Qualitative vs quantitative: Social media to build your brand

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

By Peter Heffring, CEO, Expion

One of the great advantages of social over traditional marketing is that it offers the opportunity for deep customer engagement – you get an unfiltered view of what your customers think about your product or service.

This voice of the customer can be used to improve operations, and determine where satisfaction and dissatisfaction lies. Is it product price or quality? Is there a customer service issue?

To make the most of social in this way, you need to include qualitative evaluation of comments and reviews. This is in contrast to how many traditional marketing programs are measured – where the focus tends to be using quantitative performance measurement systems (CPC driven).

Working with hundreds of brands to manage and optimise their social programs has taught us, and our clients, a lot – and what we’re seeing is that companies which have moved from traditional measurement to new, more meaningful and socially driven metrics are the ones which are excelling. Here are our top measurement strategies that will increase social effectiveness.

1. Build relationships with your ‘Superfans’

Every brand has a set of ‘Superfans’ that represent their most supportive, vocal and engaged customers. Smart brands are identifying these super social customers and making sure they are recognised in their posts, tweets or comments.

2. Stay ahead of your competitors

By using social measurement tools you gain real insight into a competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, but you also have an industry view on what is most engaging for customers and potential customers. All achieved from your own dashboard and desk.

3. Drill down to the location level

For multi-location brands, a social presence can and should be managed to the local level. Corporate governance with local control is not only possible, but simple to build with social marketing tools. Best practices, including top performing posts and promotions, can be shared across all locations to optimise engagement at every location

4. React in real time

The one measurement philosophy that is consistent across both traditional and social marketing is test-and-control optimisation. Like with any digital marketing, testing and optimisation are key to advancing the metrics, and the science, of social. By monitoring automatic responses brands can quickly evaluate what is working and what is not. If something receives a negative reaction change it instantly.

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