ENTERPRISE SOCIAL TECHNOLOGY SERIES
As social media sites continue their meteoric rise as the fastest growing online, the push for companies to adopt social technology increases as well. TDK’s Enterprise Social Technology Series outlines a path for incorporating social technology into enterprise business models. The series will consist of the following articles:
- Researching Social Technology
- Setting Goals and Objectives
- Strategic and Tactical Planning
- Key Performance Indicators
- Listening and Participation
- Content Creation and Buzz Generation
Key Performance Indicators
Tracking social technology metrics is a critical component of a successful social media marketing (SMM) campaign. Metrics should be tracked and organized into monthly reports in order to gauge progress and craft strategy. But getting satisfactory feedback from social activities is challenging to many businesses. In a survey conducted by Social Media Examiner just 41 percent of marketers agreed with this statement: "I am able to measure the return on investment (ROI) for my social media activities."
Source: Social Media Examiner, 2016
Social technology usage and SMM campaigns without feedback and control mechanisms are like a ship without a rudder. Businesses which make the most of social technology not only track key metrics but adjust their campaign based on these results. These metrics fall into two categories: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative metrics are numerically measurable data points or “quantities”. Qualitative metrics are subjective judgments or “qualities”. Quantitative data for social technology metrics is both objective and abundant, meaning there will be a lot of unbiased data available for you to track. However, without consideration for the qualitative metrics like “sentiment” even the most carefully tracked and adjusted social technology plans can easily go astray. So while qualitative analysis may be a less frequent part of the implementation it is certainly not one to be overlooked.
Metrics can provide a wealth of information about social technology usage, but without organizing them into key performance indicators (KPIs) it is difficult to make good use of the data. Three of the more common KPIs are media reach, target audience engagement and business results. Below are explanations for each of these KPIs and some of the metrics most commonly associated with them.
Media reach is about how many people you are communicating with using social technology. It is also about the method of this communication. As one might easily guess the former is a quantitative indicator and the latter is qualitative. Expanding your reach is only useful if it is done using the right communication approach.
Quantitative Media Reach Metrics
- Company social tech actions
- Tweets by your company
- Twitter accounts your company follows
- Company Facebook actions (posts, photos, etc.)
- Company created content (articles, blog posts)
- Direct links from social tech sites
- Visits / Visitors from social tech sites
Qualitative Media Reach Metrics
- Are you reaching your current audience in new ways?
- Are you reaching relevant audiences you’ve never reached before?
Target Audience Engagement
Target audience engagement is about determining the level of engagement with your audience (quantitative) and the type/quality of that engagement (qualitative). Just as with media reach, increasing engagement only adds value if the engagement has the right qualities.
Quantitative Target Audience Engagement Metrics
- Volume of social interaction
- Tweets about your company, Retweets
- Facebook reactions
- Social bookmarks
- Viral shares/votes
- Secondary links
- Pages per visit / time on site
- Search engine dominance through 3rd party search listings
- Newsletter subscriptions
Qualitative Target Audience Engagement Metrics
- Sentiment of interaction
- Meaningful engagement
- Brand affinity
Business results are about tying social technology investment to the bottom line. This is, to say the least, a very difficult task for most businesses. Many of the benefits social technology usage drives to the bottom line are second and third order effects. For example, how can you track the fact that a prospect became aware of your brand through social technology and then several months later when a need for your services arose became a client? That being said, just about any company can agree that building brand presence with a positive affinity amongst your target audience is going to have a beneficial effect on the bottom line. The same can be said about gaining insight into the behaviors and preferences of your target audience and competition. In this sense we can tie social technology usage to improving aspects of our business model which we know improve bottom line results, even if it is not always as simple as tracking e-commerce product conversion rates from social media visitors. The difficulty of this task is a major reason why enterprise is often slow to adopt social technology, however those early adopters who solve this problem will gain a competitive advantage over those who remain on the sidelines.
Quantitative Business Results Metrics
- Customer recommendations
- Customer retention rate
- Resume submissions
- Contact form submissions
Qualitative Business Results Metrics
- Competitive intelligence
- Ideas generated
- Customer satisfaction
Once key performance indicators (KPIs) have been defined to gauge the success of our online marketing strategies and tactics in achieving our goals and objectives, it is time to start implementing the social technology plan. A phased approach is typically recommended, especially for those who are relatively new to social technology. The following four articles of this series will delve deeper into the types of tactics which can be used in that phased approach. The first two implementation phases of almost all social technology campaigns should be the “Listening and Participation” phases. We start by listening and learning about the communities we wish to engage with, in order to ensure that our participation in those communities has the desired effect.