A quick guide to social listening
If you haven’t been exercising your right to fast forward through commercials lately, you might have noticed a few IBM ads on TV about social analytics and how it will help ‘create a smarter planet’. Or you might have read Dell’s plans to expand their services offering with social listening for brands.
The adoption of social listening platforms has grown at a tremendous rate in the last three years, even though the technology has been around for a while. Dell didn’t unveil their famed listening command center until 2010. Why? Because it took early adopters like Dell, IBM and others to really understand how to use these platforms effectively and strategically.
When we started beta testing listening platforms back in 2006, our challenge was to cull out actionable information from a bunch of disparate data points. Key word mentions, share of voice and sentiment didn’t provide the level of granularity we needed to make actionable decisions. We knew that the human side could offer more insights than pure automation. Through trial and error, we developed a replicable process and approach to social listening that bridged technology and thought.
Today, brands have become much more sophisticated with social listening to drive engagement. A plethora of platforms are available to help with any number of the following programs:
If you are thinking about beginning a social listening program or recalibrating your current one, I offer a few tips to keep in mind.
Have a program goal in mind before you evaluate or adopt a platform.
Platforms have greatly improved their functionality and usability. However, they all have strengths, weaknesses and a breadth of offerings. Based on your goal(s), create a simple assessment tracker that allows you to look across and compare multiple platforms and evaluate them against your specific needs. I have included a sample below. Get your key questions answered along the way. Remember everything looks flashy and exciting in that first demo.
Don’t rely on data alone.
The output of social listening should be more qualitative than quantitative. Numbers give you a baseline, a cluster to investigate and a way to gauge if you are moving the proverbial needle. However, metrics in and of themselves are often interesting, but not always useful.
The real value lies in the interpretation of the results. Therefore assign a SME or partner to the project. Someone with deep knowledge and expertise on your products, services, target industries and audience personas will help make the leap from general observation à insight à opportunity.
Map out your approach.
I don’t know how many times I have heard, “Can I get a listening report?” Well, that could mean many things. Take the time upfront to figure out exactly what insights you’re looking for. Start by listing out your objectives for the program. It could be a simple list of questions you want answered so that you can:
Here is an example. Let’s say you want insights to drive your content marketing strategy for a particular product. Below are some key questions to ask:
Go beyond what is #trending now.
Mine content as far back as a year old. It may seem a little counterintuitive, but it is important to understand the development (or maturity level) of your topic areas so that your actions are relevant based on what your audience cares about. How has the social content on a particular topic or theme evolved over the course of the last year, compared to six months ago and compared to today? Have the conversations increased, stayed flat or dropped? This is where some of your metrics come in handy. Let’s look at an example below.
The goal of this particular project was to inform a content marketing roadmap in a specific industry. We wanted to create an effective content creation strategy relevant to specific points on the decision journey. We compared core topics by quarter over a year’s time. The numbers indicated greater traction for topics A and D, while B and C were emerging. By overlaying the context of the social conversation sample, we determined how they were talking in addition to how much. With aligned data points and context, we recommended that the content direction for A and D should be geared towards consideration and preference, while B and C would focus on promoting adoption and awareness. Below is a peek into what we found.
[Note: Some tools are limited in the amount of historical data they store so add this criteria to your evaluation checklist.]
Without question, social listening platforms are becoming business as usual. If you are currently struggling with your listening program ask yourself some key questions on your strategy and approach. If you are not currently listening, but know that you should have a plan in mind before you just dive in.
Have a question? I’m listening!
Marketers are getting smarter when it comes to brand advocates. They realize that advocates can be a powerful word-of-mouth and amplification channel. They understand that advocates need to be engaged in meaningful ways to have the most impact. And they (hopefully) recognize that just because a person “likes” a brand’s Facebook Page, they won’t necessarily go so far as to defend the brand.
