The Art of Communicating Insight- Social and Marketing Insights
The success of any service oriented business depends largely on how effectively its employees communicate the value they provide their customers. This becomes paramount for Big Data / Analytics service providers where identifying and communicating “actionable insight” to their customers is the value. The ability to communicate analytics and insight effectively drives the quality of the relationship between the provider and client. Effective communication has become part of the job for any tech savvy analyst.
Whether working with internal or external customers, an analyst’s ability to communicate clear messages about the data and actions needed is crucial. The quality and clarity of communication about the insight found can have a tremendous influence to drive the actions that were identified from the analysis. From my experience, being in the insight business at iWeSocial, and working with clients across many different industries – communicating insights effectively will dictate the success or failure of any project.
An effective analyst will be able to combine visual (show the supporting data) and verbal (communicate the insight) messages to convey the findings; empowering the end user to act on the insight.
How Do You Communicate Insight Effectively?
Effective insight communication refers to the ability to tell a story through data to address business challenges. To be able to answer, what happened. What is currently happening? Or, what’s going to happen? Communicating insight involves, “connecting the dots” between the overall business challenge down to what we identify as corrective action. No matter what the deliverables, to communicate insight effectively starts with setting clear goals for the analysis. Another key factor of successful insight communication is to know your audience. Are you speaking to an executive team focused on overall business drivers or the head of marketing or sales? Each will have their own set of questions they are wanting the data to help answer. For example, the sales executive may want to understand how to increase sales productivity or increase customer acquisition. While the marketing executive will want to know about marketing effectiveness and customer engagement.
From my experience in delivering insight to a variety of clients, I have noticed several themes. Specifically, to be able to communicate your insight effectively, I recommend that you keep the following in mind:
Know your audience
Business challenges they face
Questions they are trying to answer
Keep it simple
Avoid technical jargon
Simple, actionable findings
Leverage clear visualization
Connect Insight to the Bottom Line
Increase in revenue
Reduction of cost structure
Increase in average spend per customer
In summary, effective insight communication is the ability to convey your findings to key stakeholders to drive action – so they can do something differently than the way they’ve been doing it historically. With effective insight communication, always try to provide a clear answer to a business question, not merely providing another piece of data. The insight should focus on the business impact; if the insight doesn’t lead to an action then question whether to include it at all.
The success of any business depends largely on how effective they are at using data that’s turned into insight to drive their business forward. The question is how can we communicate these insights more effectively for greater business return?
Recently, Twitter just had their 10 year anniversary of their first tweet. 12 years ago, Facebook officially went live as the product we know of today. Today, both of these major platforms have a combined total user base of over 2 billion people and businesses. When you add in other social upstarts and apps such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat you can add in another 1.6 billion users. And even with these staggering user stats, and singular places to reach a massive audience, businesses all over the world are still reluctant to invest more in social media, or even make leap into social media at all. Much of it stems from time and staffing levels, an inabilty to see value from higher ups in many organizations, monetary constraints, lack of knowledge in their use, or just a failure to see or have the ability to measure ROI of social media as a whole. We hear a lot of these responses, but the question of ROI seems to be a major factor in determining social media’s place in an organization’s marketing strategy. So how do you determine social media ROI?
It’s a very tricky question to answer for any business, but much of it has to do with trying to determine what the goals of your business and marketing efforts are in the first place. If you are bascially any business, branding and brand recognition should nearly always be at or near the top of your marketing and social media goals. Even Coca Cola and McDonalds never stop their own branding efforts as evidenced by their TV ad spend, and especially their investment into their social media efforts among other campaigns. Look at companies like Red Bull who plaster their brand over an ever-growing stable of extreme athletes. An eCommerce business probably has an additional goal they can utilize social media for branding purposes, and also as a way to drive traffic to their website which will ideally lead to a web sale. So, the first place to start for any business is to determine your goals, determine what the metrics are to measure those goals, then you can start to determine the ROI of your social media efforts.
Setting Social Media Goals
As branding should the goal of nearly every business, there are a few good metrics you can use to help determine if social media is working in your favor. Reach on Facebook is one great metric to look at. Reach is simply the number of fans and followers you have that had the ooportunity to see your post. So how do you boost reach? Since the life of the average post on Facebook is around 1-3 hours, you should be posting when your fans are online the most. Looking at your Facebook Insights is the best place to look for this data. This is a great metric to look at on a regular basis. Just like a TV commercial, you want the most amount of people to see your posts.
Social Media Engagement
These are the actual interactions people have with your posts across all your social networks. To calculate, add up all these interactions such as Likes, Comments, Shares, Retweets, and so on and divide that number by your total number of fans across all these social networks. And why is this an important metric to track? Many studies show that users who engage most often with a brand tend to view the brand in a positive light. And those people are also more likely to make a purchase from that brand, and recommend that brand to their friends. And while most social networks these days have made it harder for brands to increase “organic” engagement through algorithm changes, improving engagement of your posts is due in large part to one central theme…better content=more enagement. In other words, give people what they want, or solve pain points and you will see engagement go up.
