By Julie Geller, @juliegeller
“How many times is my brand mentioned across the social landscape?”
“Why can’t I find all the comments about my brand?”
If you’re constantly asking these questions of your media intelligence agency and not getting satisfactory answers then you’re trying to access something known as the “walled garden”.
Metrics are an essential tool for the PR professional. But unlike traditional media outlets, some social media platforms have certain statistics they consider to be private intellectual property. Generally speaking, Facebook and many other proprietary social platforms don’t open their gates to third-party analytical tools, even for business-based users.
Don’t let these unattainable statistics pre-occupy your thoughts. The following simple advice will help you get maximum performance from the data already within your grasp.
More Likes ≠ Greater Insight
Beyond your own community, it’s sometimes difficult to know for sure what people are saying, and the ROI may not merit the time and trouble it will take to find these people and measure sentiment. You also don’t need to track down every loyal fan in order to take meaningful action. Instead, take the initiative to engage with a representative sample of your qualified brand supporters.
Know Your Goals
On their own, numbers can sometimes mean very little. What matters is how they fit within your organization’s goals. Before you set out to gather data, be sure you’ve clearly defined your social KPIs. Who is your audience? What interests them? What do they like most about your content or brand? What content or messaging isn’t working? What content or messaging is working? Focus on the data that helps you get to know your audience. This analysis adds life to your numbers, and it provides a road map to understanding why one campaign works, why another doesn’t, and what might be successful in the future.
It’s All in the Strategy
Social platforms open up a world of possibilities for marketers and PR pros. Social tools give us direct access to our most loyal brand supporters and help to supply useful personal information about them. The big marketing win is to take those precious personal details and use them strategically to forge a greater loyalty between audience and brand. Capitalize on your audience segments by customizing content and messaging strategies around their unique interests.
Work Your Audience
Concentrate on the things you can control. Place an emphasis on monitoring the available sources (including print and broadcast) and engaging with your own social audience. How you perform at large is far less important than evaluating your own baseline “likes”. When you make the mistake of only looking outward, you risk missing important details (like behaviours and trends) in your own community. Use these insights to seize opportunities to convert your followers into paying customers. Rather than obsessing about the unattainable audience data, focus your efforts on strategy. Because if you don’t have a strategy in place to convert that existing audience into sales or buying power, what good will it do you to have more followers?