The increased understanding and adoption of advocacy marketing can be attributed to both experience as well as the plethora of case studies and research that exist. Many of the studies, such as Deloitte’s “A New Breed of Advocates” or eMarketer’s “Brand Advocates: Scaling Social Media Word-of-Mouth” focus on advocates’ characteristics and behaviors. This information is important to understand basic things like how much more likely an advocate is to recommend or what motivates them. But at WOMMA and ComBlu, we were left with a lot of unanswered questions.
So, What Don’t We Know?
What’s missing is a comprehensive study from marketers’ perspective. A study that doesn’t simply ask whether marketers will allocate more or less budget in the coming year, but examines specific approaches and strategies. Are brands incentivizing advocates? Is it with intrinsic or extrinsic rewards? What methods or tools do brands use to identify their advocates? Do their advocates participate in a formal onboarding process?
In other words, there’s a void in research that looks beyond who are brand advocates and what they do. We want to know how marketers engage advocates, segment them by behaviors and motivations, leverage them as an asset, and measure their ROI. A “state of brand advocates” study, per se. Inquiring minds want to know!
This is Where You Come In!
To address this, we’ve teamed up with WOMMA and developed the 2013 WOMMA/ComBlu Brand Advocates survey. The questions aim to uncover insights into the way brands work with and benefit from their advocates. It takes 10 minutes to complete.
We’d love for you to participate in the survey. If you do, we’ll be happy to send an advance copy of the results. We look forward to analyzing the research and sharing our findings!
Part One: Who are advocates and why they matter.
Brand advocates are hot and trending—again. Conversation about brand advocates and their business value is buzzing, because we have more collective experience under our belts. Advocate programs are beyond the proof of concept stage. There are real metrics available to us that quantify the business impact that advocates yield. Maker’s Mark (and their ambassador program) is a great example of an early adopter that has been running an advocate program for years. Whirlpool and Mom Central launched a pilot program in July and recently presented the results at WOMM-U earlier this month. The risk finally outweighs the reward.
So what have we learned about this small but powerful group of brand fans? Our infographic helps visualize who advocates are and why they matter.
|Click to Download Full Infographic|
|First, the “who.” Advocates make up just six to eight percent of your customer base. But, remember you can do a lot with a few. A relatively small group of engaged advocates can have enormous impact on the business.Advocates can play multiple roles. Most importantly they are the new voice of the brand. They love and defend you, because you market with them and not to them.|
Be prepared to have a genuine relationship with your advocates. It will pay dividends.
Not all advocates are created equal. Your business mission will determine the right type of advocates to identify and recruit for your program. It is important to understand which advocate segments will activate for what program, and how to engage with them in a meaningful way.
Brand advocates play a starring role in sales, product innovation, customer care and market research. They are our content creators and amplifiers, recommendation engines, campaign accelerants and support agents. And, they generate serious impact. This is the “why!”
Brand advocates are the go to person for purchase advice from peers. Unless you have been living under a rock, everyone knows that today’s consumer trusts the recommendation of someone they don’t even know.
It is all about the social graph. You are not engaging with an individual—you are engaging with a network.
So now that we get the who and the why, let’s focus on the “how.” There is a lot to get your arms around, so it is important to take a process approach from the beginning.
First, start with your key business objectives and define the mission of your advocate. You need to know what you want them to do first.
Next, you need to identify the right type of advocate for that mission. Start by leveraging social listening tools like Sysomos to drive your recruitment—this will help you find passionate fans already creating and sharing content outside of your own social ecosystem. Down the road, listening will also inform your engagement, messaging and content strategies.
You will also want to tap into your owned assets—best practice is to fish in your own pond. How will you use your existing infrastructure to reach loyal customers?
Now, in order to identify the right advocate for the job, you need to qualify them based on key criteria, such as:
Over the next few months, we will tackle the rest of the process—advocate activation, engagement and measurement:
In those upcoming blogs, we’ll share some brand examples we think epitomize best practices in advocate deployment. In the meantime, if you have any great case studies or innovative brand advocate programs to share, please do!
