Measuring social success beyond the ‘like’ (Interview)

Leah Pope SynthesioLikes, follows and retweets can only tell you so much about a social campaign’s impact.

As Leah Pope, CMO for social intelligence business Synthesio, explains to ClickZ, setting and monitoring the right KPIs is far more important for gauging the success of a social campaign.

How important is taking the time to set the right KPIs to the success of brands on social media? Where is the best place to start?

KPIs, and crucially setting the right KPIs, are probably the most important parts of creating a successful social programme, second only to the data. You must understand the goals of your programmes and know how to measure them for success. You must also understand that for sophisticated successful programmes, you have to focus on metrics larger than traditional vanity metrics (likes, etc). You need to set KPIs that map back to business impact. The best place to start is with an understanding of your use case, then mapping KPIs to your business goals.

What are some of the most common mistakes you see brands making when they set these KPIs?

Vanity metrics (such as likes, followers and retweets) are still ingrained in the minds of many marketers as the most important social metrics that you can measure. This simply is not the case anymore – quite frankly, these metrics don’t provide you with any meaningful insight at all.

So a brand might think that they are properly benchmarking their campaigns by looking at their number of followers or likes before a campaign and seeing that it increased after, but that doesn’t tell you anything other than the fact that more people now follow your pages. Are they interacting with you? Are they reading your content? Are they talking about you? These and many more questions are left unanswered.

However, if you look at something like share of voice, you might see that the amount of regular buzz your brand regularly generates online has increased after a successful campaign, or has returned to the same levels it was before the a failed campaign began.

What would you consider the most important consideration for brands struggling to get their KPIs right? 

KPIs serve many purposes, but fundamentally, they need to tell you the story of your success or failure. In other words, you need to make sure that your KPIs can explain what impact your work is having on the business. This is the most important thing that any marketer should consider when determining what KPIs to use for their programmes. You also need to know that not every programme will have the same KPIs. While you should have some standard KPIs, there is also room for each programme to be unique and have its own KPIs that tie back to the impact it is having on your brand.

How often should KPIs be reviewed, in an ideal world?

As I mentioned before, at the very least, you need to review your KPIs and how they are changing at the beginning, middle and end of your campaigns, but with a proper social intelligence tool you can review them as often as you want. Data from social media changes minute to minute, and social intelligence tools should give you real-time data updates on your KPIs, social volume, etc. I personally check my KPIs at least twice a week so that I can always be on top of the numbers and what changes need to be made.

Are there any big success stories you’ve seen, where setting the right KPIs has transformed a brand’s interactions with and understanding of its community?

When Nissan first launched their electric car, the Nissan Leaf, they found that consumers were very wary of electric vehicles, so they used Synthesio’s Social Intelligence platform to learn more about their audience. By using the platform to monitor and analyse customer conversations, they could discover what was driving negative feedback and some key barriers to purchase, as well as what was driving positive feedback.

Nissan analysed the data and forwarded it to their creative agency to create a new marketing campaign, in which more than one million consumers got involved. This boosted the number of positive, user-generated social conversations about electric vehicles online, and really solidified Nissan’s place as a global leader in electric vehicles, all because they looked at the right KPIs, analysed them and acted appropriately on the data the KPIs were telling them.

Another aspect of setting the right KPIs that allow for success is the ability to have organisation-wide metrics that will keep everyone in the company on the same page. Nissan uses Synthesio’s Social Reputation Score (SRS) to benchmark their brand health and product health among other metrics. They use SRS throughout the organisation so know that everybody in the business is aligned on the same goals and is aware of how the brand and products are doing.

Keeping everyone on the same page with social metrics allows for everyone within an organisation to have a better understanding of the impact social has on their business, as well as the impact their work has on their online campaigns.

To find out more about setting the right KPIs for a social campaign, check out Synthesio’s whitepaper KPIs for Social Media Monitoring.

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