Evaluating the value of the content on your website is no longer as simple as tracking views. You need to enable the social experience your customer is expecting and measure its impact in your business objectives. Here's how. 

Why do you create content? Very likely the reason can be boiled down to this: you need content to help drive your business objectives and the more effective a piece of content is in driving those objectives the more valuable it is for you. Systematically identifying and studying the characteristics and attributes that make one content item more valuable than other is primordial.

What does that mean in the era of the Social Web, the Social Customer and Social CRM? The components of the equation that help evaluate, assess and optimize your content are changing.

The objective of this article is to help you understand what those changes are and how to ensure you are positioned to capture and leverage the right information.

Social CRM in the Context of this Article 

We are not trying to define Social CRM in this article, but we do need a framework to work with:

  • Borrowing from Search CRM’s definition for CRM, here is a snippet addressing what CRM is about:

    Allowing the formation of individualized relationships with customers, with the aim of improving customer satisfaction and maximizing profits; identifying the most profitable customers and providing them the highest level of service.

  • Bringing Social into the mix through a great post by Paul Greenberg; here are a couple snippets from the post:

    “…provide what the customer needs to satisfy that part of the customer’s personal agenda that is associated with their enterprise... That means products, services, tools and experiences that allow the customer that satisfying interaction.

    ... Rather than just Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) - which reflects the direct financial value of a customer to a company over the life of his relationship… think about Customer Referral Value (CRV) which measures how valuable influential customers are when they tell others about your company..
  • Out of the above here what we propose to use as the Social CRM framework for this article:

    Pragmatic application of Social CRM requires the creation of interactive experiences that enable the customer to achieve their personal objectives, and allow the company to advance their business objectives.

    The estimation of value for the enterprise now needs to take into account much more than direct purchases or on-site influence; it needs to consider at least the following three concepts:

    • A valuable customer is not only the one that buys; but also the one that drives others to buy.
    • A valuable source is not only the one that brings me quality leads; but also the one where my content is shared in a relevant context and as a result aids with the downstream propagation of my message and increased awareness of my offering, and through that the expansion or acquisition of quality leads.
    • Valuable content is not only the one that drives interest and engagement at my site, but also that one that addresses customer’s needs and incites them to share with others. It also gets those others to become interested to come and check your product / offering (through a visit to your site).

Content Value Equation in a Social World

One of the most overused and yet justified concepts in the Social arena is the one that states that your Brand is what your customers make it to be; the center of power is not in the hands of the Brand Manager any more. This concept applies as well in the content world: Your valuable content is that which your customers deemed as valuable, customers express their opinion on the value of your content as they:

  • Interact with it and with others around it in your site (i.e. discussions, comments & reviews on the site)
  • Share it and propagate it through the Social Web:
    • Share through Email, Social Networks or Social Tools (Facebook, Twitter, Del.Icio.US, StumbleUpOn, etc.)
    • Curate It (Adding Tags, Adding Public Comments to it)
    • Discuss it or extend Social Gestures to it (Like in Facebook, Retweet, Comment in Facebook, Comment in Dig, etc.)

Enabling the Experience and Capturing the Data

It follows then that in order to identify valuable content you need to enable your customers to “vote with their actions” and track the right metrics in the process. This means you need to:

  • Create experiences that enable users to interact with your content at your site.
  • Enable users to share your content with others through whatever channels they choose (Social and others).
  • Establish the proper instrumentation and tracking that allows you to capture data such as:
    • What content is shared?
    • Where it is originally shared to?
    • Where does it end up after being shared & re-shared?
    • How many users come back to your site due to that content being shared?
    • What are the behaviors / actions taken by the users that come to your site due to that content? And how do those differ from other users?
    • Who are the users making all of this happen and what is their common profile?
  • Deploy or otherwise create the capabilities to derive Actionable Insights from the data outlined in the prior bullet point:
    • Is Online Sharing making an impact in my business results?
    • Where is that impact coming from?
    • What content is driving those business results? What are the common characteristics and how can I optimize the creation of more of the content that is giving me results?
    • What other levers are available to me for the optimization of my efforts?

Conclusions & Recommendations:

  • The Social Web has changed the equation that helps you calculate content value; you need to adapt to this change and update / modify your business processes to ensure you are optimizing your investments and efforts around these new parameters.
  • In order to capture and evaluate the value of your content in the Social Web era you need to enable the interactive and Online Sharing experiences that will prompt your users to “vote” with their actions and participation.
  • You need to Integrate Tools and Capabilities to enable Online Sharing and Tracking and Insight delivery that helps to identify the valuable Content, Sources and Influencers.

Additional Articles on Social CRM include: