February Luncheon Recap: Social Media Listening

As communications specialists today, we work in an "interesting online world," crafting messages to be shared in 140-character tweets and gifs. Adam Durfee, director of Y Digital, spoke to members of UVPRSA at the February luncheon and provided advice to measure the success of our social media efforts.

Behavior change: the only metric that matters

 When it comes to social media, measurement is key to proving that your efforts are making a difference for your organization. We often look at impressions, likes, comments and shares. However, Durfee pointed out that views and likes aren't everything. "What drives difference is behavior change," Durfee said.

Our messages should have a call-to-action that benefits our organization's objectives. Often, these objectives strive to prompt a change in our key publics. These changes could include buying a product, coming to an event, or taking a pledge. As we engage in social media listening, we should look for changes in behavior by our publics.

 Adam Durfee presents in the Y Digital Lab at BYU

Dumb Ways to Die vs. British Heart Foundation

To illustrate the above principle, Durfee showed two different examples of campaign videos.

Dumb Ways to Die” is a video that was created by the Melbourne Australian Metro as a part of a campaign to decrease the number of people who were killed by public transportation vehicles every year. Around the time of the campaign, the video received over 150 million views and studies showed that three out of four people knew about the video in the area. They created an app to go along with it and even had “pledge buttons” that people could push near train stations to pledge that they would try and be safe near public transportation. 

On the other hand, the British Heart Foundation put out a video with Vinnie Jones showing how to do “hands-only CPR.” The video was meant to teach people in a creative way how to save a life with CPR. This video got less than half the amount of likes as “Dumb Ways to Die” and did not have an app or pledge buttons.

Which one was more successful? The answer may surprise you.

After the “Dumb Ways to Die” campaign, there was a 14 percent increase in people killed by trains.

In just one month, 15 people reported having saved lives with CPR because they had seen The British Heart Foundation’s video.

Engagement is important, but behavior changes are more effective.


Making a lasting impact

Social media listening can be a great way to connect with your audience and listen to what they have to say. This way you can track behavior changes and what content is making the most impact.

Durfee suggested using social listening platforms such as Crimson Hexagon and Buzzsumo. If budgets get in the way of you being able to get one of these for your company, manual research to see what is popular on Google is another great way to listen to your audience. Are there blog posts, reviews, or news articles about you or similar companies? What are they saying?

Motivating people to change their behaviors is a daunting task, but it’s not impossible. Maybe you are already doing it, you just didn’t know it. Next time you go to count likes on your Instagram posts, think again. Have the behaviors of your audience changed at all over time?

About Adam Durfee

Durfee is a graduate of the BYU PR program and is a lover of sports and finance. Shortly after graduation, he began working with a digital marketing agency startup where he quickly found a passion for social media. He helped grow the company from three guys sitting at a table to a company with over two million dollars in annual revenues. He recently took a position at BYU as head of the new Y Digital Agency, where he works with Communications students to give them real-world experience in their areas of emphasis.


About the Y Digital Agency

Y Digital is a student-run digital marketing agency that Durfee oversees. They work with a range of clients. Each semester, twenty-eight students are chosen for this limited-enrollment class. Y Digital strives to provide an effective learning environment to enable students to produce high-quality work and results. Y Digital is a full-service agency that works on full communication research, production, promotion, outreach and measurement.

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