In our previous post, Establish Key Performance Indicators for Social Media, we took a brief look at Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you should consider to help measure social media performance. In this post, we turn to an important keystone of your social media strategy: social media listening.
Assign a Social Media Monitor
As you’ve probably gathered from the preceding, monitoring and measuring your social media effort can be a lot of work. You may be tempted to give these activities short shrift, and concentrate on getting your message out via social media.
Obviously we think that’s a risky plan. Social computing can have a huge upside for your organization, if used correctly. If used incorrectly, it can have a huge downside. And if you plan on minimizing the effort you put into monitoring and measuring, you risk making it into our Social Media Hall of Shame.
The rogue’s gallery of organizations in the Hall of Shame includes some of the most-savvy marketers in the world. Yet one of the things that all the members of the Hall have in common (in addition to not understanding the difference between push marketing and social media conversation building) is they didn’t take monitoring and measuring social media seriously.
Using the various social media monitoring tools we’ve discussed you can automate much of the monitoring tasks. But you need someone to follow the conversations and report on significant ones. You also need someone to follow up with your community. They’ll expect that, once you engage them.
We recommend that you:
- Assign a person or team to regularly review the monitoring services
- Assign staff to follow up:
- Post comments on blogs, Facebook
- Follow groups on LinkedIn
The good news is that social media experts estimate that fewer than five percent of tweets and posts require a response. But you need to respond to those that need a response; that requires someone who is paying attention.
A good example of effective use of social media metrics in creating community is The Inner Circle customer community from tax preparation software company Intuit. Developed over a period of six years, The Inner Circle now boasts more than 25,000-members.
After its first year, the Inner Circle community featured many social channels for customers to interact with, including a blog, user forums, an idea exchange center, and poll and survey questions scattered about the site. Like many enterprises, Intuit was a bit wary at first of having an unfettered conversation and kept a tight rein on community members and managers. Initially posts had to be approved by PR and a number of managers before going live. Once the Intuit team became more comfortable with the community, however, the approval process disappeared.
Intuit gave Inner Circle members special perks, including front-of-the-line support privileges through a special 1-800 number assigned just to them. The result of the developing relationship between Intuit and its community was a passionate group of evangelists who were willing to go above and beyond on behalf of TurboTax and Intuit.
Social media monitoring has played a large role in the growth and vitality of the community. The Inner Circle team created a series of alerts using social media monitoring software by vendor Radian6. The team tracks company mentions, comments, and customer passion, and regularly identifies and reaches out to non-members to invite them to the community. They also use Radian6 to keep tabs on regular commenters on Twitter.
Intuit’s Ali McCourt says one of the key things she’s learned is to strike a balance between serving the needs of your company and those of your community.
Based on input from the community, and the monitoring of social conversations within it and outside it, Intuit now performs annual product updates and regular improvements to its TurboTax product based on comments and suggestions from its highly-engaged community members.
From this we can see that effective social media monitoring is a key to creating and maintaining your community, whether you create your own branded space, or create a presence on a public social networking site.
Assign a Social Media Monitor is the 49th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV
See the previous posts What is Social Media?, Social Sites Defined, Why Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1