All posts in “Social Media Measurement”

The Joy Of Discovery: A Good Starting Point in Planning Social Media Strategy

Ruth Bastedo is Director, Business Development at Social Media Group. Follow @rutbas

I come across a lot of business owners and marketers who are wondering how to tackle social media. I spoke last week to a group of women business owners at the Go for The Greens Business Development Conference at Walt Disney World last week, and next week I’m talking to a group of SME’s at The Financial Executives International Conference, “Leading Economic Growth” next week in Toronto. What I hear, is that while most companies instinctively know that they need to address social media in some way, it is still hard to know where to start.

In the immediate term, social media may or may not have an important impact on your business. It’s when you start looking at long term trends, and at the deep impact that social media is having on our fundamental communications infrastructure, that you start realizing that love it or hate it, you cannot ignore potential depth of social media on the way your clients and customers are going to live in the future, and interact with your business.

This is the place to start. Take the time to figure out how social media could potentially impact your clients and customers, as they connect and interact with your brand, products and services. How can you leverage this social interaction to move your business objectives forward?

We call this process “Discovery”. During our Discovery sessions with clients, we go through a number of exercises to look at this problem from a variety of perspectives- but one of the exercises I love the most, is called an “environmental scan”, where we go look at how the future could impact the client’s business, from a variety of different perspectives (demographic, technological, regulatory etc.). Discovery has become a key part of our planning process.

A 2012 comScore report, “Canada Digital Future in Focus” states “Social is quickly moving from a supporting role to a key pillar in monetizing digital.” It sounds like a platitude, until you start looking at the numbers.

According to the research in the report, Canadians on the whole spend an average 45 hours of time online a month, and lead the world in online engagement. Time spent on social networking has now surpassed the time spent on any other category of activity online. If you look at younger demographics, the 18-24 age range, you can see the strongest surge of time spent on social media quarter over quarter. Viewers under 35 also account for 57% of all videos viewed online. Smart phone penetration has reached 45 percent of the Canadian market.  If you’re not familiar with the report, I urge you to download it, and take a quick browse through.

The pace of change is wild. As a business owner or marketer, where do you start?

At the moment, according to a recent US based survey on “Social Software and Big Data Analytics in Business” by Mzinga, Teradata Aster, and The Center for Complexity in Business on how companies are using social media, 64% of companies are using it for marketing/brand experience, 47% for customer experience/service/support, 39% for employee collaboration and 27% for sales.

Those areas are likely baseline areas to get right first, and to use as a starting point to develop meaningful measures of success, that map to your business, and to your strategic business objectives.

In the same survey, 77% of companies said that they currently DO NOT measure the ROI of their social media programs, and 49% say they are not using social media to its full potential.

We are all only at the very beginning of all this. Engage in the “Joy of Discovery”, to make a sensible and manageable start to tackling long term planning, and determe what measures of success are going to be right for the future of your business. It’s a challenge for all organizations to determine what level of investment in social media is appropriate, but the question is no longer a “should I”, but is moving to a “how should I”.

The Role of the Researcher in the Social Media Strategy Development Process

Wangari Kamande is a Research Analyst at Social Media Group.

As a research analyst, I often find that I hold the foundational pieces to what would help set the stage for solid strategy development. The information that I gather while conducting the background work to understand a client’s business, their needs, resources, target audience and goals is extremely valuable. This rich information makes it extremely necessary that a researcher be fully engaged in laying the foundational pieces of the strategy development process.

How does research set the foundation for a sound social media strategy?

  1. Understanding the client’s business and social media objectives (e.g., business activities, marketing activities, social media and marketing goals, how activities are being measured for success). This broad understanding will help filter into doing a deeper analysis into the following;
  2. Audience analysis – Understanding who is talking about the brand or who a brand is looking to engage with in the social-sphere, where they are participating in social, what is their current opinion of the brand or other brands where feasible and their social media usage patterns.
  3. Content Analysis – Evaluation of content somewhat overlaps with the audience analysis especially in respect to analysing what people are saying and the sentiment of their social conversations. However, in addition to the user generated information there is another piece of the content mix that is significantly valuable and that includes the resources and information that a brand has in its marketing communications, PR and advertising tool set – all the traditional marketing pieces that can be leveraged and optimised for social media use and engagement.
Sign Post

Source: Socialfulcrum.com

The three broad categories above feed into the development of the following:

  1. Content Strategy – Developing and executing a content strategy that resonates with the target audience
  2. Engagement Strategy – Developing and executing an engagement strategy that appeals and drives a response with the target audience
  3. Positioning Strategy – Having a clear understanding the target audience makes it easy for brands position themselves as the go to source in a specific niche / industry
  4. Listening Strategy – Brands can then tune their listening and customer / client service strategy so that they can effectively serve the needs of their customers / clients.
  5. Measurement – Identify metrics or key performance indicators that will help measure success.  If the objective is to gain awareness, then metrics such as increased engagement, social media mentions, Facebook likes and comments, Twitter followers, retweets (just to name a few) will be indicators. However, if selling is the main objective, click rates, social e-commerce, sales and conversion rates are suitable metrics.

