Social Media Analytics Demystified: Creating Building Blocks For Measuring

In my last post, I spoke about the Social Media Analysis report produced by Altimeter Group’s Jeremiah Owyang and Web Analytics Demystfied’s John Lovett, wherein companies wishing to engage in social media analytics needed to make sure that their business objectives were tied in properly with what they wanted to analyze before they went off and picked out a social media measurement tool like Radian6, ScoutLabs, Biz360, etc.

Now the next steps as part of Owyang & Lovett’s report focuses on helping to build an effective framework that would be used to help assess which social media tool is best for your brand and company. It should be pointed out that the information presented in Social Media Analytics: A New Framework for Measuring Results in Social Media is probably more suited for those brands with the marketing budgets and the resources necessary to support an initiative. As investor and advisor to startups, Francine Hardaway, pointed out in her rebuttal post, the information presented in this post is mostly suited for large companies, not small to medium-sized businesses. However, while I am conflicted with her points, I feel that the principles established in this report are universal and can be widely adapted towards businesses of all sizes.

Social Media Analytics - Framework of Measurement

In the above graph, Owyang & Lovett lay out the social marketing analysis’ business objectives, key performance indicators (KPI) and vendors to watch list. It’s interesting that they have been grouped together, but also probably more troublesome that set KPIs have been lumped together to tell you and your company what metrics to look for in order to determine whether your business objective has been met. The Social Media Analytics report continues on by breaking down the various KPIs per business objective and offers a formula for nearly all of them to help us ascertain whether we’re really getting the right number for our ROI.

Here’s a breakdown of what the report means as it relates to business objectives:

  • Foster Dialog: in this instance, they are talking about starting a conversation and offering your audience and customers something engaging that will allow the communication to take a life of its very own. By fostering the discussion, it will traverse throughout the Internet and will be widely talked about across multiple networks. Your conversation doesn’t have to simply stay on Twitter, but could grow to extend onto Facebook, Yelp, or even onto blogs. With network sharing, people can find their comments that they leave on a company’s blog pushed to Facebook, Twitter or even to another network where millions of users could potentially see it and comment or click to visit the original comment & article. Nothing that happens solely on email stays on that same medium anymore. By having dialog, companies can find out what people are saying about their competitors and industry – is their company being mentioned more times in a conversation? Is it good or bad? What types of people are saying these things?
  • Promote Advocacy: this business objective here is to enlist the support of individuals to become ambassadors of your brand without actually being officially tied in with the company. So how is this done?  This advocacy can be accomplished through Word of Mouth by promoting current and new conversations centered around the brand, creating new relationships with those with “an affinity” towards your company or just nurturing those who are already fans and don’t need that much persuading to be evangelists for your company.
  • Facilitate Support: Owyang & Lovett believe that support success metrics are focused largely on your company’s ability to “listen & learn” while responding to ongoing chatter about your brand or product. This is probably the most common usage of social media analytics that I think should be tied in as a business objective. No matter what you should be doing, you need to be aware of how you’re doing and what the public perception is about your service. Look at how Comcast has turned around their customer service – sure their actual product may lack in quality, but if you need any customer support, they’re pretty friendly with that. Most companies also utilize social media analytics to also monitor what’s being said about them in the ecosystem so that they could potentially avert any disasters.
  • Spur Innovation: this particular business objective is focused on your company’s ability to recognize and act on ideas generated by the crowd. Not really crowdsourcing, but should you look at the results generated from social media analytics, you can see what features people want to see in your product. If you’re a TV manufacturer, do your customers feel that having proprietary software or devices associated with that TV is a good thing? Maybe they want apps to be included like with the new Vizio televisions? Or how about a universal remote compatibility feature? Use social media analysis to make sure you’re not complacent and check the crowd to see what feedback they have…then act.

So in looking at the above objectives, I think that businesses would be smart to take these into account when looking at social media analysis tools. However, Hardaway does make a good point in her post regarding Owyang’ & Lovett’s post:

The problem I have is that most of the small businesses I deal with don’t know how much it costs to get a customer, and only measure their marketing with a single business objective: does this help me get customers? Most of them don’t even get to the next layer of analysis: does this customer help me make money?

For small businesses looking at Owyang & Lovett’s report, I would say that the KPIs presented for each of the above objectives might be a bit daunting and irrelevant, but I would say that when they decide to pursue a social media campaign/strategy, that the above objectives will help them get a customer. Whether it’s responding to people’s questions online in chat rooms, forums, Facebook, etc as a ad hoc community manager or building loyalty with faithful customers and finding out that they’re promoting you extensively online, these objectives are relevant to all businesses.

Regardless of your metrics, and it’s been suggested/recommended by Owyang & Lovett that this framework is by no means perfect and absolute – in fact, one could say that it’s just a rough template for businesses of all sizes to make it their own, the principles behind setting up a measurement framework along with making sure that they tie back in with clear business objectives, is very important. The only question that remains i s that how can you define the KPIs so that they will achieve those objectives? What will they be for small businesses and how do they different from large, enterprise companies?

You can read more about the Social Media Analysis report on Jeremiah Owyang’s blog or view the entire report on Slideshare here.