And why it’s more than a numbers game
With so many tools that measure site visits, tweets and blog subscribers, it’s easy to know exactly who read your content and downloaded your white paper, but do you understand what the numbers are telling you about your small business? Sure, they answer the question of how many folks have been engaged with your content, but then what? The marketing tools alone are not enough to evaluate the way consumers engaged your content, or how they feel about your product or service.
Amidst all the data collection tools, your small business marketing will still need a real person who can evaluate the data on more than a quantifiable level. Although it’s necessary to measure the effectiveness of campaigns, blogs, landing pages, and other lead generation tools, you should also be looking at the type of interaction that is happening with your brand as well. Facebook “likes” are wonderful, and as a small business owner it feels good to see that your fan page is likable, but what do those fans “like” about your brand? The only way to find out is to interact with brand participants. Discover the way your brand is viewed by building a relationship with the community who engages with your content.
Having tools at your disposal that give you hard data is a great starting point and completely necessary to maximize your marketing efforts, but the tools can’t stand on their own. Any company that tells you their analytics program can answer all your needs does is either full of malarkey or doesn’t understand the full scope of analyzing engagement. As a small business owner marketing is the lifeline of your company and handling it efficiently is always the goal. However, do-it-yourself marketing tools are not the end all be all to measuring your marketing ROI. A consultant is a good starting point at developing a more complete analysis, but ultimately you need to ensure that your marketing staff understands not only how to collect data, but what they say about how your marketing dollars turn into profit.
Below are six suggestions Social Media Today blogger Richard Meyer asked in his blog post Social media metrics: Engagement alone is not a good metric to follow.
(1) It means that there is a potential gold mine of information via social media but that social media analytic programs alone are NOT the answer.
(2) You need people who can quantify brand sentiments as positive, negative or neutral.
(3) You need to respond to both good and bad comments about your brand. Don’t do it in corporate speak, use a human voice and reach out.
(4) People who can sway others from brand detractors to brand ambassador’s are worth their weight in gold. Reward them and encourage them and always remember to say thank you.
(5) Anybody that tells you that their social media analytic program or service can do it all is full of crap. Right now there is not one service that can do it all. They can provide you lots of data but if you respond too late or don’t have someone to tell you what that data means, in the form of action, it’s pretty much worthless.
(6) Listen. Expect to fail and expect people to ignore you at first until you learn to talk to them in a way that they want to be heard.