It’s true that quantifying the value of social media through meaningless metrics is a waste of time. But you still need to be able to demonstrate the value of whatever activities you undertake, whether you are trying to quantify the improvement or not.
It may not be through numbers; maybe words make more sense. Having some kind of data or quantitative numbers often helps to frame the context or imagine the scale of that impact. But most numbers don’t add to the understanding of how, as Anna says, new tools were used “to improve collaboration and knowledge sharing across lines of business and to change the way they worked.”
However, we can express the “value” in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction levels (of the public or employees) to help people understand why something ‘worked’ and therefore why we should keep doing it or adopt it as a best practice if it’s an example from another Department.
How about a story about an officer who has saved 2 hours a week now that documents are easily found in the document repository? Personal anecdotes with quotes pulled from a survey or an e-mail can round out a realistic picture that everyone can identify with. Use one stat to scale up that personal experience, for example, by multiplying the potential two hour savings by the number of potential employees using the tool. For example, if everyone saved 2 hours a day, what’s the cost savings (could assume an average salary to estimate financial figures)? Or what about the reduction in the length of time to prepare, edit and make Records of Decisions available to committee members? What impact did that have? Therein lies the crux of your story.
To measure satisfaction, check out the results from the Public Survey Employee Survey for quantitative data. Being able to say 80% (or more) employees agree your organization is a great place to work is a concise story in a one-sentence statistic. Being at the top of a list of places to work would also help support the claim that people are satisfied with the way they get to work.
My favorite measure is effectiveness though. We do our jobs for a reason – usually something to do with internal or external clients – and achieving those objectives will make for the most compelling reason to continue offering those services.
Here’s my case study for the how using social media has increased the effectiveness of how I am doing my job, Nick.