Rating Social Media Prospects
November 8, 2009 2 Comments
A few weeks ago I participated in the CARA Statewide Conference. CARA is the California Advancement Researchers Association, a state chapter of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA), an “international professional association of development research and information management professionals” (from the CARA website).
Development Researchers are the hard working, inquisitive folks who toil behind-the-scenes to make successful front-line fundraisers well…successful. Simply put: development researchers gather, summarize and prepare reports with information about donors. The information they gather about a donor (who the prospect might know, their interests, the companies they’ve worked for or have invested in, what their level of giving might be) helps the fundraising effort in many ways, including rating the prospect on their wealth and likelihood to give.
This got me thinking: in a way, we’re all amateur researchers. When we read profiles, surf individual blogs or check out a Twitter feed, we’re researching. We may be looking for different information and have different motivations than the professionals, but we too look for facts, figures, insight and information about people in their social networking profiles, tweets, and blogs. We learn a lot about people we may have never met in person. A major difference between professional researchers and “the rest of us” is that we’re not looking for donations, we’re looking for relevance: is this person worth following, friending, or subscribing to?
When I evaluate a “social media prospect” (someone I don’t know who contributes online content via twitter, a blog, or other space) I use the following criteria as a guide:
- Resources: does this person have interesting and informative tweets? Does their blog provide useful information that’s relevant to what I do or something I want to learn more about?
- Networking: can this person help me to accomplish my goals, personally or professionally? And how might I be able to help them? Do they know someone I’d like to be introduced to?
- Leads and insider info: is the person really “plugged in” to the latest news and info? Will I learn about new tools and trends early on because of a connection to them?
- Quality: if tweets stray too far afield, are consistently about a topic I’m not interested in, or just plain offend, I’m unlikely to follow.
Do you have a social media prospect rating system? What are your metrics?