As a prerequisite for social media marketing, you need to have a clear understanding of your overall vision, what your goals will be, and how you will track and measure the success of your social media initiatives. In other words, you must create a social media analytics plan.
Read our previous article Social Media Analytics Overview and Value Metrics
The first step in a social media analytics initiative is to determine which business goals the data that is gathered and analyzed will benefit. Typical objectives include increasing revenues, reducing customer service costs, getting feedback on products and services and improving public opinion of a particular product or business division. This can be achieved by monitoring how the users are looking at your brand/products and how they are looking at your competitors. When we are talking about ROI, there is no single ROI we can point out. The business impacts of social media various at different levels in the organization. For example, the C-level executives care about metrics such as brand reputation, revenue, customer satisfaction etc. At the same time, the business unit heads and line managers are interested in more granular metrics specific to their goals.
A successful social media strategy requires alignment with the strategic business goals of the organization, organizational alignment and required support/commitment to enable the execution. We have to define what we are trying to achieve and how we are going to approach it. Defining the success criteria will help to drive the initiatives and evaluates the effectiveness. Strong organizational commitment and support is needed to implement the strategies.
Always advisable to begin with few key metrics that you believe are practical to deliver and actionable. They should give the most impact on your business. Formalize those metrics with process and dashboard and then expand further by adding other metrics in an incremental approach. Here are a couple of guidelines you should follow when defining KPIs:
- Select key performance indicator(KPI) metrics that translate into business context like sales, revenue, business leads, lead conversion, customer interaction, conversions, etc.
- Create specific social media analytics metrics for each social network site and specific elements of your website
- Define actionable social media analytics
The most important guideline above is to define actionable metrics and here are few examples
- Reduction in support costs
- Number of people in a specific location who follow your company on Twitter
- Reduction in sales cycles
- Increase in product reviews
Resources & Tools
You have to asses your readiness to measure social media in terms of present state of the organization, probable barriers and strategies to overcome it, resources, required analytical and tools expertise and communication strategies. A successful social media analytics implementation and operation depends on the integration and effective utilization of all means in the organization.
The organization identified financial performance improvement as a key objective. Identified call center operation cost reduction as one of the ways to improve the financial performance. In order to provide the same quality of service to customer, organization decided to respond proactively to users through social media like twitter and facebook. Here the call center cost performance becomes the business KPI and number issues solved via social media become the social media metrics.
Since social media analytics is in the early stage of adoption, there aren't any well-established frame works are published anywhere. However organizations have to follow the discussed minimum critical steps to build a business focused social media strategy.