Royalty speaks at Grunig Gala



University of Maryland students and staff mingle before the Ninth Annual Grunig Gala on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center.  Photo credit: Alyssa Haduck

Reigning as The Measurement Queen and ruling over the analytical realm of social media, Katie Paine presented “What Social Media Can (and Can’t) Tell You About Your Relationships” to University of Maryland students at the Ninth Annual Grunig Gala on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center.  The keynote speaker shared her observations on measurement in social media, including why some current social media engagement is flawed, how to measure it, and what to do to improve it.


Aging Engagement

Paine started her speech by explaining that though social media analytics has become a common measure for public relations professionals, people are often looking at the wrong


Keynote speaker Katie Paine addresses Grunig Gala attendees.  Photo credit: Alyssa Haduck

statistics. Instead of questioning what more can be done to reach out to a public, one must consider what can’t be done. Some examples of social media reconsiderations include:

  • perceived audience orientation
  • day of the week/time of day of posts
  • keeping content on-brand


Above all, authenticity is key to initiating and maintaining positive social media engagement

“It’s still all about relationships,” Paine said. Though being social has changed from millenias ago to millennials today, the basis of purposeful communication remains the same.


Distinguished Discourse

Paine stressed that in order to be able to collect and analyze valuable data on social media interactions, engagements must have substance. She preached the importance quality interactions of trust and connection over quantity interactions of vanity metrics, such as shares, likes, or followers. The measurement professional also explained that relationships are earned, not owned, citing the necessity of investing in the knowledge of one’s public rather than in the initial output of information. Communication to the audience does not matter unless there is potential for improvement.


Fix It

After analyzing can/can’t content, measuring engagement, and preparing for more intimate social media interactions, it is finally time to fix faulty posting. Paine compared


Turtle centerpieces sat on round tables for the networking hour that took place before Paine’s speech.  Photo credit: Alyssa Haduck

social media to a cocktail party, explaining that if one, or one’s account, is obnoxious and generating excessive, useless information, then no one will pay attention to it. Interesting posts will draw viewers in and relevant content will encourage them to engage.


With Pain’s perspective on social media relationship measurement, public relations professionals can evaluate their current social media statuses and employ strategies for quality engagement over vanity interactions.


Explore this year’s Grunig Gala on Twitter or Instagram with #GrunigGala16.  Follow Katie Paine, Measurement Queen, on Twitter.


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