Traffic to your website (or store)
While driving traffic to your website shouldn’t be the only goal of your social media efforts, nor should it be the primary source of content, ultimately you should track how people are coming to your website by way of social media channels. One easy way to track this is looking at your Google Analytics account, and look at the Social Network Referrals page. This will show you exactly how many people came to your website by clicking a link within a given social media channel. From there you can then see which links people clicked on in that social channel. This can tell you not only the number of referral clicks from that channel, but also what type of content is resonating with people. If you want to dial in even deeper, you can create individual link campaigns in Google Analytics. You can do this by creating unique tracking URLs for each social channel to see which channel is working best, and also which is leading to the most sales or conversions. This way you can get even more granular about which social channels are driving click-thrus, and also what type of content is resonating more with your followers.
A coversion is simply defined as an action on your website that you want people to take. It could be an email sign up, a PDF download, a new potential lead, a completed sale, time spent on a page, or even a video view. While many businesses want sales directly from social media, this attitude is gradually changing and greater importance is being placed on non-financial aspects of social media marketing. Conversions are another metric that can be tracked within Google Analytics once you have determined what conversions you want to track, and creating those goals to track. That entire process is for another day, but setting up goals and conversion tracking in Google Analytics is imperative in measuring effectivenes for your social media ROI.
While this may not be a primary goal of your social media efforts, or even a goal you create to determine ROI, there will be some who want to know exactly how much in sales is directly attributable to your social media efforts. One thing I would caution against, is only using sales as a measurement of social media ROI. This might be a tougher sell to some CEOs who are primarily focused on top line growth. While this can be a key metric to track for businesses who sell products or services directly on their website, it might not be a metric for someone like a restaurant whose sales come 100% from offline activity. There are ways for restaurants, storefronts, bars, and other offline business to at least measure individual campaigns that you run from say a Facebook page. A good example might be running a coupon or offer where social media is the only place to pick up such a deal. From there you can calculate how many coupons/offers were brought in and how much in sales those tickets generated. But for those wishing to measure sales in their online channels where they can attribute to social media efforts, it can be slightly more daunting. Utilizing Google Analytics, and under Reporting<Acquisition<Social<Conversions tabs, you would be able to see those people who were referred by a social network, and consequently those visits led to a sale conversion. This is just one way to measure revenue attributable to social media activity, or sales ROI.
You can see from some recent surveys from current CMOs which metrics are most important to measure social media ROI, and there are a couple in there that are revenue related.
To figure a true cost, or ROI, of your social efforts as it relates to sales or actual revenue generated, you also need to know what you are spending in and on your social media efforts. But again, this is but one aspect of social media ROI; using revenue as metric to track. The easy and most basic way to calculate this is a simple math formula:
Social Media Revenue ROI(%) = (Revenue Generated from social media – Cost of social media marketing)/Cost of social media marketing
So, if you generated $1000 in sales, and those sales cost you $800, your ROI would be 25%
You also need to determine which costs are associated with these efforts and campaigns. Examples of costs would include time or labor, agency costs, advertising spend, and any additional marketing spend such as product giveaways or subcriptions.
We always advise using 3-5 metrics that are important to your business goals, especially when you have higher ups who want to know what the value of social media is on a regular basis. This list and article is not an exhaustive list on the metrics you can use to help determine an ROI of your social media efforts, but it should at the very least, get you started in the right direction.
A report is something you can create in an Excel sheet, but I always recommend using graphs and graphics whenever possible as a way to better visualize the data, and make it more consumable. In this case, a PowerPoint might give you the power to show how your efforts are helping your ROI and prove the worth of your efforts. If you don’t the time or ability to create the proper reporting on measuring your goals and specific metrics, it may be time to consider hiring agency for some or all of your social media efforts.
Utilizing an agency like iWeSocial, you have the advantage of not only years of expertise, but also the software and platforms to go deeper into the data and how you measure your social media ROI. We have the ability to look at the things that matter most to the CMOs marketing executives, such as in the previous image. Things like social influence, brand sentiment, brand mentions across the internet, virality, competitive analysis, and many other deeper dive indicators that can elevate your social media across all channels.
While vanity metrics such as “Likes” seem to consume most any business’ social strategy, taking the time to sit down and create a set of goals and metrics to track those goals will not only help you determine an ROI of your social media efforts, it will also give you a path to elevate your social media efforts and even surpass your goals. The data is there, now it’s up to you to make the time to use it, report it, and make actionable insights for optimum results. You will not only save time, but you will become more productive with time and most likely, you will see an increase in revenue as a result. But if you don’t have the time or expertise, don’t throw darts at a wall and hope for the best. Hire someone who can do this and you will reap the rewards. Social media is here to stay, so you may as well use it to grow your business.
Author: Eric Graham, Digital Marketing Manager, iWeSocial
If you have any questions about calculating ROI, get a better ROI return, how to elevate your social media efforts, or dig even deeper to make better insights from truckloads of data, you should give us a call. We can help, and we can drastically improve your ROI. 720.880.5492 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no obligation consult.
