an honest look at your channel (or better still ask one of your audience members) and ask yourself what stage you are at – getting going, engagement, reliable reach or monetization. Then choose one metric to focus on, appropriate to that stage.

 

  1. Only analyse what you plan to optimize

 

There’s no point looking at metrics if you don’t do anything about them. There’s no point doing anything unless you look at the metrics to see if it worked. Optimisation is not about making multiple sweeping changes – one change at a time (weekly for example) is enough for you to learn what works best with your audience.

 

  1. Form a metrics tracking habit

 

Evaluate your metrics regularly and consistently as this will allow you to make the multiple small improvements which will eventually bring you social media success.

 

Am I eating my own dog food?

 

In the software industry the phrase “are you eating your own dog food?” or more positively “are you sipping your own champagne?” asks tech executives to use their own tools and prove their efficacy themselves.

 

Over the past few weeks I’ve applied this approach to my own personal twitter account @tobyberesford. I identified that the channel was stuck at the “getting going” stage – I simply wasn’t posting consistently every day.

 

To form a metrics habit I joined up with the free “Twitter Activity Club” (aka the TAC) provided by Rise.global. Each week the board emails me with my average tweets per day, and the week to week change.

 

Taking a look at my stats on the TAC I soon saw my own, rather choppy, performance. Some weeks I tweeted plenty, others not so much. I am yo-yoing up and down in terms of activity and consequently rank on the leaderboard.

 

I’m now working on some more consistent habits. I’m using Buffer to make sure I’ve scheduled at least 4 tweets going out every day. Now its up to me to make sure I stick to that discipline and once confident that I’ve achieved that I’ll move (finally) past the getting going stage and then I’ll start working on improving my audience’s level of engagement with my tweets.

 

What’s your next step in your journey?

If you’re still getting going then I recommend joining theTwitter Activity Club and taking advantage of the free weekly metrics service.

If you’re thinking about engagement then join the Twitter Engagement Club or, if you’re now working on growing your reach then join the Twitter Followers Club. Each club provides the right metric for your Twitter channel depending on its level of maturity.

 

 

 

G.E.R.M. – the right communication metrics to track with digital media

The G.E.R.M. model (Getting Going, Engagement, Reliable Reach, Monetisation) focuses your scarce resources by making you track and evaluate only the metrics relevant to your media channel’s stage of maturity right now – this forces you to only analyse what you plan to optimise.

Keeping track of metrics on your digital channels is hard, really hard. For one, there are just so many channels (web, twitter, mobile, facebook, email) and then for each there is a different set of metrics (visitors, retweets, downloads, likes and so on).

Who is to say which metrics are worth tracking and are actually important?

Today, we all default to tracking the “vanity metric” which is reach. The number of people your channel purports to reach. It’s a vanity metric because it is easy to track and makes us feel important – how many visitors, how many fans, how many followers, email subscribers… But vanity metrics say nothing about the health of our channel.

  • What’s the point of 1 million followers if you never tweet?
  • What’s the point of 10,000 fans if they never engage?
  • What’s the point of 1,000 downloads if they never buy?

That’s just it, vanity reach metrics alone are not enough to create a successful media channel (and that applies to old media just as much as new.) To be successful you need to track the other metrics that matter to you.

This is where GERM comes in.

It helps you arrange your metric tracking into four sensible buckets each applying to a different stage of your channels development.

 

This will free you up because the GERM model requires only that you look at the metric of the current stage. If you’re just getting going, you don’t need to measure whether you’re monetising. If you’re focusing on building engagement, you don’t need to worry about growing your reach.

This will give your evaluation efforts, a real focus on what matters right now for your channel.

Let’s have a look at the four stages in detail and give some examples of metrics applicable for each stage. We’ll use Twitter as our example channel here but it could be any media channel. The principles are the same.

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Getting Going

At the getting going stage, your channel is in its infancy. Right now your job is to create content consistently. Can you set a content volume target and reach it, day in day out. It’s more important that you are consistent in when you post than how much content you post. There are plenty of monthly magazines out there still going strong.

At the Getting Going stage your metrics are all about how consistent you are: how many tweets per day, blog posts per month for example.

Engagement

In engagement the question is really – are we relevant to our target audience. Every media channel needs a target audience (if you don’t have one defined, go back to the drawing board and describe it now!). Engagement is all about measuring whether the content you are producing is engaging and interesting to your target audience.

On Twitter we might count number of retweets, particularly those from people we see as our target audience. At a live event this might be number of questions, on the web it’s average dwell time.

Reliable Reach & Virality

Do you have a reliable audience that is tuning in to your media channel on a regular basis? This is all about creating a reliable reach – people who are listening to what you have to say. Virality is about ensuring that your reach is growing, ideally through word of mouth which costs you nothing.

Metrics to measure when you are focusing on your reach include bounce rate if you’re on the web, % growth in number of followers per week if you’re on Twitter.

Monetisation

Fourth and finally it’s time to think about monetisation. Are you reaping the financial rewards you want from your media channel? And in this context monetisation is any business objective you have for your media channel – it could be to view some adverts, make a donation, subscribe to a list or even visit another media channel you own.

The exact metrics you measure here will depend on your specific business needs. Most people don’t monetise directly on social media so the monetisation metric on Twitter tends to be the number of referrals it has driven to the website.

So there you have it – GERM – a nice easy to remember acronym to help guide you in building an effective media channel.

Does it work?

I’ve started using it myself and it has exposed a key weakness in my personal social media brand – particularly on Twitter – I am simply not consistent enough with my posting. Some weeks I post over 20 times, some nothing at all – clearly this isn’t a real media channel.

I’ve now started to use Buffer to pre-load and schedule tweets which has definitely helped me. Next up I’m doing strategy work to ensure that I’m tweeting about the topics that are going to be of interest to my target audience.

Does Rise have any free tools to help?

Well funnily enough there is the free Twitter Activity Club to do the tracking of tweet consistency (for those at the Getting Going stage) for you. Each week it emails with a count of tweets and average tweets per day. It then compares your work rate with the previous week to give you a measure of whether you’re getting better or worse.

I recommend you join the Twitter Activity Club Rise board with your Twitter account and email address and you’ll start seeing your weekly score come through. It’s a great way to get going and to measure what’s important first when it comes to your media channel metrics.