Why don’t fad diets work? Experts say that when dieting, people become fixated on what they eat, how often and the corresponding loss of weight. Once that weight goal has been achieved and the pants fit again, time to celebrate. No more hard-boiled eggs and plain boiled chicken breast. Whoo-hoo! Success! Let’s grab a burger and a beer, baby!
Five weeks later, the weight is back with a vengeance. Why is this? Simple. People place a short term focus on the tactics of the diet but totally ignore what is more important. That being a long term change in behavior. You see, it’s not just what you eat but how you approach the whole concept of health. It’s all tied together. You are tired. Don’t work out, you get stressed and you eat. That quick bag of Doritos as a lunch ain’t helpin’ things, neither is the diet soda for breakfast. Meals are things you get on the go. It is learned behavior that becomes engrained behavior.
Why is social marketing hard? Same reason as why dieting doesn’t work long term. It’s because, corporate teams have engrained behaviors which are focused on the short term. Campaigns and product launches. Beginning, middle and end; then onto whatever else is next.
Couple that mentality with a constant shuffle of teams and people through the endless re-orgs, attrition, upward and lateral movement of team members and focusing on anything long term becomes almost impossible…especially when we are measured and judged on the now.
Doesn’t losing five pounds by starving yourself this week sound better than losing 1 pound by taking the stairs instead of the elevator? More immediate gratification! Five pounds baby! One third of the way to my goal!
So how important is getting social marketing right? What impact will it have on the fundamental way we do business?
Social marketing is a disruptive model that will have far reaching ripple effects on corporate strategy that we cannot yet quantify. When Henry Ford refined and adopted the assembly line, when interstate highways were laid, when the light bulb became commercially available, the advent of the cellular telephone, the Internet, the growth in adoption of Twitter. These are all disruptive forces that no one fully understood or really appreciated at their outset. However, when taking the long view, you can begin to see how these things, well…changed everything.
Social marketing and ultimately, social business, which I define for purposes of this post as ‘collaborative engagement and dialogue which facilitate either common goals or common interests, done in ways that are transparent and communicated in languages, words and pictures we each understand and identify with’ are already beginning to change everything.
Remember the book Crossing the Chasm? The whole premise was around innovation and adoption of new ideas and process that allowed organizations, even big ones to become nimbler and allow their product and service evolutions to effectively go from early adopters to mainstream; which ultimately is the goal of every corporate entity, right? Organizations needed to adopt a process of change or fall into the chasm. IBM is a great example of one who made the crossing successfully. Zenith & Tower Records? Not so much. Ahhhhhhhhh, thud.
If your organization is still in command and control mode, if teams can’t or won’t be collaborative, if the silo walls of your organization are thick and without holes which allow for information, ideas and effort to pass through, you will never cross the chasm until a behavior change occurs-organizationally.
However, if you are attempting to evolve your business, over time, through new learned behaviors (which may be simply stringing a multitude of social initiatives or campaigns together to create the look and feel of what social marketing is really like) you are likely in either Step 2 or Step 3. See above chart.
Where ever you are, the important thing is getting through Step 2. Why is this? Well, social initiatives are based on relationships. Relationships are chaotic and ever changing. They are hard to plan around. They are not necessarily linear or fact driven. They are emotional and conversation driven. Try planning a traditional critical path around that. When you do, welcome to Step 2.
Everything you used to do doesn’t fit neatly into the new social model and that’s frustrating. The danger is giving up and going back to the old way of doing things (checking out).
However, when you learn to be truly collaborative with your peers, subject matter experts, customers and prospects that they aid in the planning and activities; outcomes and expectations magically align. The chaotic becomes more predictable. Welcome to Step 3, which is where you start thinking differently and acting differently and a new normal begins to grow.
