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How to Simplify Your Social Media Reporting…Based on Google’s Hiring Strategy?

This afternoon, I read an interview with the Senior VP of HR for Google, Laszlo Bock. His interviewer — The New York Times’s Tom Friedman — asked a very simple question: How do you write a good résumé?

His answer struck a chord:

The key is to frame your strengths as: ‘I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.’ Most people would write a résumé like this: ‘Wrote editorials for The New York Times.’ Better would be to say: ‘Had 50 op-eds published compared to average of 6 by most op-ed [writers] as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.’ Most people don’t put the right content on their résumés. – Laszlo Bock

I’m not in the process of updating a résumé, and I’m not looking to get hired by Google, but I did start thinking about how this answer applies to social measurement (apparently I have a one-track mind, thanks to Simply Measured) and the correlation is pretty useful.

The Challenge of Social Reporting

As social media marketers, we use data to inform strategy and decision-making, but also to demonstrate value. We share reports and presentations across teams to showcase our hard work and validate the investment in our programs.

But what’s the best way to do that? Social metrics, in general, are different than other marketing metrics, so the common language is missing.

As a marketer, it’s your job to create that common language and translate your data into something meaningful and comprehensible for your boss, and the rest of your team.

How to Apply Bock’s Résumé Strategy

Bock’s résumé advice can come in handy here. It’s a simple equation:

I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z

This is an incredibly easy way to take frame your weekly reporting. Take the simple example below:

I accomplished X:

In March, my company’s  Twitter handle generated 236M potential impressions.

Screenshot 2014-04-21 16.55.38

This is a clear number, but it doesn’t stand alone. It needs context. Is 236M good? I have no idea. 

Relative to Y:

This was 64M more impressions than February, and almost 100M greater than January. This is a record for our brand handle.

Now that the statistic has context, it’s framed as a success. I’ve taken the first step to that common language, but still need context. Why did it happen?

By Doing Z:

In March, I Tweeted 1,362 times, which is 200 more Tweets than I’ve sent during any other month.

Screenshot 2014-04-21 16.53.15

Now I have the full context. I understand what happened, why it mattered, and how I did it. 

Three sentences, and I’ve painted a clear picture. While this is a basic example, the framework can extend to any reporting process…Once again, Google is impacting the way I do things on a daily basis.

What are some ways you make reporting easier? How do you frame your thinking when highlighting key wins and losses for the week, month, or quarter? Let us know in the comments.

Kevin Shively

I lead marketing for Simply Measured. Recovering journalist. My team is embarrassed of my hilarious jokes. Firm believer that the best marketers are the best storytellers and the best storytellers use the best data.

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