The Next Wave of Social Media Measurement: Letting Data Speak
New York, NY, October 15, 2017
Written: Tania Yuki, Founder & CEO, Shareablee
Source: Linkedin Article
If you listen carefully and let go of what you think you already know about social media best practices, its data can tell you incredible tales about your content, your customers… and everyone who might be a great customer, if you only knew them. Ranging from what time your customers are most likely to buy, through to the specific words and phrases that repel them or incite them to take an action such as sharing, clicking, or purchasing – social data represents one of the single biggest opportunities for brands to improve not just their social communications, but all of their communications.
A Brief History on Social Media Measurement
In the beginning, the focus for social media measurement was all about listening – the belief that, wedged inside the words and phrases carefully (or carelessly) posted on social media by regular people, brands could glean powerful insights about what people liked, or didn’t like, about their products and their brands. It was to be like a word-of-mouth panel of epic proportions, a consumer focus group on 24/7, real time steroids. The struggle in this dataset has always been the small representative portion of people who tweet or post about brands in general, the difficulty of filtering out false positives (and missed positives), coupled with the lack of visibility into behemoths such as Facebook (which own some 90+% of all consumer posts, particularly if you add in Instagram).
Next, came big, top-line numbers: fans, followers. Cracking a million fans (or, 100 Million in the case of Manchester United and Real Madrid), was the currency of social media success because it belied strong consumer interest. But fans and followers bear little correlation with actual activity or brand loyalty, and as such could not provide any true insight into competitive performance as it lacked recency and context– they merely represent the historical total of all consumer interest to date (largely driven by paid ads and/or incentives to ‘like’). All things being equal, you want more fans. But more fans should not be the symbol of more success, or a higher degree of quality consumer engagement that will lead to fully connected consumers and purchase.
Success metrics then shifted towards ‘engaged audiences’, (the number of people who actually interacted with a brand) and ‘engagement’ (the total actions such as shares, retweets, comments, etc that were received by the brand on social channels), which has enabled social media to be analyzed alongside websites, online video and traditional channels such as television. Views are not counted in a vacuum, but also expressed as a relative number compared to how much consumer engagement results from those views.
What’s Next: Social Data as Strategic Partner
Today, the opportunity lies in actionable analytics that don’t just reveal the score, but informs the actual playbook of how the score is achieved, and how it can be improved.
We are awash with data. On platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more, the average brand last year shared over 1500 pieces of content. These efforts resulted in 1M interactions with customers and prospects – and a little over 35M data points per brand, each one revealing insights about the real-time preferences and values of customers. That’s before even considering the same quantity of data for each competitor, all of which is available to be leveraged. The question now is – if we stopped with our demands and let the data speak, what would it tell us?
1. Stop Doing This, Do More of That
Almost every brand on social channels routinely posts a lot of something that doesn’t work, and very little of another thing that their audiences can’t get enough of. There just isn’t time to consistently reflect on performance – and too many variables to hold at one time for evaluation (post type, length, time of posting, words included, presence or absence of offers, questions, promotions, calls to action, and more). For example, Red Bull loses 50% of its social engagement every time they include a question – so why should they continue doing this in the same way? They probably do not realize this is happening, amid all the other activity. Equally, 60% of all the interaction of Red Bull’s audience on Facebook happen mid morning, making this an optimal time to engage – although just 20% of their content is posted at this time. These are real-time insights that can improve brand performance, immediately.
2. How About Trying This Other Thing That’s Working for Company XYZ?
If you are reaching similar audiences, chances are what works for a competitor, will work for you (and vice versa). If the data could speak, it would tell you to understand those best practices, and carefully consider strategies that reap big results for others in your space, or in adjacent spaces. Your audiences are the same whether they are being reached by you or by someone else – so you may as well know what’s working prior to putting your heart into content creation, not merely after as a retrospective.
3. Pay Close Attention to Platform XYZ – Your Customers are There and it’s Growing Like Crazy
While it’s impossible to be everywhere, some new platforms are much more important than others, based on their rate of growth and audience engagement. Right now, the data would tell you to pay close attention to Instagram, and to jump in if it seemed appropriate for your brand.
The social web, if you think about it, is the biggest real-time, multivariate copy test imaginable. Every moment, millions of people with specific affinities vote in real time with their preferences, interests, likes and dislikes. Yet most companies still, for the most part, act as if content creation and social marketing success must be left to intuition. It does not. Social performance data can be analyzed to help businesses communicate more effectively with consumers, and to reduce the waste in current efforts.
Smart data, in this scenario, is data that makes qualitative analysis, quantitative. To synthesize the muscle memory of everything a human being can learn by reflex and intuition about customers and their preferences, and present it back clearly so it can feed the content creation and planning process. All this, about competitors too. This is impossible without automation, but absolutely essentially for marketers to succeed in the ever-expanding universe of platforms, and changing preferences of audiences. In this new environment, the real benefits of letting the data speak can begin to be truly seen, and experienced.
If you wish to learn more about Social Media Measurement and how you can make Social Data your Strategic Partner, join us on Oct 31st @ 12pm ET for “Measuring What Matters” webinar where we will reveal the core building blocks of social media measurement, how to measure your audience quality and advocacy, and how to adopt and keep a data-driven approach to best practices.
Register for exclusive access to this webinar.
Measuring What Matters
Discover True Metrics to Unlock Social Media Measurement & Intelligence
In this webinar, Shareablee’s Founder & CEO, Tania Yuki, will discuss:
- How to Think About Measurement:
- ‘How Many’ Metrics, vs ‘How Good’ Metrics and what each type can be actionable for in your organization
- Which Type of Metrics to Focus on to Optimize the Impact and Effectiveness of Social Media (both Organic and Paid)
- Data-Driven Metrics to Power Content Strategy
- What types of content do your customers care about and how can you use their true behaviors to create and deliver impactful and relevant campaigns?
- Social Data for True Consumer Insights
- What are the audience profiles of your most engaged customers?
- What don’t you know about new, profitable market segments that could transform your business?