Think about it. In any relationship, if you don’t approach the situation with mutual trust and respect, if you don’t listen and ask questions; if you don’t have a dialogue. Communication stops. Statements start. Trust evaporates. Usually, when that happens in any relationship, it ends badly. You are not being social. You are being obstinate.
Since social marketing is as new an idea as it is disruptive, we haven’t seen the full impact that these social ripple effects are having on organizations or industries. Therefore, few organizations, if any really, have moved into Step 4, but many are on their way! As more companies move across the chasm, this will force their competitors to follow suit. For everyone that makes the move, either by choice or by force, the new learned ‘social’ behaviors will eventually become engrained behaviors and that’s when social marketing becomes the norm and the power of social will be felt, understood and acknowledged.
Social is here to stay folks. That’s a fact. What the impact is, no one yet knows; only that it will be substantial. So where are you on crossing the social chasm? Is the cliff ahead of you or behind you?
I’m one of those people who needs to have the latest and greatest right away. So, when Facebook introduced Timeline, its much-anticipated massive overhaul to user profiles (think curated digital scrapbook), I upgraded immediately. I didn’t bother reading what it was all about or how it worked. I simply had to have it.
Then the holidays came and my Facebook life was put on the backburner as I spent quality time with friends, family and Hollywood’s latest blockbusters (if you haven’t seen Hugo, by the way, you are missing out on a true masterpiece). I completely overlooked the seven-day review period where I was supposed to work through my Timeline to get things ready before going public Little did I know that after the review period, there’s no turning back.
As is the case with any major upgrade, the new Timeline requires patience and commitment. Since I don’t have a lot of time these days, my initial instinct was to look for the “go to static view” button. But, I couldn’t find it. Certainly, Facebook wouldn’t require us to live with this change, right? Wrong.
(Really? Really? Do you really need to rush us into such a dramatic change?).
So, I turned to Google and found pages upon pages of strategies for turning back time. Apparently, I wasn’t alone.
According to InsideFacebook, scammers are exploiting the negative sentiments surrounding Timeline by prompting the disenfranchised to Like, download or watch videos to deactivate, remove or disable it. I was one of those suckers.
I’ve now come to accept that resistance, my friends, is futile. While only a fraction of Facebook users have already adopted Timeline and it’s still an option, pretty soon it won’t be. According to the Associated Press, “There’s no sense in holding out. Timeline will eventually go live for everyone on Facebook, whether or not the user has taken the time to prune and optimize the Timeline view. It’s best to be proactive and make sure what people will see is what should be seen.”
So, I’m in the process of curating my new look to the world and preparing myself for my Facebook makeover. And, I admit, the more time I spend with it, the more I like it. I just needed time.
It will be interesting to see how marketers will embrace Timeline when it becomes available. To date, there has been no official release date for brands, but Mashable offers an interesting glimpse of what we might expect. How about you, have you revealed your new face to the world?
A simplified approach to segmentation.
Our industry applies many labels to people based on known usage and behavioral patterns with social media. There are great thought leaders and researchers in this space comparing historical data to emerging trends. However, we find ourselves swimming in a big bowl of alphabet soup these days, and names are beginning to lose their meaning and impact.
A few years ago we attempted a major undertaking to cut through the clutter and simplify segmentation as part of a Center of Excellence initiative for a major technology company. The project included:
· Deep analysis of the current approach to community member segmentation
· Evaluation of membership segmentation methodologies in external communities
· Examination of published research on the psycho social factors that motivate and drive individuals to affiliate with and become active within communities, social networks and brands
· Review of more than 140 information sources including articles, e-books, videos, presentations and conducted one-on-one interviews
We found that 4 main segments bubbled up to top of the lengthy list: Creators, Critics, Connectors and Collectors, because their main activities and behaviors were consistent across the Engagement Continuum:
Next, we developed scenarios to tell us how, where and when to engage these segments throughout the different stages of the product lifecycle.
