This is my 90 day report and my final report for my social eminence project with LinkedIn.  My personal assessment is that this was a worthwhile and highly educational project to undertake.  I came away with new learning and many important observations that provided me with deeper insights into the world of social media.  This project was first initiated by contact from LinkedIn in September 2015.  After agreeing to participate, it began on December 3, 2015 (Day 0) followed by three checkpoint reports published on January 3, 2016 (Day 30), February 3, 2016 (Day 60), and culminating in this report today, March 3, 2016 (Day 90).  I will share a few of the observations that I have come to appreciate from this project for you to consider.  But first, let’s update the metrics table to note the change of state from the three checkpoints.

From the table above, it is clear to see the changes to my LinkedIn social media profile.  There have been several signification changes the most notable being the number of followers gained over the past 90 days.  On December 3rd, I had 2,245 followers and now I have 46,201.  WOW, that is a remarkable change.

This number climbs by an average of 488 followers per day.  It is noted that the growth in followers is not linear and depending upon the posts shared and the articles offered, the follower growth varied from a low of 225 per day to a high of 1,156 per day.  Most notably, the growth dropped on weekends.  So, posting an article is best planned for Mondays and Tuesday to drive the best growth in followers.  Posting on Fridays and Saturdays drives poor follower growth.  Surprisingly, Sunday posts are not too bad, and my assumption is that I have many followers from non-christian countries who work on Sundays unlike the scenario for christian based countries.  So, to understand follower growth, it is critical to understand your audience and the cultural differences they possess.  This rule has been stated since the dawn of time in marketing, so nothing shocking here.

The LinkedIn folks tagged me as a subject matter expert in the oil and gas industry which drove a lot of traffic where this industry is important.  My largest group of followers by country for this industry outside of Canada, my home country, are from Saudi Arabia.  So, this tracks well with the topic and the Sunday traction issue.

There is a near consensus that social media marketing is valuable because it allows companies to directly engage with their customers, build brand presence, and ultimately sell more products.

But, for an individual such as myself, what is the value?  If I took the same tack as companies do, then I am directly engaging with my employer’s customers, who are also my customers, and the foundation for how I make my living, so this is important to me too.

Yes, I am building my personal social media brand and ultimately creating my eminence in social media.  I suppose this is good too since this is now the world that we live in, so it is best to engage within it, rather than stand outside and look into it.  I do not wish to complain about social media or avoid it outright as so many of my peers do.  My age places me in the baby boomer demographic category, so I suspect that I am a statistical outlier when it comes to a high level of social media engagement.  Many of my friends, do not understand it, nor wish to participate out of fear (identity thief) or ignorance (lack of knowledge and comprehension, it is too abstract for them to properly comprehend).  Well, these are my conclusions as to why they resist, it could just be the barrier to learn new things, I am not 100% sure.

Personally, I am not out to sell anyone anything.  But, at work, I would like to do business, so this point has some secondary merit too.  Albeit that I am not keen to push the business agenda too hard outside of work hours.  But these days, based upon observation in the marketing news, the press, and the outcomes from violations of the employee contract as ruled by the courts, you are an employee 24/7, so there is no escaping work.  It is my personal view that I live just one integrated life that blends family, friends, work and play, so I am okay with this idea too.

Justifying the value of social has been a conundrum for marketers over the last 10 years.  Even in the most straightforward cases of eCommerce, there’s still the attribution question.  How much do you attribute to the relationship with the brand versus the last click?

What makes measuring social ROI so difficult is not a lack of data, but identifying which pieces of data matter.

It would be helpful if LinkedIn gave the user some better tools and some better access to the analytics.  A proper HTML editor is missing here on Pulse and it can be a much better user experience without too much effort by LinkedIn to fix this issue.

LinkedIn provides user access to basic analytics, but I want more.  It would be great if I could drive the analytics myself and ask the questions that I want answers too, rather than simply observe the answers to questions that LinkedIn think are useful.  While LinkedIn has some interesting metrics for the user to see, I want much more and would love to be able to wheel the data to tell me my stories from my personal social engagement.

In summary, I am delighted by this project and enjoyed the experience and learning immensely, it has been great.  The folks at LinkedIn are stellar and have been great to work with, they have really gone above the call of duty to help me understand and learn as well as take advantage of this social media engagement.  Thank you LinkedIn and especially many thanks to Marissa Wong.  My biggest take away from this project has been my ability to apply some of the education I earned when I pursued and graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Alberta.  This education was focused on communications and digital technologies, so I view this project as a continuation of my education in this fascinating world of social media.

As I said before, I will say again, LinkedIN is wonderful.

I have 46 articles posted on LinkedIn Pulse, so click on the link below to view my page and read my articles.  Thanks for taking the time to read this post, comments and likes are always welcome and I will respond.

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References:

Wong, K., (2014). What is the value of social media engagement? Forbes. Retrieved on March 3, 2016 from, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kylewong/2014/05/13/what-is-the-value-of-social-media-engagement/#65f738a17857

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About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless and digital communications technologies. He is a Senior Executive Consultant with IBM Canada’s GTS Network Services Group. Over the past 11 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He was previously a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN:TSX). Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO:TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX:TSX.V).  He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and on the Board of Advisers of four different Colleges in Ontario as well as for 16 years on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.  He holds three Masters level degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has diplomas and certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology.

LinkedIN