Last week we talked about the importance of procuring the right tools for measuring your Social Business effectiveness and how to go about mapping your communication strategy once those tools are in place. And thus, we have come to the end (of this series).
So know you’re on board knowing that you can’t plan on fighting the social web without the right weapons and you’ve gotten out of your head that you have to talk with and appease every, single person online. That’s a good start, but you still have a pretty big following and the truth of it is that it’s too big for one person to handle, even after whittling things down from the entire online universe into your mind map.
What’s a self-respecting Social Business owner with limited budget and no ability to hire an entire social media listening team to do?
This Is Sparta
The idea of a few versus many is one that’s pretty common in traditional lore and history. David vs Goliath, the Spartan 300 vs the hoards of Xerxes and many more come to mind initially, but the fact remains that we, as humans, have a history of effectively fighting off foes much bigger and stronger than our initial skills would seem to allow.
So, our first task is getting you to the mindset that you can do this.
I shouldn’t need to show posters of felines in trees with inspirational quotes to help you get over the initial fear of trying to fight, and even if I wanted to, I couldn’t because the images of cats in trees with motivational sayings are pretty well locked down behind copyright firewalls, so just imagine a cat in a tree.
Now, on to tackling that Goliath of online communication and showing some metrics along the way. A lot of the metrics will be taken care of by the toolset you choose to invest in, especially if you take the time to set up your mind map and follow the next tips accordingly.
When you’re approaching the behemoth that is your online community, all you need to remember are The Four Rs (I’m being a bit sensationalistic, you obviously will need to remember more than that to properly run your business, but it works better in this post if we focus on these.)
Social Business isn’t a 9-to-5 job. Sure, you may hire some people to deal with social listening during your “business hours,” but those conversations are going on all hours of the day. If you choose the strategy of only having people respond during business hours, make sure you have your listening tools set up to aggregate the most important conversations during the off hours into an easy-to-follow stream for those people when they come in. The last thing you want (or customers want) is for you to answer a pressing question 3 months after the initial asking.
A better strategy is to have mobile access for 2-3 people who are tasked with following the keyword profiles and key influencers. Sticking closely to the social guidelines created by your organization, those mobile monitors can be notified when a person of influence is talking about something related to your business or something related to a keyword profile set up in the listening tool and respond immediately. Internet users react favorably to speedy responses and if you’ve set up your social guidelines clearly, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Of course, you can’t be responding to anything and everything. A lot of times you’ll simply be getting trolled and other times the conversation is purely rhetorical and not in need of a response. Other times, the conversation will be completely in line with a keyword profile, but you still won’t want to respond because it’s not relatable to your business.
For example, if you have a keyword profile set up to monitor for mentions of fat-free yogurt sellers in New Haven and one night your monitors pick up someone tweeting out a request for places that sell fat-free yogurt in New Haven, you would DEFINITELY want to answer that immediately; but on the other hand if someone is talking about talking about a movie they saw in New Haven and describing the special effects as looking like fat-free yogurt, you might not need to necessarily respond to that one. Sure, it’s touching your industry, but it’s not exactly related to what you do.
(Note: One thing that’s nice about these keyword topic profiles is that when silly things like the above example come through and you have the bandwidth, feel free to jokingly respond to gain a few extra-credit points with certain users. Who know, maybe it’ll get screenshot and pick up speed online. You never know.)
The main thing to keep in mind is that, when getting started, you need to break down responses to those comments and conversations that are directly relatable to your business and industry.
This one is going to sound a bit mean, but business ain’t always nice. Be sure to always respond to key influencers, famous people and industry leaders when they traipse into your keyword profile zones. If you see Jason Segel or one of the executives you mindmapped talking about frozen yogurt, pay extra attention to those conversations.
Yes, it’s a bit like profiling, but that’s because it’s exactly profiling. That’s the what mind map process did, it profiled the types of levels and people that will be most beneficial to your online conversations and messages, so when you see them pop up in your stream, engage right away and hopefully get them on your team and spreading the message for you.
This step is why it’s important to flesh out the mind map process to it’s granular level.
Sometimes you come across a comment or conversation that touches on so many offensive or sensitive topics or is so confusing that you can’t for the life of you decide how to respond without making things worse.
For the love of God, leave those alone.
Don’t pull a Kenneth Cole or another of the countless social faux pas that have happened in the last few years. Politics, religion, natural distasters, death: leave these things alone, especially when starting out.
Okay, as for the metrics side of this equation, if you have set up your keywords correctly and know who you’re tracking online, you can easily turn inward in your Social CRM software and see who it is you’ve connected with and at what rate (does that match up to your original KPI list and timeline?), you can see how your influence is growing, and you can see response rates. If you’ve attached Google Analytics to your online avenues of payment (RFQs, online orders, inbound calls, etc), you can use your Social CRM tool to see the areas that are being most effective conversation-wise and then compare that to the channels that are bringing in the most revenue from online means.
Compare those two trends and when you see graphs match up with increased influence and increased revenue, take those tactics and spread them out throughout other outward-reaching channels and increase revenue there as well.
No one ever said tracking revenue from online sources would be simply or easily-explained in a few blog posts, but it IS possible, if you’re willing to work at it.
Hopefully you’re able to put in the work, because the gains can make a difference to your entire Social Business.
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