Say you are in the pre-release phase of a new product. You will need Creators and Critics for user acceptance testing, prioritization of fixes and enhancements, feedback on use case scenarios and the creation of product reviews. On the other hand, in pre-launch buzz mode, you would need to rely on Connectors to amplify awareness and spread positive word-of-mouth.
The same can be said for the community lifecycle. You wouldn’t identify and recruit Collectors until there was enough rich content for them to consume and organize. You need to start with Creators and Critics. Sensing a pattern here?
The point is that you must identify and activate the appropriate segment based on what you want to achieve through social engagement. But, keep things simple. It may be that Joiners, Contributors and Spectators make sense and work for you. Does anyone have a different approach they would like to share?
It’s Year 3 of our annual research on the State of Online Branded Communities – and we’re in the home stretch. So I thought this would be a good time to press pause and see where we are so far.
A little background first. What distinguishes our study is its focus on the member experience. We want to understand firsthand how effectively brands are creating meaningful experiences for their members and how best practice adoption affects that experience. To that end, we’ve joined and evaluated about 200 communities so far and are on track to do more than 250. Those cut across 15 industries and about 90 brands. That’s nearly double the number of communities we looked at for our inaugural study in 2009.
As we join each community, we’re looking for which of 30+ key best practices are being applied there. And finally, how are brands integrating these community assets with their mass social media assets? Is there ANY integration? Is there common branding? Is it easy to navigate back and forth between properties? The idea here is to see how cross property consistency enhances member experience.
With the disclaimer that it’s not fully baked yet, here are a couple of early observations from the 2011 study:
Ø More content-centric engagement. While there’s still a whole lot of ‘push’ going on, there are signs of more content-related best practice adoption. Things like content aggregation, social bookmarking, tagging, customization and sharing. Interesting indicators that some industries are taking a more sophisticated approach to content curation and that should make for a more meaningful experience for members.
Ø Can I get that (community) to-go? The answer is a resounding maybe. Brands are offering a variety of ways to extend the member experience to consumers on the go. Some strictly optimize for mobile devices; others offer cool apps that give mobile members unique ways to engage. And surprisingly, some miss the mobile boat completely – even some categories that live and breathe POP!
Ø Hands-on management. Last year, we saw that more than half the communities had no visible or active community manager. This year, brands appear to be more willing to humanize the experience and make a more personal connection with their members. The P&C Insurance industry is a great example, posting a major bump up from 33% to 71% having a community manager!
Ø Clean up on Aisle 2. Brands are making a concerted effort to sunset communities that have run their course. Not all communities are meant to stick for the long term. In those cases, it’s great to see brands managing that process and the relationship with members rather than let them lie fallow.
Those are just a few early snippets from this year’s body of work. The full report will be released in the fall. We’ll keep you posted here for dates of preview webinars. Or just click here and fill in the form. In the message box, write: Send report’ and /or ‘webinar dates” and we’ll get the information out to you when it’s available.
One of the chapters in our new eBook, Content Supply Chain, deals with building a diverse mix of content amplification channels. Paid, Owned, mass social and earned media all play a role in content channel strategy.
Today the definition of earned media has expanded to include the social assets of consumers and other stakeholders. The mass social outlets of consumers and customers are one of the most powerful media channels. These spread word-of-mouth among family, friends and followers and drive the network effect that is so important in growing content equity. Making it “easy to care” and “easy to share” is key to success when trying to tap the personal networks of your customers and brand advocates. There are tools such as SocialToaster, Gigya and JanRain that make the sharing easier, but the passion must be born out of positive experience or a wonderful and useful piece of content that just screams “share me.”
Winning real estate on the Facebook pages of customer advocates or scoring a tweet that includes a link to a brand’s content carries the implied endorsement of the sender. In addition to creating content that people want to share, it is important to include content amplification requests when engaging customer and employee advocates or ambassadors.
