Better metrics for social media

In 2015, virtually all companies have an online presence, from the Fortune 500 down to the local dry cleaner. Companies encourage customers to like, follow, share – anything to show engagement. But does that really work?

According to Charlie Southwell, most companies aren’t putting enough thought into their social content. He points to an article on Marketing Week reporting that nearly half of Chief Marketing Officers claim that social media has a “below average” impact on profitability. So where is the disconnect?

It’s not a numbers game

In 2016, we can buy thousands of Twitter followers, YouTube views, or website views for the price of a fancy coffee. But it won’t change your business. Charlie points out that you would get more business impact by taking the money you budget for social and throwing it off the roof. There’s even a name for it: the MoR (Money off Roof) Test. The premise is that the excitement of seeing an executive standing on a roof, throwing money at passersby, would generate more viral excitement than most social media content.

Productive uses of social media

There are six main uses for social media in business, and you need to plan your social media strategy with all six pillars in mind. To summarise Charlie’s points:

  • HR – social content can be used to attract talent, onboard staff, and keep them engaged, both while employed and as alumni.
  • PR, marketing, and advertising – social content can help with lowering the cost of marketing, acquisition, and customer retention.
  • Sales – the use of social content here is embodied by FRY: Frequency of purchase, more customer Reach, and Yield of average transaction.
  • Customer service – Fielding and resolving customer problems has become one of the top uses for social media.
  • Business intelligence – Combine any of the number of measurement and analytics tools in the market to draw some powerful conclusions about how business is perceived and how to proceed.
  • Internal communications – Social tools help your teams collaborate, and reduce down time spent on fruitless information chases.

Charlie provided a number of example objectives that could be used as a starting point, and emphasised that each organisation will have unique objectives. Those objectives should be platform agnostic, as platforms come and go (remember MySpace?). Each platform and channel has its own idiosyncrasies, and the timeline for seeing return on your investment will vary. You don’t have to be Einstein to measure social media, Charlie reminds us, but you do have to engage in some rigorous planning that starts with business objectives.

Many thanks to Charlie Southwell.

Twitter @charliesaidthat



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Applying science to content analytics

Analytics Eats HIPPOs for Breakfast was the attention-getting line that opened Adrian Kingwell’s presentation at the March meetup of Content, Seriously. Any line that involves large mammals is bound to get the audience’s attention, even though in this case, HIPPO stands for “HIghest Paid Person in the Office”.

The vast majority of writers can relate to the situation where the HIPPO, whether that be client or in-house executive, decides that content should be written in a certain way, or delivered in a certain channel, generally based on personal opinion. The writers are left scrambling to mind-read the HIPPO’s instructions, balancing that with what information could be gleaned about what content actually works for the intended audiences.

Using analytics, the HIPPO can be tamed, and may even be happy about it. Instead of acting on opinions, writers can use the data behind analytics to determine what content works and why.

The starting point for analytics

Adrian Kingwell

Adrian Kingwell

The reason that organisations create content is to solve a business problem. That meant asking the right business questions. Then, the primary job of analytics is to get answers to those questions. Start with why: why is content being created at all? What is the business purpose? Then ask how: how should the content be created and delivered? Which channels are most appropriate? For which audiences? Once those criteria have been established, ask what: what content would be most appropriate for those audiences, in those channels, for those business purposes?

Starting with “why” and working backwards, analytics can reveals information about our customers and shows ways to improve content. Every piece of content on a website has an objective. It’s important to agree on the objectives and the key results. As well, ask what else could add value? Once that’s been decided, have the analytics analyst tag the pages.

The goal of analytics is to improve results

Adrian pointed out that the content strategist’s best friend is the conversion rate, which can be calculated as goals divided by number of visits. Each organisation has different goals, which could translate into number of sales, value of sales, number of subscribers.

Goals unrelated to conversion might be time on page divided by time on site, return visitors, recency of visit, or page values. What’s important is that the metric is agreed upon, and that you measure results over time. A single-day snapshot is meaningless. The iterative cycle of measuring, improving, measuring again, and improving again that will ultimately get results.

Many thanks to Adrian Kingwell for his contribution to the Content, Seriously meetup.

Twitter @adrian_kingwell
Mezzo Labs

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