Delivering ROI from Social Media: Listening for Sounds of Interest

We take a look at how to monitor the effectiveness of your social media presence.

Last week, we talked about the engagement trajectory, and how customers have a tendency to move along a predictable path from noticing your social media presence to becoming true advocates for your brand on social media, actively participating in your online community.

Let’s look some more at how to move folks along that trajectory. The first step is to determine whether your brand has enough potential advocates out there to make the time right to build a community. Although community can be a great driver of awareness, loyalty, and ROI, not every brand has the brand equity needed to build a community around it. If you do, community makes sense as a strategy. If you don’t, you’ll best spend you time and efforts on other, more fruitful web efforts.

Listening is the key in determining if your brand has enough folks out there passionate enough about your brand that, if you build an online community, not only will they flock to it, but they’ll use it as a platform to engage with your company and other consumers.

The first place to look is your existing social media efforts. Look on your Facebook page:

  • Are customers enthusiastically responding to your posts, adding content of their own, and engaging with each other? If so, then you have levels of engagement that could translate well into a dedicated online community.

  • Look at other voice of the customer data, such as responses to emails, web analytics, and surveys. Do customers forward your email newsletter to friends often or tweet their favorite articles?

  • How about your blog—does it get a lot of shares? And is traffic coming in from those shares?

  • Do you get good response rates to your surveys, and do respondents share rich data in free-response questions?

If you’re answering yes to a lot of these questions, your customers are already engaged richly with your brand.  

Of course, it’s a big step from having an engaged blog readership or Facebook fan page to having a fully-functioning online community. It’s fortunately feasible to test whether you can expand the boundaries of your existing levels of engagement to something more along the levels you’ll need to sustain community: ramp up the calls to engagement on existing channels:

  • Add contests and quizzes to your Facebook page.

  • Invite reader contributions to your blog and email newsletter.

  • Create Twitter contests and polls

If consumers respond enthusiastically to this new level of engagement, chances are, your brand may be ready for a branded community.