With the recent explosion of user-generated content - the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook has 845 million users with more than 425 million daily visitors as of December 2011 and Mediabistro verified that published posts on Twitter surpassed 250 million daily - marketers need a new way to analyze social data to increase sales effectiveness. Marketers need to understand what they should measure and how they should approach the analytics process so they can learn actionable insights to better engage customers, establish loyalty and drive sales in this rapidly changing environment. Enter actionable Social Analytics.
Actionable Social Analytics is an evolving business discipline that studies social media metrics to help marketers use the findings to drive business intelligence. Going beyond measuring buzz, reach, retweets, likes and follower growth, social analytics aggregates and analyzes online conversations (industry, competitive, prospect, consumer, customer) and social activity generated by brands across social channels and empowers organizations to act on the derived intelligence to drive business results. When used strategically, this intelligence has the ability to improve brand awareness and reputation, marketing and sales effectiveness and customer satisfaction.
With this new definition in mind, the team at Awareness Inc. created our latest complimentary whitepaper, Social Analytics for Marketing and Sales Effectiveness, which introduces a new framework to help guide the analytics efforts within socially-savvy businesses. This framework identifies the most important metrics that map directly to key performance indicators (KPIs) for marketing, sales and customer service and provides a step-by-step methodology for approaching social analysis from external and internal social data.
Let's say you are in charge of the Voice of Customer initiative for an airline - let's say American Airlines. The Voice of Customer is defined by Bruce Temkin, a principal analyst at Forrester, as "a systematic approach for incorporating the needs of customers into the design of customer experience." How should you approach analyzing customer comments and preferences shared in social platforms to positively impact customer satisfaction and reduce customer churn? You can follow this framework:
If you are starting out, you will need to enable your customer service reps with the ability to see customer comments from social channels so they can provide better service if and when the customer contacts the call center. So the next time the band The Sheepdogs, with over 12,000 Twitter followers, calls your airline, you can find a way to address their lost luggage issue:
Ideally, your airline is past this point and has begun focusing on more advanced analytics - where social comments from your customers help inform your Voice of Customer initiatives. You can analyze social comment data historically, combining it with past email and call center data to develop new customer service campaigns and workflows. For instance, through historic sentiment and pattern analysis, you can identify peak times for customer complaints (such as holidays and other high-stress travel events) to train your customer service reps or add staff during busy times.
With historic analysis of customer experiences collected from all available channels (email, phone, and social), you can identify patterns and areas for service improvement. You may uncover pain points that are not being adequately addressed, which in turn impact customer loyalty. Or you can equip support reps to proactively reach out to dissatisfied and vocal customers to fix problems or complaints as they happen, via customers' preferred channel(s) of communication. A good example of such an approach comes from JetBlue, which proactively works with customers over social channels, like during the 2010 "Snowpocalypse" when JetBlue rescheduled many of their 10,000+ canceled flights through Twitter.
Social Analytics equips businesses with the keys to understanding prospects and customers to enable more effective connections. To learn how to apply social analytics to your sales and marketing efforts, download Social Analytics for Marketing and Sales Effectiveness.
Now we want to hear from our fellow marketers. How experienced are you with social analytics? On which metrics do you focus? How do you tie your social marketing efforts to business drivers such as increased leads and sales?