Although social media’s value as a branding and customer engagement tool is well-recognized, measuring how branding and engagement actually occur remains a tricky proposition. Social data contains substantial insights for marketers, but unless they can locate and analyze them in close to real time, the true value of those insights will go unrecovered.
Ten Simple Steps for Analyzing Data
In a new report entitled “Ten Steps To Successful Social Intelligence Measurement,” Forrester Research lays out how customer intelligence (CI) professionals can take a measured, coordinated approach to analyzing social data in an in-depth, timely manner that allows its hidden value to come forward.
Forrester explains the details of this coordinated approach and then divides the 10 steps into three broader categories of leveraging CI experience for a strategic foundation, gaining familiarity with the nuances of social data and automating the process through integration.
According to Forrester, CI professionals need to provide senior executives with actual social metrics, such as increased sales or heightened brand awareness, rather than mundane statistics, such as how many likes, fans and followers a social campaign has generated. CI professionals also must move beyond “social listening” that tracks the number of mentions and consumer sentiment in social media. Thus, they must take a coordinated approach that ties social media to internal KPIs, using the following steps.
Leveraging CI Experience for a Strategic Foundation
CI teams are required to discover and mine social data, requiting a solid strategic foundation. Forrester recommends using these three steps to build the framework for social intelligence measurement:
- Use social data to support existing business goals. Any social metrics collected must connect to unique business results. Otherwise the metrics will not contribute to ROI calculation and provide no measurable value.
- Separate reactive social modeling from proactive social intelligence. Monitoring consumer activity on social media and responding after the fact is important, but should be left to the PR department. CI professionals should focus on identifying business insights as they occur.
- Apply social data to existing measurement processes. Social data analysis does not require the creation of new processes. CI professionals should instead build social data analysis into existing analytical methods and tools, with the addition of new dedicated team members focused on social data.
Gain Familiarity with the Nuances of Social Data
Social media’s size, speed and complexity create unique nuances that CI professionals must master before they can effectively perform analysis.
- Begin data collection with standardized metrics from standard social sources. Although the basic metrics of the most popular social networks — such as Facebook likes and Twitter followers — do not provide much insight in and of themselves, CI professionals can use them as a learning tool to help with later analysis of more complex social metrics.
- Track data from organically created social media. “Online buzz,” the quantitative sum of social mentions of a brand, also helps build a base of social data and develops social analysis expertise.
- Set your own benchmarks and measure percentage change over time. As there is no standard set of meaningful social media benchmarks, CI professionals need to create their own set that specifically reflects their company’s goals and desired results. These benchmarks should be included in regular data reporting and change over time should be measured.
- Add color to measurement with social data’s qualitative aspects. Qualitative social data, such as specific comments, helps drive interest and illustrates the deeper meaning of quantitative data.
Automate the Process through Integration
After building a solid foundation with the first seven manual steps, Forrester advises CI professionals to take three more steps to increase the speed and scope of social intelligence measurement with automation and integration.
- Combine social data with business data in scorecards and custom KPIs. Measurement scorecards should be consolidated to include social data with other marketing measurement and brand awareness data. This helps illustrate the connection between social data and other business data and also uncovers larger markets patterns.
- Get help from integrated technology systems. Successful social intelligence requires real-time data capture, analysis and action, requiring all social media tools to be integrated with other marketing and BI solutions.
- Refine the process through iterative testing. CI professionals should include a standard evaluation step in their social intelligence measurement process and constantly be on the lookout for new sources of social data and check the relevance of data being collected.