Tag Archives: metrics

Businesses Benefit from Strategic Social Media Programs

Bridge to CustomersWhile social networking began as a consumer activity, it has become a crucial component of most business marketing strategies as it allows companies to reach highly targeted audiences with custom messaging to build brand awareness and establish a relationship with the customer who now expect companies to be reachable and accountable.

Business Benefits
Businesses are now regularly using tools such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn for hiring, customer support, product development, brand recognition, and, of course, client acquisition and retention. Social media has another benefit: the cost of acquiring customers is significantly lower than placing ads, and creates a lasting relationship.

The benefits of a quality social media marketing program include:

  • Transparent, authentic feedback from your audience
  • Integrates well with conventional marketing programs
  • Reach highly-targeted audiences
  • Improves search engines positioning
  • Lower cost than advertising
  • More long term and wider impact than conventional public relations

Listen first, Act second
Buyers look to objective internet sources to compare business products and services including existing customers who are more than willing to share their experience with these products. Companies can’t control the chatter, but they can learn what customers want.

Brands such as Comcast have made major strides in customer service by listening on Twitter. When their brand is mentioned, they know. When someone has a problem, they help them within minutes. They follow the first rule of social media: listen first, act second. Maintaining a regular monitoring program helps to understand customer sentiment and how it changes as you implement online programs.

Defining Success
Measuring the success of a social media campaign is possible only if you define your targets in advance. Whether they include increased traffic, website conversions or leads, you must have clear targets for successful campaigns, at short-term and long-term time intervals. A few examples of what success might look like include:

  • Gaining a better understanding of your customers
  • Increase brand exposure in ways which were not possible before
  • Reducing costs for achieving the same targets using other marketing tactics
  • Increase sales and conversions

Some great resources to compliment this blog post:

Social Commerce, Social Media Today, November 2, 2010

Content for People, Not Robots, Impressions Through Media, September 18, 2010

Monitoring and Measuring Social Media

rulerAt the end of the day, marketing professionals are held accountable for their marketing strategies and tactics.   Does the activity mix optimize the marketing budget?  Did the projected ROI (return on investment) come to fruition?   In the world of traditional marketing, we’ve built a comfort level for monitoring and measuring success.   For activities such as tradeshows, or a direct mail piece, we have established parameters and a process in place for measurement.   But, what about social media?  

As social media tools like blogs, message boards, and video continue  to grow in use and popularity across Corporate America, so too will the need to monitor and measure such platforms.  Traditional web analytics alone, such as click throughs, page views, etc., will not be sufficient.   At this time, no accepted standards on measuring social media exist.  So, what, if any, benchmarks can be used to measure the impact of social media programs?

In exploring this topic, I came across an interesting Dow Jones white paper entitled, “Tracking the Influence of Conversations: A Roundtable Discussion on Social Media Metrics and Measurement.”   Authors Jermiah Owyang of Podtech.net and Matt Toll of Dow Jones agree that there is “no universally agreed upon measurement metric, but a true need for identifying and defining multiple social media attributes that an organization can examine and consider as part of its strategy.”

Dow Jones conducted a roundtable with several social media thoughtleaders to discuss metrics, measurement and social media attributes.   The group identified the following 11 social media attributes or metrics :

  • traditional web analytics and activity
  • community activation/call to action – meaning is there a response to messages?
  • “conversation index” – a simple ratio between blog posts and comments-plus-trackbacks
  • demographics – understanding who is responding to messages
  • influential ideas – meaning the intensity or velocity of the idea or message over time
  • participation and engagement – referring to the stimulation of discussion or responding and acting on a message or idea
  • reach/influence
  • relationships and connections – meaning influence within a specific niche-type community
  • relevance
  • sentiment/tone – whether positive, negative or neutral
  • content

Of the above attributes, participants in the Dow Jones roundtable placed the highest value on the “participation and engagement” metric.  Engagement is seen as a tangible, measurable metric.  It occurs when the recipient not only responds to a message, but acts on it as well.   There is depth to the participation or conversation as visitors interact with the content.  As Owyang and Toll add, “it is not just a question of whether they visited a given Web site or read a blog, but how long did they linger there?  What else did they read?  What does the clickstream look like?”

The ability to identify key attributes that are important to an organization will serve as the foundation for any social media strategy.  To be effective, companies will need to not only identify the key attributes and metrics, but develop and execute a plan to monitor and measure those attributes.  As Owyang and Toll write, “for corporations serious about tracking their “return on influence” – that is, not just standard “ROI” but a broader, more long-term, lasting return – in social media and the blogosphere, being able to measure, track and compare results is a requirement of determining next steps and strategy.