Social Enterprise

Why Social Analytics Are So Hard, But So Vital

By now everyone has heard the story of how Target in the US was able to figure out that a teenage girl was pregnant before her father (http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/).

social-media-pie

Controversy from that specific case aside, being able to engage with customers at that kind of depth is a holy grail for modern successful business. But many struggle, because while collecting customer data and storing it is relatively easy, making sense of the data in a way that benefits the business is a far bigger challenge.

From a marketing point of view, social analytics is incredibly useful for reasons beyond community management and engagement. Increasingly marketers need to be accountable for their investment decisions and the ROI from campaigns to justify their spending. The continued shift in media spend away from traditional to digital media demonstrates that marketers are increasingly wary of booking ads without a clearly defined way to analyse the impact of the campaign. Digital channels offer rich analytics, and so also offers the marketing team the kind of accountability that they’re looking for when working out how to measure the effectiveness of digital marketing efforts and in particular social media.

The tools on the market to collect useful data about your customers are engaging with you digitally are plentiful, and using that data in a constructive manner can provide a clear competitive advantage as you’re going to know more about your customers and what they want. It takes guesswork out of marketing and replaces it with meaningful information. That is, of course, if you’re aware of the objectives of the project before embarking on it. Many social initiatives fail from the outset because the organisation isn’t clear about what it is trying to achieve. Many marketers will convince themselves that they are driving brand ‘engagement’ because they are accumulating many followers and likes. But how is that engagement translating into leads, transactions and revenue?

That’s not to say that there is any kind of behaviour that shouldn’t be measured through social analytics, because with digital channels just about everything is measurable in some way. Brand metrics are important, but so too are direct response measures, and in reality these are easier to quantify. You need to make sure that you are capturing the right data, based on a set of predefined objectives that need to be created before embarking on a campaign.

After capturing the data, the next step is to understand how effective the social campaigns have been in engaging with the customers. This goes beyond measuring clicks, followers and fans and you’ll want insights around how your investment in social is driving leads, transactions and revenue. From there the goal should be to measure the results against the goals, being able to demonstrate to management that the campaign strategy is working, and then securing the necessary resources to make further investments into the strategy.

Organisations should also be aware that data collection and analysis needs to be an ongoing process. It’s not enough to run a data collection campaign once and leave it at that, as a smart analytics strategy is continuously being optimised and improved on. Equally, it’s important to check and double-check that the recording of data is accurate. Clean, accurate data is the only data of value to an organisation. Bad data is a PR nightmare.

Across the business social data and analytics offers benefits and making effective use of your customer’s data will drive a more efficient and effective operation across the entire organisation. It’s not necessarily easy to achieve, but the value it brings to the organisation is essential.

Written by Managing Director of InfoReady Tristan Sternson.

Interview: Robyn Nixon, GM Global Marketing, Intrepid Travel

Robyn Nixon is the General Manager, Global Marketing at Intrepid Travel.

Over the years, Robyn’s career path has been anything but conventional! After returning to university to study drama, she took on a career in live theatre. During this time she developed the fundamental skills associated with direct marketing, PR. Sponsorship and CRM. After all there’s nothing like the need to fill a theatre with a new show every six weeks to hone core-marketing skills!

A few years later Robyn and a friend started a small-group adventure travel company, taking travellers to India. It was here that she met Darrell Wade, Co-founder of Intrepid Travel. Darrell convinced Robyn to move to Melbourne and work for Intrepid. During her time with Intrepid, Robyn has headed up International Business Development, Global Sales and has been an integral part of Intrepid’s executive management team. Now 12 years later, Robyn leads Intrepid’s Global Marketing team, working closely with their marketing companies in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, UK and Asia.

Robyn’s career path is a great illustration that with an abundance of energy and the courage to take a few risks, a non-conformist route can lead to business success. It’s probably no accident that Robyn’s unconventional career path makes her a great fit for a highly entrepreneurial company such as Intrepid.

We spoke with Robyn to find out more about her speaker session “Case Study Presentation: The Journey to Award Winning Social Media” at CeBIT’s Social Enterprise Conference.

Her main message is that:

“The social media journey has no final destination – it is a means, not an end. Organisations succeed when social media is part of everyday business and becomes integrated into the mix of everything they do. It is simply another asset at their disposal.”
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Marketing Mix: Prioritising Social Media Platforms

The popularity of social media is causing huge changes to how businesses communicate with their customers, spread marketing messages and build communities.

One thing is clear. During our interviews with leading innovative Australian business people the message we got from them was that you have to decide how many social media platforms your organization will communicate with customers on.

Paul Greenberg, Executive Chairman of the DealsDirect Group told us that:

“Multi channel retail is about allowing the customer to have multiple touch points. Nimbleness and agility are required because with capitalism the customer is in control. You can’t tell customers you can contact us via Email but not Telephone, Facebook but not Twitter.”

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Choosing A Blog Platform – Which Is Most Popular?

Choosing a blog platfrom for your organisation can seem difficult with all the different choices available in the marketplace. A recent survey by Pingdom shows that WordPress is the blogging platform of choice for 48% of the world’s 100 most popular blogs.

Of this 48% – 39% are self hosted and 9% are hosted by WordPress.com itself. This is a 53% increase in WordPress popularity amongst top bloggers since the last Pingdom survey over 3 years ago.

Majority of Top 100 Blogs Use WordPress

Majority of Top 100 Blogs Use WordPress

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US Senate and House Pass Crowdfunding Law

Kickstarter is familiar to many entrepreneurs as a means of raising funds for a new project via crowdsourcing. However one thing it hasn’t been allowed to do yet in return for donations is give away slices of equity in the project that is raising funds.

This may soon change because the US Senate has passed the CROWDFUND Act which legalises crowd funding for small companies that are not publicly listed and the US House has passed the JOBS act which contains similar provisions.

President Barack Obama at US Embassy Canberra, AustraliaPhoto Credit: Neerav Bhatt (Creative Commons)

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Organisations Need A Social Media Policy

All organisations should have a social media policy, both to give employees sound guidelines about how they should interact when using organisational social media accounts and outline potential disciplinary action should they breach these guidelines.

ABC Mark Scott - Media140 SydneyPhoto Credit: Neerav Bhatt (Creative Commons)

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is a leader in the use of social media by organisations. It’s 4 Social Media Standards (PDF) is succinct enough to be read and followed by staff, while thoroughly covering the required issues.
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Changing Names: Google Play and The New iPad

Last week we saw two interesting product name changes by technology giants Apple and Google which have resulted in a high volume of discussion amongst users and the media:

Google Play

Google Play

The changes in question were Apple’s decision to call the 3rd generation iPad tablet “The New iPad” rather than the iPad HD or iPad 3 as predicted by most people, as well as Google’s equally unexpected move to rename the “Google Market” Android application to “Google Play”.

Some commentators say that both companies have made a mistake in changing long standing names. CNN asks Why doesn’t the ‘new iPad’ have a name? and TechCrunch made their view clear Google Play? What The Hell Was Wrong With Android Market?.
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