Social Media Measurement

Tim Trefren recently wrote one of the best blogs I’ve ever read in regards to social media tracking (although that’s not necessarily saying much, because people seem to write vaguely about the issue).

I wanted to commend him on his “3 new ways to measure the social web” even though none of them are new. We’ve been using them to track social media and online interaction for several years now. I might sound a little cynical (I am) and I might be using a lot of parenthesis (it’s just my style), but I sincerely thank him for getting the word out about conversion tracking, engagement tracking, and repeat visitor tracking. For some of us in the industry, this stuff isn’t new at all, but many businesses refuse to acknowledge the extreme trackability of social media, and how to use that data to make informed marketing decisions.

I’m not going to take the time to outline our tracking system here because I already wrote a blog post about it several months ago. Some of our metrics change depending on the client, but our philosophy hasn’t changed: social media is as trackable as you want it to be.

What does that mean for us as marketers? I’ll lay it out, plain and simple for you:

– More data = more information = better market research.

– More data = more accurate ROI = better informed marketing decisions

– More data = more targetability = more effective advertising

And these points say nothing about the other obvious benefits of increased communication, positioning, search engine optimization, promotions, etc. Hopefully social media tracking doesn’t seem as daunting as it once was.

If you have any questions, give us a call (410-280-5451) or send us an email. We love to teach companies how to measure their social media efforts!

Oh, 2009, You Were Good To Us…

Well, 2009, we bid you adieu. This past year has been many things for us as an agency. We’ve survived a recession, gained some new clients, and celebrated our 20th anniversary as a force in the industry. We’ve also continued to think outside of the box, living and breathing creativity.

Now that this hectic year is over, we’re taking a moment of reflection, thinking about the things we learned (or re-learned) in 2009 and applying them to our future in 2010, which we welcome with open arms. So now that 2010 is officially here, we wanted to countdown 5 of the most essential lessons that our clients learned this year. (OK, so maybe we learned a couple things too)

5. Interaction and Participation: Actually Do It.

Both interaction and participation are important for social media to really work. It doesn’t help just to sign up for a Facebook account. Yeah, that may mean that you are technically using on social media, but it doesn’t mean you are using it the right way. To gain all the benefits of social media, you’ve got to be ready to participate, plug in, and converse with others. That is just the way it is. You’ve got to give to get.

Comcast is a great example. They have taken the time to embrace social media, allowing it to help their company connect with its consumers

4. Tools & Strategy that Work.

Lately, we have noticed a lot of social media obsession. Basically, we have experienced a lot of this: “I want a Facebook!” or “Can you create a Twitter page for me?” We call it Facebook-itis and Twitter-itis, and it is a serious, serious affliction.

You know that saying “there is a time and place for everything”? Well, this rings true here. Yes, Twitter and Facebook are powerful tools and can work, but they aren’t always the right option for our clients. We have developed our ability to assess clients individually, giving them the social media tools that match their specific strengths and that they need to achieve their goals. Sometimes this will include Facebook and Twitter, sometimes it won’t. Either way, we have learned to remain focused on tailoring social media strategy that is specific to each of our clients.

3. Campaign Integration

In 2009, we learned a lot about integration. Social media tools are great, but rarely stand on their own. We knew this was important, but after taking a look at some pretty integrated campaigns (like this one), we came to appreciate integration in that it must go across all platforms, whether that be between social media tools or fully integrated strategies, from creative to marketing to social media. In 2010, we are sure to see more campaign integration, which makes us happy.

2. Relationships = End All, Be All

Social media is about listening to people. Conversation monitoring and participation is at the center of this emerging industry, and we have really learned to listen this year. We now have a tool that allows us to gather discussions from all social media based on the keywords and parameters that we set. That means our clients can gather and sort through larger amounts of relevant conversations, and use them to expand their footprint and find their target audiences.

Take the Comcast example (again). You have a problem with them? Router not working? Tweeting about it will help get your problem solved. They may even tweet step-by-step directions at you. We call that strategic tweeting; fielding and solving consumer complaints has gotten the Comcast brand name pretty far in the minds of consumers on Twitter.

1. Social Media is Legit: It’s the Real Deal, Folks!

We wouldn’t say it’s something we learned, because we knew it all along. But we are thrilled that some of the largest companies are embracing and verifying it; social media is more than a trend and a hot topic. It has officially arrived as a moveable force in the advertising industry. New technologies, like Google Wave, have been created to take advantage of social media. Big time companies like Starbucks or Wachovia are embracing it as part of their marketing strategy. Even the government has acknowledged its influence. Take Obama’s Twitter page or his recent public address on YouTube as an example of this. The FTC also took a part by creating laws and consequences for misuse, which talked about here.

So overall, we feel great. We love what we do and are excited for a very social 2010. Happy New Year!

What to Expect From Your Social Media Campaign

When it comes to social media, success doesn’t always mean huge impression numbers. The key to effectively executing a social media campaign is to clearly define your goals, and also define the appropriate metrics to drive success.

If a client wants to increase web traffic, it would be silly to use YouTube views as a metric of success. Likewise, if a client wants overall awareness, it would be silly to show them a micro-targeted community that we reached.

Social media is not always a popularity game
Often, people are fooled to believe that the more Facebook friends or Twitter followers you have, the more valuable you are. Really, the focus should be on quality over quantity. While having a large following could mean more people are exposed to your message, that doesn’t necessarily mean they care about what you say. What is important is engagement and interaction. If you invest all your social media energy on counting followers and fans, you don’t have time to connect with the audience that actually wants to receive your message.

Be Authentic and Provide Value
While we all want someone to vent to after bad day, your followers and fans are not the people. Choosing to do this has been detrimental to brands in the past. Rather than using Twitter as a personal-venting medium, it’s better to focus attention on connecting with your followers. And when goals are outlined, it’s easy to focus on reaching out to these people and providing them with information that they want to receive.  Having a personality that is authentic is also an important part of the social media planning and implementation process.

Don’t Get Lost
Social media expectations need goals. If there aren’t goals established, how do you know if you are getting a return on your investment?!? Tip: a “good” goal is not to “be everywhere” – if you try and reach everybody, you will connect with nobody.

Maybe LinkedIn is the most appropriate option, or maybe you find out your audience is active on Facebook. Do some research and find out where they are! It’s better to have a strong presence in one or two locations than a meager presence in several locations.

Keep the “Social” in Social Media

At The Cyphers Agency, we know the value of word of mouth marketing, and we understand the value of online interaction with customers. The key is to not get caught-up in numbers, but instead focus on communication between a brand and it’s customers.