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Evaluation

“A request was put through to us from the IT Security Manager: find a way of promoting good cyber security behaviours amongst 3000+ members of staff. IT Communications had never run such a campaign as they were a relatively new team and took this opportunity to learn about how to run a successful communications project. The campaign was designed around the “12 Days of Christmas” and focused on a different cyber-security behaviour or tip each day. This was run in the two weeks leading up to Christmas in 2017 and was featured on the IT Services internal website as well as on Twitter account. The design featured Christmas themed images that talked about IT security.

Following the campaign, the IT Communications team looked at the general feedback and hard numbers associated with the project. They compared traffic numbers to the IT Security webpage as well as interactions on Twitter. The team found that the website traffic skyrocketed but the Twitter response was not as high as it could have been. They recorded feedback from management meetings as well as feedback fed through a network of technology champions from across the University. The team thought about the approach they had made and documented where they felt they could have done better. They created a one-sheet infographic that documented the results of the campaign so they could present them to the IT Security Manager to prove its effectiveness while also using it as a learning tool for future projects. By evaluating the success of each campaign, the IT Communications team at Leeds Beckett are able to tailor their work to be as effective as possible while providing their customers with a transparent view of the success of their requests.”

Katie Langford | IT Communications Business Support Officer, Leeds Beckett University

Communication is the key to have a successful IT Services provision, but how can you know that the communications you have carefully crafted and published have been effective and have achieved what you wanted? You need to measure the impact of your communications to better understand how your customers like to be communicated to.

Monthly data collection Top

Numbers don’t lie. Hard statistics can be an invaluable source of information on your communication channels. But just knowing the statistics does little to improve your output and engagement.

One way is to keep track of your standard communications is through monthly reports. These can be a one-sheet report that include all of the standard stats for your comms, such as visits to your web pages, social media engagement and customer feedback (see below for a more detailed list). By consolidating this information, you can learn month on month as well as identify trends.

For example, say you notice that your “username and passwords” webpage has a spike in traffic after the Christmas break and at the start of term: you could use this data to create comms around this topic that time of year, with signposting to these pages being highlighted in related comms. That is how you take data from your communications channels to inform future campaigns.

Also by making a one-sheet report, you can share your data with the wider university to evidence success and support initiatives in communications.

Social media Top

Most social media platforms have an ability to track engagement. Twitter has an analytics tool that is free and is a valuable source of information on your Tweets and what impact they are having. The great thing about this tool is that you can look at any period of time so you do not need to download and store the data offline. This data can be used to see what content is resonating with your audience and help you to tailor your social media voice to have the best impact.

Campaign reflection Top

When you finish a campaign it can often be a time of celebration and of looking forward to the next campaign. Before taking your focus off a campaign, make sure you do some reflection on it and pull out some key wins or learning points from how well it went.

Look at the feedback you received and see if you can measure how well your message was received through hard data or customer surveys. By learning from your past campaigns you can better build for your customers a campaign that works for them.

Feedback Top

Customer feedback has always been an invaluable way of learning about your business and making sure you are communicating effectively. The problem many people run in to is how to get feedback or more importantly how to get feedback that can actually be used to improve your communications.

Surveys

Surveys are a great way to ask direct questions to a wide range of people. People who fill them out are aware that they are being asked for their feedback. It can be easy to create a confusing survey that people will not want to complete so you should begin by looking at survey methodologies, and question setting.

Forums

These are similar to surveys because they are structured events to gain feedback and insight. They require people to be physically present and has customers directly respond to questions. These are more time consuming and require a lot more prep work.

“In passing” conversations

These comments are sometimes the most honest feedback you can get, when people do not feel like they have a spotlight on them to explain how they feel. While they are great, they can be hard to document and track. By creating a document that can be linked to a mobile device you should try and record passing feedback, so that it can be added to your evaluation of your comms.

Social media comments

These should always be taken with a pinch of salt. People often can be brutally honest when hidden by social media anonymity, so all feedback recorded through social media should be vetted for usefulness before it is added to any data bank.

Some simple ideas to get started on evaluating your communication activities:

  • Schedule a task on the first of the month to collect your data and put the data in an excel workbook or in a format that works for your team.
  • Download a note-keeping app that you can synchronise with your email or work computer that you can record “in-passing” feedback. When you hear something that is insightful, don’t hesitate to jot it down and keep a record.
  • Take a look at the Twitter Analytics tool and start to look at how well your messages are being received.
  • Look to create a one page reflection form to fill in at the end of each campaign. That way you can share your success or create documents that others can learn from.

“The Edinburgh Napier IS Service Desk (or @EdNapITSupport) uses Twitter to inform users of our products, promote our services and provide a channel for communicating service disruptions. It raises the profile of the IS service desk and is a core component of how we communicate with customers and assists in personalising the student experience. We are motivated to give customers the ability to pick up knowledge and resources with consistent and clear messaging. This messaging supports our goal of consistently educating our customers and supplying reliable advice.

The service desk has a Twitter handbook that helps us ensure a consistent approach to Twitter no matter who is involved with Tweeting or their experience. This is covered with our staff at the service desk during their induction period. The handbook contains:

  • A “Tweet Bank” – This has a list of tweets which can be used or reused for idle periods for example when someone is not sure on what to tweet they can just head to the tweet bank and pick one out. This also includes pre made tweets for emergency situations such as when there is a major loss of service or a core service is impacted. For example there is text ready to copy over with simple messages: ‘Very sorry about this. Please give us a call at 0131 455 3000 and we’ll assist.’
  • Guidance on team policy – We’ve adapted our current practices to allow a “Ten Steps” to Twitter success which includes tips such as “Don’t be afraid to show a little personality in your tweets. As long as you keep it professional, there’s nothing wrong with being chatty.”
  • We actively collaborate with our part-time staff who work as student helpers in our customer-facing helpdesks. They are key in creating new ideas on what we should be tweeting such as services where student awareness is low.”

Lisa McDonald | User Support Manager, University of Edinburgh (Content from the Communications and marketing section of the UCISA UK Higher Education Service Desk Toolkit).