Smart brands know that having a social strategy is key before engaging with their customers on social channels. They also know that 80% of the time they don’t control their brand — their customers do.
As a business owner or marketer you can control your brand to a point, but for the most part you are not in control of your brand, your customers are and social media has made it so. How? Because brands now know that in order to be relevant they need to be social. They’ve figured out how to measure the quantifiable metrics, but are in a fog about how to measure the soft metrics like sentiment, and what all of the likes, retweets, and various social interactions really mean to their bottom line.
Einstein Photo credit: American Photo Archive
Today, smart brands know they need to respond to trends, they need to build trust with their customers, and they need to provide value to their fans/followers. The investment in social media by companies has grown exponentially year over year. According to eMarketer, in a study from AdAge and Citigroup they found that 72.9% of respondents said they expected their overall social media budget to increase over the next year. And with this investment comes the need to be able to measure all of this social media effort.
You can certainly measure the overall number of retweets or likes or fans and followers. These are hard metrics. But can you link that back to how those metrics affect your bottom line? or better yet, how they affect your overall brand affinity? Are you measuring the sentiment of brand mentions, retweets, comments and shares, and getting in front of it if is negative? Nurturing it if it positive? Are your tweets motivating your audience to take a specific action? Can you measure that action and tie it to revenue or a referral sale? All of these questions take into consideration soft metrics that no one is bothering to measure.
Examples of affinity:
In 2006 Taco Bell created the Fourth Meal targeting late night eaters (and indirectly, stoners). Taco Bell found that late night tweeting led to late night eating. They tweet well into the night to attract late night munchers.
Bloomingdales – recently engaged with their customers by empathizing that they might be taking it easy after a long hard week and staying in. So they asked in a tweet on a Friday night, “Who is staying in tonight? Wanna treat your home? Our July Home Sale is ending on Sun 7/22! Save 20-40%.” They also do weekly giveaways – knowing that their customers want free stuff.
Examples of where 140 went wrong:
McDonalds – the freshest disaster in our minds was when McDonald’s earlier this year tried to make a hashtag go viral called #McDstories. They wanted consumers to share their positive experiences with McDonald’s healthy ingredients and instead had customers use it to voice their complaints. Yikes!
Toyota – during the 2012 Superbowl decided to create several (six or so) Twitter accounts promoting their Camry Effect campaign where they were giving away a car to people who were tweeting about the football game. It didn’t have anything to do with the SuperBowl. Later they issued an apology and realized that spamming their potential customers was not the best way to engage them.
Are you missing that one ingredient?
Measuring soft metrics such as sentiment and being able to tie that directly to sales or referrals is what you need to add to your success metrics. Just because you have 100,000 fans on Facebook and 5,000 of them are “talking about you” doesn’t mean squat if they are all talking negatively about your brand. You need to be listening and monitoring at all times. You need to nurture those fans and followers because brand affinity comes out of relationship building, not out of a contest or coupon giveaway. Remember, it’s not about the overall number, it’s about the quality and sentiment of those who make that number up.