In order for this to succeed, brands need to have invested the time and resources to build and nurture an advocate base. Here’s a few factoids gleaned from a variety of sources that show why this matters.
· Seventy percent more likely to be seen as a reliable source of information.
· Increase conversions by 166 percent through content amplification and referrals.
· Reduce cost of overall product support by ≥ 60 percent.
· Fifty percent more likely to create content that influences a purchase.
· Eighty-three percent more likely to share information.
Advocates will, of course, do more for the brands they love than just being a content channel. Smart segmentation of this high value group is essential to maximize their roles and contributions. How are you using advocates to socialize your content?
Content is a topic of growing interest to many organizations. ComBlu recently analyzed hundreds of conversations about content (many from the Top 42 Content Marketing Blogs compiled by Junta42 this year) and noticed some interesting trends:
· Content is definitely a growing and “hot” topic within social marketing, with content strategy leading in SOV amongst topics. Measurement seems to be the least discussed topic in the space. Blogs are discussing the value of content and specific parts of the “content process,” (i.e., strategy, creation, curation, etc.), as well as other topics like brands as publishers; consumers’ changing content needs; maximizing content value; and challenges (i.e., bandwidth, original content, etc.).
This jives with conversation that occurred at one of the popular sessions at SXSW this year: Brands as Publishers. In addition to debating the suitability of brands to be publishers, the session also covered the difficulty in assuming the “publisher” mantle.
· Part of the debate centered on corporations following “pure” journalistic standards. Some contended that custom content is not real journalism; it is not well researched or vetted and therefore not up to journalistic standards. This was hotly contested by others in the session who pointed out that first, brands are not claiming to be journalists; simply publishers, and secondly the community will correct badly researched information. Many opined that the market will punish corporations who do not tell the truth and are too self-serving. The risk is too high for corporations to be less than transparent.
· Most at the session wanted to simply talk about the mechanics of being a publisher. They were concerned about content quality, curation, understanding how to best match owned channels to specific types of content (Address controversial topics on corporate blog vs. story-telling in an engagement hub)
This meshes with conversations that ComBlu has with brands all the time. Just this week, I was chatting with Rishi Dave at Dell about content strategy. He and his team are passionate about content and believe it is a powerful engagement strategy IF done right. Rishi contends most brands are not ready or equipped to truly be a publisher. They need to travel what he calls “the content pain journey”, which goes something like this: Most brands produce content episodically for a traditional marketing or thought leadership campaign. Then, they decide they need to amplify that content so they integrate mass social media into the channel mix. This leads to the realization that 1) they need a better process for scheduling content and 2) Holy cow! We need a lot more content. It is only then that they press pause and methodically examine their content creation and distribution approach.
It is shocking that more organizations are not deconstructing their content approach. One nugget from the SXSW session was this factoid: brands spend 25% of their marketing budgets on content creation and distribution. McKinsey estimates that embedded costs alone for content supply chain can range from $50million to $75million for a consumer products company to over $300million for a global technology company. That got your attention, right?
So what exactly is the content supply chain? ComBlu recently decided to take this topic on. We read white papers, researched and interviewed many content intellectuals and found no solid answer. So we took all the bits and pieces we learned and organized them into a cohesive approach. Our new eBook “Content Supply Chain” presents a systematic methodology for treating content as a business discipline. It introduces the concept of content equity and shows how to measure return on content assets.
It’s a good read and we hope it sparks more discussion and stimulates other ideas and approaches. How does your organization organize and manage this important function? Let us know. In the meantime, download the book and share it.
Recently, the ComBlu team conducted a deep dive on the state of measurement in our industry. We looked back at online conversations over the last 18 months to glean any insights into the maturity and growth of social media measurement. No big surprises—the discipline is coming along slowly, but surely.
