Will McInnes, the CMO of Brandwatch, shared insights at Connect via Hootsuite on how social intelligence can be used to capture potential customers early in the buyer journey.
Afterward, we sat down with him to learn more about social listening, measurement, and the impact social can have on marketing strategy.
Q&A with the CMO of Brandwatch
When it comes to social data, are vanity metrics truly dead? What kinds of things should organizations be tracking and measuring now?
It’s not that vanity metrics are dead, it’s that they are the “what” and now marketers are thinking hard about the “so what?” and the “now what?”
Social media measurement is more than counting a number that reflects how many individuals have proverbially liked or commented or engaged with a post or piece of content.
Brand marketers and agency professionals alike are trying to get to the heart of the truth of what a like really means, and what the sentiment and intent is behind any action taken on social media.
Social measurement also encompasses so much more than vanity metrics which speak to content impact. Sophisticated marketers know that marketing impact and business impact are incredibly important when it comes to social measurement. For example, business impact deals with affect on revenue and brand health. Don’t just take it from me, independent research firm Forrester analyst Jessica Liu provides more detail on social measurement in her recent blog There Are no ‘Right’ Social KPIs.
What should businesses do about the ‘unmeasurable’ impact of social media?
There are myriad ways to acknowledge the impact of social media for social campaigns, campaign amplification, and for overall brand health. I believe that businesses should be focusing on outcomes rather than simply looking at numbers.
How can they do this?
By outlining specific KPIs, or key performance indicators for those that aren’t familiar with the acronym. Identifying a goal—whether that’s increased Facebook page likes, a certain number of video shares for an influencer testimonial, or traffic referrals from paid search—will allow your business to not only measure the impact of social media but also focus efforts to achieve an outcome that will have a real impact. It’s all about aligning with your overarching business goals, which every department should be aiming to do even separately from social.
When setting specific KPIs, you need to begin by asking the question: what is your ultimate goal? What action do you want people to take? Comment on a video? Buy a product? Share a picture? Do you want one specific influencer to increase your reach twofold? Three times?
Knowing what you want to achieve based on real business goals will help you set and meet KPIs for social media.
How else can audience insights, especially from social, be used beyond creating better targeted marketing?
One of the most undervalued but useful applications of audience insights is creating content, campaigns, and products that people are clamoring for—voiced via online posts, reviews, and other mentions.
How, you ask?
By learning and then speaking the language of the masses. Learn to talk the talk.
While we may understand a slew of acronyms and have jargon-filled documents and presentations at our disposal, consumers may be using completely different language to discuss your brand, your industry, or relevant trends for your products.
Brands can build more authentic relationships with their consumers by speaking their language through deep analysis of how, where, when and in what ways they are communicating across the public social sphere.
Another great way to utilize audience insights is to find the right influencers. I know, I know—everyone is sick of hearing about influencer marketing. But that’s because many people are approaching it from an unrealistic understanding of what it is and how to execute an effective influencer strategy.
Word of mouth (WOM) marketing is considered to be one of the most effective marketing tactics.
And what many marketers overlook is the need for micro-influencers—those individuals that may not have huge, household name recognition, don’t cost a fortune to work with, and aren’t counting their blog and Twitter followers in the tens of thousands.
Micro-influencers are those experts in a field that is highly relevant to your brand and your goals.
These are just a few of the numerous ways to apply audience insights to areas within marketing and throughout the entire business. I’ve seen great use of social audience insights in product R&D teams to calibrate teams to focus on high priority feature updates that consumers are discussing online. Audience insight truly does hold a bounty of consumer data that can help businesses work smarter and faster.
What does the future hold for social intelligence? What’s the next big trend, tool, or tactic that brands should watch out for?
We’ve heard talk of predictive analytics in the social intelligence space for years now, yet we’ve come so far in other vital areas. I think we’re definitely going to see advances in automated and intelligent reporting that gets us closer to our customers and prepares us for unexpected and crisis situations.
And image analysis is an area that is on the precipice of being truly valuable to marketers. Certainly it’s useful to have the ability to detect your brand’s logo in untagged posts and mentions, especially when there isn’t much text content to analyze around the context of an image or video. There’s so much more we as marketers need from image analysis beyond simply recognizing a logo.
I’m also excited about the data science behind intent to purchase and intent to share to get to the heart of the emotional drivers and reasoning as to why certain posts go viral and why a consumer actually shares a brand’s post or content organically. There’s a lot in the realm of human understanding and social psychology that will help us dive deeper in this space and I for one can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Learn more from McInnes and Brandwatch by watching his presentation at Connect via Hootsuite.