On Tuesday, we hosted a webinar featuring guest speaker Zach Hofer-Shall of Forrester Research, Inc. focused on how to make social media data actionable. Couldn’t attend, or looking for a refresher? Look no further – we’re sharing our notes here.
A little bit of background:
Zach is a Senior Analyst for Customer Intelligence professionals at Forrester, who previously worked in social media. He’s the leading expert on social intelligence (using insights from social media to inform marketing and business strategy) and shared some great points on how brands can craft a social media strategy that allows them to take action, not just monitor what’s happening.
Here’s some of what Zach shared:
While we all know that social media, and the data social media provide, are important, many of us aren’t sure how to get real value from it. With the evolution of social platforms and increased consumer adoption, being active on social media isn’t an option for brands: it’s a requirement, because consumers expect a response to social media comments (especially complaints) nowadays. It’s not enough to simply be an observer.
Zach divided social media activities into three types: passive, reactive and proactive. Each piece is important!
- Passive social media tasks include: monitoring, reporting, tracking, listening, counting, etc.
- The good news: most brands are already doing these types of things. Around 3/4 of the brands Zach surveyed said they participate in one or more of these types of tasks.
- Reactive social media tasks include: marketing measurement,crisis identification, customer support, etc.
- About half of brand marketers are doing these types of tasks through social media.
- Proactive tasks are where the real opportunity lies. They include: product innovation, the reshaping of marketing messaging, sales, lead generation and more.
It can be difficult to sift through the massive amounts of content and social media data available in order to get to the point of being proactive, but Zach says it’s worth it! Therefore, we all need to connect our social media efforts to real business goals. To do this, he suggests these steps:
- 1. Start doing something (even if at first you suck at it). Start small and learn as you go: collect data, observe changes over time, etc.
- 2. Go from monitoring to really listening. Figure out what you learned from reporting on the data you’ve collected and compare it to other trends in y our marketing efforts. Prove the value of social media within your organization by tying this information to your brand’s larger business purposes (Note: getting more ‘Likes’ isn’t a business goal!) and use social media data to validate information your brand has gathered through other sources.
- 3. Finally, find intelligence. Connect the social data and business data in real-time to get insights that are actionable. Merge your social measurement metrics with other marketing metrics to create customized ones (like a brand health index) and continuously refine your efforts by creating a scalable process you can repeat.
We’re a little biased, but we think our product is a great solution to the challenge of going from social media monitoring to social media intelligence. It aims to take out much of the labor of finding those insights to take action on and streamlining a social media manager’s daily tasks. We were totally excited (and geeked out) to hear Zach position the problem so well and stress how important it is to get to the stage where you’re finding and acting on social media intelligence.
Thanks to Zach and everyone who tuned in to the webinar! If you’re looking for tweets that capture some of the webinar’s most memorable moments, check out the hashtag #smartersocial. We’re looking forward to hosting similar ones in the future featuring more experts in the social media space. If you have a request for a topic you’d like to see us cover, share it in the comments below!