Just a year ago, the conversations centered on the “what” and the topic of social media measurement in general. What do I measure, and is this really actionable? Six months later, we arrive at the “how.” Conversation volume decreases slightly, but the sophistication level goes up. How do I track and manage data from multiple platforms? I have more data than I know what to do with. How do I define ROI? Today, the conversation is in the “why” phase. Clearly, ROI has always been front and center of the measurement landscape, but now it’s as an equal. It’s time to ask the hard question—are we getting what we paid for?
While there is no big “aha” found in the data points above, it validates what my clients, colleagues and partners are saying—this is “the year of ROI.” But, the deliberator in me wants to back up and assess the current situation. Measurement tools barely represent a fraction of the conversation, which is really the “how,” and I am not certain that we have cleared that hurdle yet. I challenge anyone to demonstrate ROI of their social program if they don’t know how or have the right tool set in place to measure engagement.
Engagement is the driver behind any social program and there are multiple flavors of it. We don’t engage just for fun—we do so because it is intended to impact the business favorably. In order to track engagement, we must start with the right mix of metrics. It’s true that metrics do not equal ROI, but an engaged stakeholder base does. Below are some common social health and performance metrics to consider as you build out your engagement strategy:
As you can see, engagement is not measured by the number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers or your community members. Engagement is about achieving a desired outcome that is based solely on the objectives of your organization.
Let’s walk through a scenario. Brand X is planning for the limited pre-release of their new 4G smart phone, so they develop an advocacy program to support it. The brand knows that online user-generated content (UGC) impacts sales because 70 percent of consumers trust the recommendations of others, even if they don’t know them personally. Pretty simple stuff. Below is the construct:
|Increase online product recommendations by 45 percent||Engage brand advocates for the creation of user-generated content (UGC) via:· Product reviews· Customer stories· Videos· User ratings||· # of product reviews on owned assets· # of third party product reviews · # of product reviews on retail partner sites· Average rating of 4· # of videos uploaded
· # of views
· # of comments
· # of shares
Brand X invested in an integrated social platform dedicated to mobile technology as a means to engage their customers. In turn, those customers generated tons and tons of content that lives on Brand X’s owned assets and other third party sites, such as YouTube, Amazon and Best Buy. These customers spent much of their personal time thoroughly testing and reviewing the product from soup to nuts. Then, they amplified their opinions on highly influential sites. Here is a small sample of the results:
· Member video on YouTube generated more than 25,000 views, plus positive comments relating to purchase intent
· Member review on Amazon generated 75 “helpfuls” in the first week
· Member forum post on Best Buy’s online community generated 250 views and sparked conversation
A healthy and performing social program does equal ROI because it indicates whether or not you are engaging successfully. For Brand X’s model to be successful, they needed the ability to track:
· Incoming traffic to the platform
· Membership growth
· Return visits and login activity
· Content consumption patterns
· Content creation, rating and sharing—both on- and off-domain
· Feedback received
By having the ability to pinpoint what engagement tactics were working and which ones had little traction, Brand X was able to diagnose member behaviors and trend from a red status to a green one. They:
· Made adjustments to content and its placement
· Interacted directly with their most prolific members and thanked them on a regular basis
· Developed return motivators to ensure frequent participation
· Modified the user experience and navigation based on direct feedback
· Asked more relevant and meaningful questions of the membership base and communicated back to them
· Syndicated and showcased UGC on their owned assets
Utilizing a diagnostic tool provided Brand X with actionable information. They made adjustments and course corrections when needed. By meeting the needs of their customers through engagement, they were able to increase their online recommendations above goal. This is why social health and performance matter. Brand X could tell a complete story and answer the “what,” “how” and “why.”
As social media measurement continues to mature as a discipline, the “how” should become clear and the available toolset should follow the curve. It will be interesting to see the capabilities and new technologies that emerge over the next six months. To continue this conversation, you can meet up with Kathy Baughman, who will be speaking at WOMMA’s Talkable Brands Exchange in August.