Its everywhere, everyday, and the topic of every conversation: Social Media. No doubt your company has a strategy for it, but is it working effectively? Do you really know what is happening past clicking the send/tweet/share buttons?
As with all aspects of marketing, unless you measure your efforts, you are taking a virtual stab in the dark with what will work and what doesn’t, which when investing your time and money, is a huge risk to be taking.
So how do you efffectively measure your social media data? How do you ensure that you are getting the most from your online campaign? First, define your goals. Where do you want your social campaign to be in 6/12/18 months time? Are you looking to promote a particular service or product? Define your business objectives early on before taking your next steps.
When it comes to your “Social Profile”, there are 5 key areas in which to focus your efforts:
What is Being Said About You.
Digitally or otherwise, people will talk about you – whether you are there or like what they are saying or not. Do you know what people are saying about your brand? Do you know whether people are talking about you in a positive light? With “Big Brands” people are almost happy to complain, however with smaller and medium sized enterprises, it is much easier to vent a bad experience or customer issue in 140 characters.
There are several tools available to ‘listen’ to what is being said online, and as always these can vary in cost and efficiency. Google Alerts is always a great place to start, and as a free tool with optional pay scales and upgrades, Hootsuite is definitely worth looking into.
Of course, always keep in mind, that you never hear the entire social conversation, Twitter captures such large volumes of data at one time you only hear about 5% of the conversation, and privacy settings on Facebook are largely influential on what you can ‘hear’.
Whilst it is great to be actively listening to Social Media – don’t forget that interaction is key too. If you aren’t sure about a comment, or want to help or learn more about a follower or customers experience – ask them! The wonder of Social Media is that you can quickly and effectively interact with anyone you wish to.
Know Your Market.
Google Analytics is something you should be using across the board in your marketing strategy, as the information and data provided is invaluable to your progress going forward, and social media monitoring is no different.
It is always vitally important to understand where your audience and customer is coming from, to enable effective landing pages and content accordingly. This is also a great way of analysing which social media platform your customers are coming from to track where your presence needs to be felt. Remember, Social Media is not just about the ‘mainstream’ channels of Facebook and Twitter. Understanding how your audience engages online is key. For example, a florist may have a distinct referral from directory sites such as Yelp.
Do you run an e-commerce site? Are conversions important to you? Then this area of measurement is going to be key – is social media driving sales to your site?
Sales and Social Media don’t always directly go hand in hand, but SM can be used more for influencing long term loyalty and relationships with new and existing customers.
To increase conversion, run ‘SM only’ offers and exclusives for followers and friends, maybe use Groupon for discounts and deals if appropriate. Make your circles feel special, and monitor the results. Experiment with unique offerings and URLS, with specific landing pages for each drive and campaign. Track the results of each channel, and see where repeat/new business is being driven from.
Get The Word Out (For Free!)
If we rewind 10 years, think how much money was spent on marketing and getting your brand name out there with the general public, it wasn’t easy! Now, we have a global community at our fingertips, and if we work smartly, can get them to do a lot of the work for us.
Whether its online realtime customer service offerings (as run by many of the big name mobile brands nowadays) or a clever incentive to extend your reach, find something that will apply to your specific service and product.
A bagel store in the US extended its reach on Facebook, with a quip of every time you ask a friend to ‘like’ (and it is followed up with one of course) you get a free bagel. The cost of the bagels vs. the cost of a campaign that would have otherwise cost thousands was minimal, and they now have one of the largest and most profitable social followings in the state.
Also, don’t forget those fans and friends who have strong influence on others. Whether its celebrities or ‘twelebrities’ – ask them to advocate your brand and speak on your behalf online.
As mentioned earlier, Brand Health is vitally important when looking to increase presence and as a result, revenue and savings.
Your customers have a voice, and 9/10 they are not afraid to use it! Although it can be used negatively to promote an inconvenience or dissatisfaction (cutting their hand on a poorly designed product lid, or fading of clothing etc), it can be used to great positive effect as well.
Don’t wait for the conversation to start – make it happen!
Use hashtags on twitter to ask followers what they like about your products, or if they could bring one discontinued product back, what would it be (think Cadbury’s and their recent relaunch of Wispa Gold).
Start a conversation with customers on Facebook, have a day/time each week where they can submit ideas and suggestions – maybe even win a prize for the best one. Use your creative flair to enlist the help of your fan base with free market research and insight into what they really want from you.
[image via omllion.com]