Was your last social media campaign a success?
It's a question that many marketers and PR professionals think about but it's not always that easy to judge.
With so many brands, organizations and media outlets competing for attention online - especially leading up to days like Black Friday - creating powerful marketing and PR campaigns and tracking them effectively is an increasingly critical component of digital strategy.
To do it well, you need to have a strong grasp of the social media metrics that matter and that's where social media analytics can help. By using social data to track campaign performance, brands, people and organizations can be confident that they have found the right approach and are tracking the right numbers to measure success.
Using the Talkwalker Campaign Monitoring IQ App and data from the many campaigns surrounding Black Friday, we'll take you through exactly how you can use social media data to get the insights you need to make your next campaign stand out.
Step 1: Find the Right Focus
Finding the right focus for your marketing campaign can be the difference between success and failure. But determining what the right approach is requires research and for this social media is a great resource.
Looking at the top themes linked to Black Friday deals online for example, we can see that electronic goods (Samsung, Xbox) seem to be discussed more than other products like food, fashion or books:
Top themes linked to Black Friday on social media include Samsung and Xbox
Digging a little deeper, we can see that the discussion around Samsung includes a variety of products but the biggest topic of conversation is Samsung's Galaxy smartphone:
The Galaxy smartphone line is the top Samsung product discussed on social leading up to Black Friday
By seeing which products are most closely linked to events like Black Friday, companies can quickly get a feel for consumer interests through social media and leverage this knowledge to better target their campaigns.
In this case a major retailer could decide to focus on electronic goods in their Black Friday sales promotions or a mobile phone reseller could consider creating specific deals for the Samsung Galaxy.
Step 2: Monitor Your Performance
Once your campaign is up and running the next step is to see how it is performing using a variety of social media metrics.
In the U.S., Walmart is one of the brands most associated with Black Friday so we decided to monitor all the conversations surrounding their Black Friday campaigns over the last 10 days.
Mentions, reach and engagement statistics for Walmart's Black Friday campaign online show big spike then drop-off over the last 10 days
The above charts give us a good indication of the impact that Walmart's campaigns have made on social media thus far. Looking at the top three gauges, we can see that in terms of mentions and engagement Walmart's recent activity has had a significant impact, with mentions and engagement increasing by over 400% and respectively.
The clear spike around November 12th was largely due to Walmart's announcement of their Black Friday strategy:
Of some concern however, may be the significant drop off since the initial announcement. From a high of close to 20,000 mentions on Nov 12th, mentions of Walmart and Black Friday have since plummeted to just 1716 on November 16th. A decline in buzz around Walmart's Black Friday campaign is clearly to be expected but the extent of the decline may be a concern. Careful tracking of campaign performance would help Walmart to react in real-time to negative activity.
Buzz of course isn't the only way to measure the success of a marketing campaign as buzz can be positive or negative. To get a better understanding of public opinion towards your campaign looking at sentiment can be very useful:
Sentiment towards Walmart on forums and YouTube lower than it is on other media types
Overall, sentiment is fairly split between positive and negative but on certain media types such as YouTube and forums, negativity is slightly higher. Worryingly for Walmart, this appears to be linked to publicity surrounding Walmart's workers decision to strike due to payment disputes.
Using metrics for buzz, engagement and sentiment brands can understand the impact their social media campaigns are having on the social public and then use this data to refocus activity, combat negative buzz around campaigns orreach out to influencers to help amplify content reach.
Step 3: Learn from Others
The best way to get a good baseline for campaign success it to compare performance to similar campaigns you've run in the past or the campaigns of your competitors. Learning from your competitors of course has the added advantage of giving you an insight into your competitor's strategy as well.
Let's take a look at some of Walmart's competitors and see how their Black Friday campaigns compare:
Comparison of Walmart, Target and Best Buy Black Friday buzz shows Walmart leading the way
Instantly we can see that it's good news for Walmart in terms of buzz volume. Mentions of Walmart and Black Friday far outstrip their rivals Target and Best Buy in terms reach, engagement and mentions.
But in terms of positive sentiment it's Best Buy that comes out on top:
Best Buy's Black Friday campaign is being received more positively than Walmart or Target
Taking a look at the posts behind the numbers, it seems that conversation around Best Buy's Black Friday deals have focused on their sales campaigns. By contrast, Walmart have had to deal with a workers strike and Target have been criticized for selling this sweater:
Finally, looking beyond just Walmart's direct competitors, using the Talkwalker Smart Themes filter for brands and companies we can see that Walmart are actually the company most linked to Black Friday across all industries even beating out e-commerce giants like Amazon:
Walmart and Best Buy the companies most associated to Black Friday on social media
Comparing campaign metrics against competitors can give brands a clearer idea of the success or failure of their campaigns. Brands can then examine the posts behind the number to identify best practices and mistakes that competitors have made and learn from them.
With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and of course Christmas around the corner, it's time for brands to step up their campaign game. By using social media analytics effectively, brands in all industries can make sure they stay ahead of the pack throughout the holiday season.
Image Credit: Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters on Business Insider