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Quantifying the impact of social media initiatives — Live from the Measurement Pre-Conference

Coverage of this session by Bridgette Cude of SocialMedia.org. Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

10:15 — SocialMedia.org’s Kurt Vanderah introduces Web Analytics Demystified’s Senior Partner, John Lovett.

10:16 — John: Basically I’m going to boil this down to 3 essential ingredients. Like it, Love it, and Buy it.

10:17 — John: “Everyone always wants to know where the money is.” He asks who went straight from social media pages to buy. References an All Things D: “Social media’s cold hard reality is that it doesn’t drive sales. I’m not saying the impact of social media isn’t important, I’m just saying it doesn’t drive people to websites or drive sales.” In 2012, social media drove holiday sales .3%. In 2012 there were $42 billion sales online.

10:18 — Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day sales are up. This is a rosy picture for ecommerce. Almost 40% came from a mobile device. But social is still pretty small.

10:19 — John: In 2012: $3.5 million Black Friday sales came from social media.

10:20 — John: But we can still quantify the impact of social media.

10:21 — If you want to look at the numbers, track it with a spreadsheet — how much did it cost? What’s the engagement we got? What’s the CPI? In the end, social media is not the cash cow.

10:22 — John says if it’s not about the money, it’s about the “like.” We can talk about it in the context of audience, reach, and impressions.

10:23 — Social media is great for building awareness, but you need to do a lot to get peoples’ attention. The first step: listening. Understand your brand terms, your competitor’s terms, and who’s talking about you. There are lots of tools to help you do this. But that’s not enough.

10:24 — Most tools help you with counting metrics — but you need to know what they mean. You have to include where your audience comes from and understand which bigger audiences your followers reach.

10:25 — Not every tweet you put out there is read by your followers. It’s not definitive. But you have to get down to the details. What are the targets?

10:26 — John shares an infographic that tells a story: This is what we did, this is who we reached, this is what happened.

10:27 — Where is the love? The love, for me, is about Engagement. When we talk about quantifying engagement, the answer “it depends” is a cop out.

10:28 — Social engagement is the sum of interactions across social platforms. When you start to dig in, you realize what has the highest impact for your organization. We have to get down to the details because each platform is different. When you do this, you collaborate.

10:29 — What is the campaign? What are the details? What are the targets? What are the goals? How are we going to measure it? Who is responsible? We figure this stuff out, then we have results. No executive wants this whole thread — they just want to know the results.

10:30 — You need to be able to tell a story with these metrics. This all comes down to tracking. You have to assign your tracking to a campaign — these are the building blocks of analytics — otherwise you won’t get credit for what you worked on.

10:31 — You need a way to put this into context. It’s a framework that starts in the center with corporate goals. If you want to build brand awareness and create engagement with your audience? We can dig into that with the Social Analytics Framework.

10:32 — This is a framework of conversation. It preps you for an executive meeting to hit the right talking points of each metric.

10:33 — We want to see our Social Media Performance Metrics. The ability to explain and showcase them in a digestable way to your executives is important. And yes, it includes online orders. Showing ROI is still important.

10:34 — Hot off the presses, a whitepaper: Measure the Impact of Your Social Marketing

10:35 — John says, “And I apologize, yes you to have to register, but hey, I’m tracking you.”

Q & A:

Q: How to you apply this to BtoB?

A: With a longer sales cycle you have to apply attribution — look at the first touchpoint you had with the customer. Figure out which one was the last one before you contacted you. Figure out which ones are triggers. Gives you a longer time period to do this.

Q: When you’re going global, how do you handle the complexity with this framework?

A: Well you have to work harder. You essentially you need to see how this affects your local market. When I talk about awareness, engagement or brand health, you need to be able to compare it in different parts of the world. The commonality between them is what helps you expand to a global sale.

Q: What is your opinion about what is shifting to paid? How do you reconcile the paid vs. organic reach?

A: John: Make this a part of your communication thread to watch when it spikes and compare it to your organic awareness. For example, Facebook insights shows you paid and organic reach. Often, this data comes form the platform.

Q: Is the ultimate goal to have engagement with your social platform or with your site?

A: John: I’m biting my tongue because I almost said “it depends.” Sometimes you don’t want them to go to your website, maybe you’re looking at social from an in between purchases standpoint, or an entertainment standpoint. If you’re just building awareness, then yo don’t need to send them anywhere else.

Q: How are you measuring trust? With humans or taxonomy?

A: John: We’re looking at the data, we decide which keywords we’re looking for, positive mentions, and a lack of negative mentions. We use a tool but it’s precoded to sentiment. We use a combination of things.

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