Archive for the ‘Metrics’ Category

How do you Maximize Engagement across the social web?  That was the question I was asked during an interactive panel discussion at SXSW.  Joining me on the panel was a team of marketing and engagement experts including, David Meerman Scott, Eric Qualman, David Carter, Chris Heuer, Paul GillinBrian Solis and Peter Fasano.  We met at the Social Media Clubhouse to discuss this topic in detail and chat about how brands using the Social Media tools to engage with their customers.

The complete video footage is below.  Hope you enjoy the discussion!

This is an article I wrote for PointZero Magazine.  If you have a moment check it out here.  It’s a new magazine that offers a wealth of knowledge on the social media space.

In the last 18 months, Social Media Marketing has generated a lot of attention and buzz in most enterprises. From the innovative uses of social media during the US Presidential campaign of Barack Obama, to individuals creating a personal brand on blogs and microblogs, everyone seems interested in getting in on the social media hype. Mainstream media continues to point to unprecedented adoption rates of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn among others, leaving enterprises to move beyond the question of whether or not to adopt social media as part of the marketing mix, and into how they should adopt it.

Most enterprises have made attempts at dipping their toe in social media mostly by establishing a presence on what we will call the “free social web” – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  While these social outposts are extremely important for branding and driving traffic to an enterprise’s web site or online community, they are difficult to measure and track and, most importantly, it’s difficult for the brand to own the conversations happening within the broader social web.  These sites own the explicit data (profile information, demographics data, etc) and implicit data (comments on other posts, details on connections, responses to polls, allegiance to fan pages, etc) making the information difficult or impossible to review, interpret and act on.

Leveraging and Launching Social Media
Enterprises that are at the point of expanding their social media initiatives by launching their own market facing community benefit by learning from the successes and failures of other brands. Three common mistakes Enterprises make are:

•    The “build-it-and-they-will-come” fallacy—This happens when a company focuses too single-mindedly on the tools and forgets to consider the marketing programs that are driving membership and participation in their community.  Too many brands believe once the community is launched it will result with hundreds of thousands of members out of the gate.  The truth is the launch of a community should go hand-in-hand with a well though marketing program and activities to drive membership and participation.
•    The “let’s-keep-it-small-so-it-does-not-move-the needle” phenomenon— Some enterprises seem to get into a permanent state of pilot when it comes to social media marketing programs. At some point you either need to move on and scale, or decide that social media marketing is not for you and shut it down.
•    The “not-invented-here” syndrome—This can happen when a very strong community already exists, and the company tries to create a new one and lure members to their own platform. In some cases it makes more sense for that company to engage where the community already hangs out and affiliate with them instead of trying to compete with them.

Measuring ROI – It’s both important, and possible
Earlier this year Chris Brogan (President of New Marketing Labs) and I conducted research on Corporate Trends in Social Media Marketing.  We learned that most enterprises that dipped their toes into social media were planning larger, more comprehensive strategies in the second half of 2009 that involved deploying their own customer or market facing online communities.  The primary motivation of the enterprises planning these initiatives were addressing standard marketing goals including promoting brand, increasing customer engagement and driving demand generation activities.  On the flip side, the biggest concerns of the same enterprises were around ensuring their brand image is not tarnished within a community and that they can generate high levels of participation among community members. An additional concern identified in the survey was the perceived inability to track an RIO with social programs.

Measuring ROI in social media is something everyone involved in the space is trying to capture. While there are many different opinions on the subject no one has established an industry standard. One of the primary reasons behind the lack of a standard ROI definition for social media is because, as we learned in the survey, there are many different objectives for social media programs. For example, while page views may be a compelling metric for a UCG campaign, it may indicate poor performance in a peer support community.

Without standard metrics, organizations need to know whether or not social media programs are making an impact. As companies adopt and enhance social programs they need to be sure that the vendors they select to support the technology component of the social program understand the differences in business objectives companies have and have the appropriate metrics in place to track an ROI. With the right platform and tools in place, measuring ROI is easily possible.

Here is a segment of my session at Web 2.0The Elephant in the Room: Social Media ROI.  While the session was on Social Media ROI this segment focused on the 7 Misconceptions of Social Media (Truth be told, this could have been be a session in itself).  I had a blast delivering it and heckling some of local Yankees fans.  All I can tell you is when a group of Yankees fans can appreciate a Sox fan has to say about social media you know all is right with the world.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

The top 7 list mentioned in my presentation are:

  1. Build it and they will come
  2. Use social media to BROADCAST, not listen
  3. What if it all goes wrong?
  4. It’s FREE!!!!!
  5. We only use the FREE social web
  6. We are tracking the wrong stuff
  7. We have no plan or objective

What do you think… Are there any misconceptions I missed?

Tracks by Stefano Liboni

Tracks by Stefano Liboni

This may be something many of you are already doing but it’s been an effective strategy for me so I wanted to share.  I get a lot of questions around how I track our marketing activities on social media and which metrics are the most important.

The approach I have taken is to track our activities in three distinct buckets – Social Yield, The Social Effect and Social Results.  This makes it easier to manage and understand the results.  What most marketers already know is that many of the things we track in social media are not tied directly to the bottom line which is why calculating ROI on the social web has been so challenging.  What you probably also know is that while all the metrics don’t make a financial impact, they all play a role in understanding the success or failure of your social media marketing campaigns. The buckets I use actually came from a marketing class I took in grad school (special thanks to Dr. David Gulley from Bentley University).  At the time there was no such thing as social media so the buckets were used to track traditional programs (print, email, banners, etc).

  • Social Yield is a return against a specific target.  For example, it could be the number of members you sign-up for a community against your stated objective or the number of twitter followers you gained vs. your goal. There are couple of keys for this bucket.  First is to not be afraid to put a stake in the ground and set a realistic objective.  You can do this based on previous experience or a SWAG (or a Silly Wild Ass Guess).  Either way it’s critical to establish something and stick to it.  Second, be sure to make the objective time driven.  It’s not good enough to simply state that you want to have “1000 new community members.”  Establish the goal and put it on a time line for achieving it (e.g. In <1 month, in Q1, next year> we will increase community membership to 1000).Some things to consider measuring in this bucket include number of Facebook Fans, number of new community members, number of Twitter followers, number of retweets, number of YouTube subscribers, or number of LinkedIn group members over a given period of time.
  • The Social Effect is the performance delta from social activity.  This could be as simple as a change in the number of retweets since beginning the social media program in general or around a product launch (e.g: retweets increased 120% during the week of our product launch).  More sophisticated organizations will track a change in the bottom line such as sales or customer service inquiries (e.g: Since Oct 2009 when we launched on Twitter, inbound service requests declined from 500 the previous month to 250).  Benchmarking key metrics like that up front will get you on a path for tracking an ROI.
  • Social Results are how social media met or missed the stated objectives.  For me, the key to the results bucket is they are always tracked against metrics that make a financial impact.  They could be marketing metrics like impact on cost per lead or lead conversion rates but the most important are those that impact the sales pipeline, closed opportunities and customer service incidents.  Using the example above, “Since Oct 2009 we reduced inbound service requests by 50% resulting in savings of $15,000 in deflected inbound calls and emails”

I’m really interested in hearing what you think.  Is there anything I am missing or things I should be tracking?