How are you using research to build your brand’s social media strategy?

 

The Evolution of Social Media Measurement

As a child growing up, I was often told that aside from reading and writing, the other skill that will come in handy in life was to being able to count. My mother specifically emphasized “count your money”, “count your change”, “make a record of what is in your piggy bank”, and so I emptied my piggy bank every so often to count all the ten Kenyan cents (no longer in circulation as they are of no value) to ensure that none of my siblings had helped themselves to my hard “earned” pennies – more like begged and collected from the floor / ground. All to say, I realized the value of counting early, and we humans like to count where it matters – how much money do / will I make? What will it cost? How many calories are in this meal? How many friends can I count on? What will be my return on investment? and so on. We are counting, consciously and subconsciously, trying to measure the value of our ‘investments’ whatever shape or form they take.

The same is especially true for companies; they are interested in understanding “What is in it for our brand / company?”  What is the value behind every dollar spent? So it’s rather natural that this question is asked of social media campaigns and executions.  So let’s take a look at the social media measurement journey for brands.

1. Counting the Number of Fans and Followers and Comments or Retweets

There were days not so long ago, when marketers would pop champagne after hitting their 1,000 fans or followers milestone, they added the ‘#winning’ to every post and settled in fan bliss world (I exaggerate). Really, the marketing teams in most companies were excited to see customers connecting with them but often wondered, what does this mean? What can be done with this? Where do we go from here?

2. Social Media Measurement Tools to measure overall brand mentions across platforms

Using proprietary tools such as Radian6, Sysomos, Netbase just to name a few, brands have been able to do what we call here at Social Media Group a conversation scan or a social media brand audit. Using the most appropriate social media tools, this requires a deep dive into not only volumes of mentions, but also social media types / platforms used, sentiment analysis, top influencers on social media channels, share of voice (if looking at your brand in comparison to key competitors) or even sub-categorizing data to cover key themes or topics and campaigns over an established period of time. This continues to be very useful, but companies are still wondering – so now what? Using these tools they know what, who and where conversations about their brand are taking place and hopefully leveraging this to find innovative ways to engage with their customers. However, the question is, How is this all impacting companies’ bottom line? In other words “Show me the money from my social media investment”.

3. Then came, “Wait a minute! How do we get our fans/followers on our website?”

So companies started to engage with users by providing links with answers to questions from fans, promoting products and services that would link back to their websites. This was and is still helpful for companies in analysing their web traffic using tools such as Google Analytics to evaluate where their traffic is coming from e.g., Facebook, Wikipedia – again, counting!

4. Integrating Social Media Measurement with CRM

According to a report by Michael A. Stelzner on the Social Media Marketing Industry (2011) one-third of all social media marketers want to know how to monitor and measure the return on investment (ROI) of social media and integrate their social media activities. This is what company executives have been fussing about; they want to understand the implication of social media investments in relation to sales, revenue and cost.  The term for integrating Social Media with CRM is Social CRM. In a nutshell, it involves managing your communications, building relationships with the online community and measuring the results that reflect the bottom line – leads and sales. Social Media Examiner has provided a robust list of metrics that will help marketers get their executive team on board with social media. Further, the social customer has provided 10 steps to integrate CRM and Social Media.

5 Categories of Social Media Measurement

Source: Full Frontal ROI

Every part of the social media measurement evolution journey has brought value to evaluating the impact of Social on Leads and Sales. Moreover, every measurement remains important but should not be represented on its own; they all fit together like a jig-saw puzzle and provide input necessary to expand and grow engagement and lead generation opportunities.

 

Social Media and Politics – 49Pixels Recap

The following post was submitted by Patrick Gladney, Director of Research and Insights at SMG.

I enjoyed being a guest on the 49pixels podcast on on Wednesday night.   Together with National Post columnist and twitter king Jonathan Goldsbie, we rehashed the details of 2010′s Toronto Municipal Election, the composition of twitter and pondered the future of technology and politics.

If you are intersted in hearing the podcast, simply click here.

I believe there is still so much opportunity for politicians and political organizations to use social media effectively.  There are some new models being showcased today in the US, where the GOP is using social media in new and intersting ways, such as Newt Gingrich’s adaptation of phone banking which incents loyalists to contact others via skype to ask for their support.


This ain’t social media, but it speaks volumes

One of the questions that came up was the Obama adminstrations use of Instragram.  Goldsbie asked why instragram?  As my colleague Brandon Smith said the next morning, there are 12 million reasons why, and they are all on Instagram.  Also, it just so happened that Obama (the administration, not the man)  tweeted during the State of the Union Address, suggesting that those attending SOTU watching parties take photographs of the gatherings and post them online.  Kind of a cool way to build community, I’d say.

 

 

Social Media as News, SMG in the news

The new media paradigm:

The fastest way to get a news story out is on twitter.

