Social media is dramatically changing the landscape as to how companies communicate, market and sell their products and service. As a new type of relationship is being formed between companies and their customers, smart businesses are learning how to talk, share, listen, participate and network with potential and existing customers.
Done well, companies can dramatically increase their bottom line by creating customer ambassadors who then go out and create more customers. Done poorly, companies can destroy their brand in a day and curtail their potential for growth. Due to the potential power of social media, businesses are investing in everything from content management systems, forums, writing armies, and multi-channel applications.
Social Media Business Analysis: Ensuring Your Investments Pay Off
As with any other business investment, social media strategies need to be evaluated to see whether they are achieving the company’s primary goals. As a result more and more companies are focused on social media business analysis. They are looking for better ways to measure, monitor and improve their social media impact in attracting and retaining customers. Here are just a few of the measurements that are commonly used to track social media effectiveness:
- Media Monitoring Monitoring the conversations of a company’s products or brand, or competition on social media. When and where did the conversation happen? What triggered it? Who is talking? What was said? Was it positive or negative?
- Website Analytics Google Analytics is the optimal tool for measuring visitors, conversion rates, repeat visits, and time spent on site.
- Campaign management Measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns and advertising.
- Customer service Satisfaction, brand loyalty, product/service awareness.
- Search engine optimization Effectiveness of SEO and level of organic visibility.
- Sales Increased and shortened sales cycle.
These types of tracking are useful for both day-to-day management as well as creating long-term strategy that positions the company well for the future.
Who is doing it well?
In 2010, Ford gave 100 independent agents (social media influencers) a free Ford Fiesta at a cost of $5 million. Those social media influencers included bloggers, filmmakers and others who were in the public eye. Each of these influencers began to share their experiences online about driving a Ford Fiesta. Within a relatively short period of time, Fiesta reach 60% recognition before the cars even made it to the showroom. For the price of $5 million it was a bargain campaign compared to traditional advertising.
What are the challenges?
Social media analytics is rapidly evolving and so it is important for companies to stay on top of their analytical game. The challenge is that there is so much data that it is easy to get lost in a sea of numbers. The key is to make sure that the company focuses on the data that really matters, and create a defined process and standard around measurement. Businesses need to articulate what success looks like, and then align their social media goals by tying them to the company’s overall goals. Choose three to five Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and focus on improving those.
Where are the trends?
In order to measure their investments, companies are measuring their activities against prospect and customer profiles. They check to see whether a coupon is used, a prospectus is ordered, or a purchase is made. This type of measurement is called Social CRM. IT is a power tool in the technology stack for today’s social media business analysis. There is an array of CRM measuring tools available from low- to high-end to choose from. Measuring and improving social media effectiveness will be the key to future growth.