Social Media Benchmarking: Why You Need to Benchmark Your Social Media Activity
By Sandra BuschNov 9
In our previous #AskTheExperts blog post on social business intelligence, we asked ten top industry influencers to share their tips and hints on how to step up your game and make smart decisions across the enterprise based on social data and insights.
In short, they acknowledged the importance of using social to build online communities, learn more about your audience, analyze best performing content, monitor your competitors and boost engagement.
We’re now going to explore their best practice, so we’ll be looking at the most interesting, practical ways social media has helped these social experts make their own business intelligence better.
Social media “is” my business intelligence. There’s a single distinction between great and not-so-great salespeople, and marketers, that just about everyone can agree on: It’s the ability to listen. The same thing can be said of managers, customer service personnel and small-business owners.
Those who are most successful aren’t just doers; they’re great listeners.
When we converse with people face to face, we not only listen to what they’re saying, we also learn to catch subtle social cues. Those who are observant enough can see when a person’s body language suggests they’re losing interest or that the expression on their face indicates confusion.
And while it’s harder to listen in the digital environment, with more and more business being conducted on social channels, it’s absolutely crucial that we learn how to do it. The key is Looking People in the Eye Digitally.
Back in March 2014, we created blog post based on a question we noticed had been asked in a number of forums – “How to Create Pre-Written Tweet Buttons and Links”.
Traditional keyword research tools didn’t show any searches for this term, but we noticed it had been discussed a number of times in unanswered forum questions. We decided the was a good indicator of demand and created the very straight forward blog post.
We then shared this via social media and saw an initial spike in traffic. More importantly though, over a year later the posts still drives monthly visits to our site from Google. This means that we can drive additional visits EVERY month by adding well researched and written blog posts.
Since our aim is lead generation we can go on to calculate the direct ROI value of a blog post based on the average number of leads generated per visit and average value of a lead. Essentially social media tools such as Brandwatch allow us to identify user needs in ways that wouldn’t be possible with traditional keyword research tools.
So, social media’s been a big benefit for us as far as making our business intelligence better.
One thing that we love doing is asking people how they found out about Entrepreneur on Fire for the first time, and having them re-trace their steps back to the actual key place where they first heard about our site, so that we can then amplify the different paths and identification ways that people are finding it in smart, intelligent and powerful ways.
So again, going back to the main coordinates, your business intelligence is going to improve via social media if you ask intelligent questions. That’s definitely a focus that we continue to improve upon, we love tools like Survey Monkey to really allow people to get answers back to us in a way that we can then analyze them in a very effective manner.
I have used the Facebook ad idea and response tactic to steer us quite a bit. I now use Heyo Cart and Facebook advertizing to do “cupcake” infoproducts instead of building big “wedding cake” products first. If people aren’t into a cupcake, I don’t have to waste time building the bigger wedding cake version.
Social monitoring at the individual level helps me interact with prospects within hours—if not minutes—of them posting a question, a concern, or a frustration within my field of expertise.
For example, when logged into my company’s Gmail account via Chrome, I’m alerted via the little red bell in the top right when someone comments on one of my YouTube videos, which I use extensively for creating and sharing “how-to” videos on the email marketing and CRM software I recommend.
By being able to respond in a timely manner, I generate warm leads that close faster, which is crucial to sales success because we all know that “time kills deals”.
Social media allows you to see the conversations that would otherwise be happening behind your back. It provides insight into how your customers feel about your brand, and what issues they may be having.
It also gives insight into opportunities to better meet their needs by helping you anticipate what they will want next.
The wonderful, and sometimes stressful part about social media is that it plugs you into the conversation in real time. We’re no longer waiting on focus groups and surveys – now we’re listening on an ongoing basis and responding to customers’ experiences and emotions through social media channels. The conversation never stops! It’s changed how brands and their customers communicate.
Understanding the relationship between social and search enables us to build communities around content that leverage it into Google Search. When people engage on your content they signal to the algorithm that they are paying attention, and when the right people (e.g. authorities on a subject) engage it can be very powerful – it is as if their authority is shared with you too.
Search for ‘social SEO facts’ and you will see lots of case studies around how it can transform your business.
Since we’re a social media agency, Fandom Marketing, we practice what we preach. We use social media every day to participate in marketing discussions online, grow brand awareness, and drive visitors to our blog where we practice thought leadership.
We measure content performance based on how much social media engagement and sharing occur on our blogs. We can easily gauge what types of content is working and not working, and we in turn leverage our audiences interests for targeting in social advertising and create more of the stuff that our audience cares about.
For example, if we find an article topic received a high number of Facebook likes we’ll turn it into additional content extensions such as an infographic or Slideshare with more in-depth content (in addition to the blog).
We can then target that same topic in Twitter and Facebook advertising to reach audiences with matching interests.
One way social media has helped improve my business intelligence is that I now have a better understanding on what content my website visitors are interested in. An example of this is using Facebook custom audiences.
They allow me to target visitors who read a certain article on my site when they go over to Facebook even if we aren’t connected. Because I know what they read, I can target them with additional content or in some cases a special offer, a download, and so on.
Not only does this give me an opportunity to provide them with more valuable content based on what they viewed, it forces me to think about the content I am creating so that it’s fresh and exciting.
One of my clients was an automotive evaluation online service – based on information entered into their free sophisticated online tool, comparative scores were generated for the vehicles they were anticipating purchasing.
The company’s Facebook page was limited to posting slick manufacturer images of cars, and an extremely small amount of engagement resulted. To change this, I went about it similar to the way someone would go about fishing – you know there are fish in the water, but you have to figure out what bait they will bite on, what time is best to fish, and where they are. To accomplish consistent success – I started creating a series of car related images with my iPhone, stopping at the side of the road and at car shows to photograph old and new interesting vehicles, and close-ups of their parts.
I paired these images with the copy written to elicit a passionate response – and bingo – all of a sudden I was a great social media fisherman! I was now able to identify clearly that that the most passionate audience was interested in classic vintage cars and nostalgia.
A mind blowing amount of comments, shares and likes were received from posting a close-up of an original price sticker from a 1965 Pontiac LeMans.
Using such images and copy, I was able to increase the company Facebook page likes from hundreds to tens of thousands, resulting in a huge traffic increase to the website.
We hope you found these insights useful and you’re ready to put new ideas into practice.
Watch out for our next blog post in the #AskTheExperts series, but in the meantime, feel free to share with us your own tips and best practices in the comments section below – or tweet us at @Brandwatch.