Every journalist is using social to communicate and look for a scoop.

Social media is a big story behind elections, social movements and the occasional publicity crisis.

It’s symbolic of the fact that each and everyday we’re witnessing the convergence between social media and mainstream news sources.

Further proof of this convergence is the fact that every two weeks, you’ll find Social Media Group in the newspaper of all places (digital editions too!)  Bi-weekly, we’ll be contributing social media data and analysis to the folks at Postmedia relating to current events, both lighter fare and important issues.  We aim to be the Angus Reid of social media research!

To see what we’re up to, just click on our contribution to the viral global spread of the Occupy movement on Twitter, or last week’s gem,  Beaver versus Polar Bear as the Canadian national animal (infographic below).

Like the work we do for our clients, our goal is to inform, provide insight and occaisionally offer some entertainment!  Enjoy!

 

Announcement: Social Media Group Teams Up With FPinfomart

Today, we’d like announce an exciting new partnership between Social Media Group and Canada’s leading media monitoring service, FPinfomart.

FPinfomart, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., is a one stop resource for traditional media monitoring, covering print, newswires and broadcast in a single integrated platform. Our partnership brings together industry leading mainstream media coverage with SMG’s social media Research and Insights Practice whose principal job is to help clients understand and act upon conversations in social media.

Why are we so excited about this new venture?

  • It recognizes the convergence of channels.  Social and traditional media are now inextricably linked and analyzing them separately no longer makes sense. Social media pundits often reference the decline of traditional channels, but a more honest appraisal of the landscape would still recognize to the mass power of print and broadcast and the conversation it triggers online.
  • Insights from social data now have greater context. Looking at social media data alone is the equivalent to a horse wearing blinders. Brands need to see the bigger picture. At SMG, we’ve witnessed social media groundswell lead to coverage in mainstream media, and vice versa. With integrated measurement, clients can see the entire landscape, not just a sliver.
  • We will deliver extra value to our clients. SMG is all about helping clients succeed on the social web.  Increasingly, the social web is populated by the media and responses to mainstream media activity.  Being able to tell a story and take action based on a holistic view of influence and issues is a powerful, unique and creative offering.

Together, Social Media Group and FPInfomart will now provide a complete, holistic view of the communications landscape that is unmatched in the marketplace, enabling our clients to understand and act upon what’s being said in any channel.

To find out more about this unique offering, please email me at patrick [dot] gladney [at] social media group [dot] com, call +1 416-703-3764 or Contact Us.



Social Media Support for Mayor Ford – Not So Much!

We recently completed some analysis for the Toronto Star about social media perceptions of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.   Here is a quick summary of our findings:

There’s no questioning Mayor Rob Ford’s popularity among Torontonians.  He received 53% of the popular vote in last November’s municipal election, and approval polls conducted early in the summer showed that at least 57% of Torontonians think that he’s doing a good job.  But if that base of support is still holding, their voices are being drowned in social media, where Ford detractors consistently share the outrage and scorn for Toronto’s top civic leader.

In the last 9 months,  the Mayor was mentioned roughly 43,000 times over a variety of social media channels, with  Twitter being the primary channel, home to 70% of all mentions.  Fewer than 7% of the posts were positive. The largest spikes of online mentions  were brought on by this summer’s biggest controversies, like Ford’s decision to skip the Pride Parade, his suggestion that citizens call 911 if they witness graffiti artists defacing property just to name a few.  Negative mentions about the civic head hit record highs in July spurred by Doug Ford’s dust up with Margaret Atwood about the potential closing of public libraries and other cost-cutting measures being discussed at the time.

Looking at approval polls or election results, it’s clear that Rob Ford has the support of Toronto voters. However, these supportive voices seem to be overshadowed in social media where Ford detractors continually dominate the conversation landscape.   Politics are fueled by passion, which makes social media the perfect outlet for people to express their unvarnished opinion.  Time will tell if the increase in negative online sentiment is reflected in future approval polls.

Webinar: Leveraging Paid Social Media to Demonstrate ROI

I’m really excited to be able to share something really cutting edge with those of you who were unable to make my BlogWorld Expo session last week. I’m going to be delivering a webinar that shares our learnings in working with emerging social platforms to scale social media and demonstrate very serous ROI (especially around earned social). Please join me on Friday October 29th at 1pm EDT (it will also be available on demand) for a webinar being offered by Bulldog Reporter’s PR University. Here’s the official blurb:

Social media placements are great, but are they really helping you reach your PR and marketing objectives? Are they driving clicks to your web site, boosting awareness of your key messages and ultimately driving sales? If not, you may want to learn more about a fast-rising trend: paying for social media placements.

What are the do’s and don’ts of correctly—and cost-effectively—combining paid social media into your PR mix? Join PR University for an exclusive webinar with Maggie Fox to get all the answers you need to implement a wildly successful paid social media program

You can sign up here, and I hope you can join me!