We live on coffee here at iWeSocial headquarters, and because of that coffee will our topic of conversation in the coming weeks and through November. Our biggest report will start next week as we analyze the social media activity of several popular coffee brands. But this week we wanted to take a look at Starbucks annual polarizing event we like to call “A call to a cup”. This years’ entry is the now famed Green Cup.
The cup became available last week and is represented by commissioned artwork from Shogo Ota. The entire drawing on the cup is one single line meant to represent “shared humanity and connection…” And as usual, the annual controversy started early with a leaked release of a photo. Even the media has jumped on the bandwagon, most likely to generate clicks and capitalize on all the conversations and searches. Look at all the negative headlines just doing a simple “Starbucks Cup” search:
So, based on all this perceived negative sentiment around a simple disposable coffee cup, we wanted to see for ourselves what conversations were happening, and if in fact the overall sentiment was negative as many of the online news outlets would like you to believe. Using our software and our Stream product, we set up a simple query on Wednesday afternoon so we could watch in real-time all the conversations as they were happening.
In the image below, what you are seeing are the mentions of the green cup as they are happening. Red indicates negative sentiment, green represents positive sentiment, and blue is neutral or simple general commenting. The size of the bubble represents someone’s influence which factors numbers of followers, website visitors, and engagement numbers. Here is what we are seeing across social media, rss blogs, and other sites where conversations are happening:
As you can see, covering mentions of the past couple days, the sentiment is overwhelmingly positive and neutral combined which we’re sure is exactly how Starbucks wants it. And with the amount of impressions and conversations people are having about the cup, this would be deemed a victory for their design and marketing team. All hail free advertising and social impressions!
The next image taken from our Stream platform, shows some of top hashtags associated with mentions of the “green cup”, trending keywords, positive and negative terms associated with the mentions, and also those people who are talking about the topic. This includes Donald Trump and NBC News Commentary:
In the next image, we are looking at some the influencers who are talking about the cup, along with the reach of those people and brands in a single post or comment.
In the next couple images, we have a sampling of the Tweets and Instagram posts as they are happening, and the content included within those posts. We have no way of knowing if Starbucks and their team are closely monitoring the conversations, but they should be. It’s an easy way to find your company’s ambassadors and a reason connect with them. Our platform allows you to do that right from the interface too.
The moral of the story, is that negative headlines most likely will draw clicks to the respective websites, and some may say these outlets might even be trying to incite the negativity to help themselves generate more reach and impressions, but the data rarely lies. Overall, the sentiment is generally positive and neutral. Starbucks is generating a ton of exposure that many think, or would like you to think, that a simple green cup with one-line artwork is taking down a coffee behemoth. On the contrary. Looking at our data, and the recent lines at our local Starbucks, they are going to be just fine. At least until next Thursday (Nov.10th) when the new red holiday cups arrive in your local Starbucks, and we start it all over again. But this time, the red cups will offer a buy one get one on all their eligible holiday drinks from Nov.10-14. That leaves us to wonder what the negative headlines will be with a free holiday drink offer on Nov.10?? “Starbucks free eggnog lattes causing major outrage at local chicken farms”? But we will still look at the data no matter what the negative headlines say.
If you would like to see a demo of Stream and how it can benefit your business by using social media as a customer service and brand tool, contact us at 720.880.5492 or email our team at email@example.com. Read more about Stream HERE
Social Listening report for Stanford University and the 2016 Rio Olympics
We recently completed a small project for Stanford University that we are allowed to share, and we thought would be interesting for others to see potentially how not just businesses use social listening to make better decisions and create operational efficiencies, but also world-class universities like Stanford. In this case, Stanford asked us to create a a short report using our IQ product that scans Twitter and other social media sites, to track mentions and useful hashtags related to current and former Stanford athletes who were competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Not only was Stanford interested in the number of mentions of “Stanford” when associated with one of its’ athletes, but also the engagement in those posts with the mention of “Stanford”. Next Stanford wanted to try and assign a monetary value of all those mentions, and the reach of all those mentions. Here is a slideshare presentation of that preliminary report summary that we developed based on the data queries of our software platform:
A few of the Insights we gathered from just a basic preliminary report:
Potential total impressions were 825,610,389 (only includes a 10% Twitter Sample).
Stanford athlete success (and subsequent conversation) during the Rio Olympics provided great exposure and opportunity for the University.
Comparison of other PAC-12 schools was popular, particularly with CAL.
Stanford Athletes were highlighted many times in articles from traditional local (Bay Area) online publications (slide 3).
64% of mentions came from California followed by 8% from New York.
Individual athletes like Lucy Davis and Simone Manuel were popular figures.
While assigning a dollar value to impressions can be difficult, we made an assumption that the cost of 1000 impressions (CPM) would normally cost around $5 based on what many advertisers charge. Given this amount, 825 million+ potential impressions would be north of $165,000. I’d say Stanford made out pretty well where the Olympics were concerned.