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- By Michele Marques, Associate Manager - Information Design and Development (IDD)

 

 

Whether in technical communication or social media,  many people might read your message, but only a few respond.

 

Quantifying influence

Previously, I asked, "How do you measure influence?" At that time, I was starting to play with Klout. My Klout number is a measurement. And I can see it go up or down. However, I cannot fully see what's going into my Klout score, so I don't fully know what it's measuring. Even if I could see the formula, my Klout score might not be that useful - because it is one score that covers various factors.

 

In addition, the score might miss important factors. Klout can measure who is reacting to my Tweet or post by replying, mentioning, or retweeting. But Klout doesn't measure how many people following the link. Klout seems to measure how I engage people in conversation more than how I influence them.

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Have you tried Kred, another tool for measuring social influence? Or any other social influence tools. You might get different results from what you get on Klout.  I'm finding minimal value from a single number, but perhaps there are better tools.

 

How many people view your message?

Depending on the medium, you might be able to see how many people view your message.


MediumHow many people view my message
Web-based documentationJust as for any web site, there are analytics tools available that can tell you how many times a page (or topic) has been accessed within a given time period. You might be able to get more information, such as unique visits, location of visitors, search terms to find the page, and more.
Blog postsBlog sites typically offer a portion of the analytics offered by web site analytics. On my blog here, I can see how many views each post had. In the past couple of years, most of my posts had around 300 views. When I blogged more frequently, most posts had 500 - 700 views. Several of my blog posts had over 1,000 views.
TwitterYou can see how many followers you have, but most people probably didn't see any specific tweet. Tweets get lost in the stream. People only dip into Twitter periodically, or they only check their Twitter lists. And someone could be reading your message from a Twitter list without following you. You can see how many lists you're on, but that still doesn't tell you how many people are reading your tweets.
FaceBook, Google+, and other social networksSimilar to Twitter, you can see how many people signed up to receive your posts (friended you, added you to a circle, and so on). However, you only know that someone viewed the message if they responded (comment/reply, like, share).

 

How many people act on your message?

Measuring this depends on your call to action.

 

For technical documentation, you might be helping people perform a task or troubleshoot an issue. Your call to action contains steps to follow. You probably won't know if people are following your instructions. Analytics might tell you how long people remained on the page. And if you link to next steps, you might be able to tell how many people followed the link to those next steps.

 

For blog posts, Twitter, and other social media, you likely have other calls to action. If you're trying to get information from your readers, how many replies do you get? If you are directing people to linked information, use link shorteners (such as bit.ly or buff.ly).

 

Recently, I started using Buffer for tweets where I share links.  It's interesting, but sometimes a bit depressing to see which links are the most popular. Most links get no clicks. Some links get a handful of clicks. If 10% of my followers click a link, I feel that I'm sharing what interests them. However, the links that get by far the most clicks are light-hearted, such as a link to the day's Google Doodle.

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.