I don't even like the question. I suspect, the company that redefined the word "like" doesn't like it much either. I like this question: "Why should I care?" Or maybe: "What can a marketer extract from this number?"
Let's ask an expert.
Social media expert Jay Baer would answer, "Not much." In fact, Baer has published an eBook titled "Knockout! Use Conversation Mining + Facebook Data to Thump Your Competition." Clearly, he's set the expectation that data extracted from Facebook is indeed a powerful marketing tool.
But "what data?"
In "Knockout," Baer debunks two common assumptions regarding Facebook:
1) Facebook is a customer acquisition vehicle.
2) Fan page activity equates to fan engagement.
Baer claims both are false and far less valuable than the "conversation layer." His point, distilled to its most simple expression: the world is made up of people, not numbers. In the eBook, he makes a compelling case that capturing qualitative data is the key to informing an effective content marketing strategy.
What you really need to understand.
"Getting content and social media marketing right," Baer states, "requires you to look beyond the accumulation numbers to understand not just how many, but what, why, how and when." He reminds us the goal is not to be good at social media, but to be good at business.
The challenge then becomes taking a holistic approach, to extract from social media the indicators that support your marketing strategy. A nifty "social media metrics pyramid" visualizes the concept. The pyramid places business objectives at its apex and social media metrics seven layers below, at its base.
Jay writes, "The best social media operations look at measurement more broadly. They don't just look at the numbers; they also capture key qualitative data and use it to make improvements to their content, channel selection, timing, and more."
Facebook Insights are simply numbers and the marketer's mission to understand what does and doesn't work in social media marketing relies far more on finding answers to "why," "so what" and "now what" questions.
Conversation mining is a goldmine for content marketers.
The "Knockout" eBook is co-sponsored by NetBase, developers of a social intelligence platform global enterprises including Coca-Cola, Kraft, and HP use to monitor and understand customer sentiment. As business intelligence goes, sentiment analysis marks a new frontier. However, there's nothing new about its reason for being. The objective is to make better decisions.
Effectively mining social media conversation results in powerful insights for guiding and improving your content marketing. Baer highlights four ways you can use Facebook sentiment measures to thump your competitors:
- Conversation mining delivers an early warning system for issues enabling you to be more proactive.
- You gain the ability to make fast course corrections for your promotions.
- Customer commentary gives you the ability to improve products or packaging.
- You get cues regarding how to better relate to your customers.
The point here, and in "Knockout," is if social media is to become a competition thumper in your marketing arsenal, "Likes" and the like don't add up to much. True business intelligence, the kind that lights the path to engagement and advocacy, isn't about little blue thumbs. It's about the passions that pulse through the hearts and minds of people.
Given the right tools, the people whose needs you most want to fulfill are telling you how. You have to like that.
Hey, this social media insights area has become complex. What are your thoughts?