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Social Media Measurement, Thoughts & Ideas


Over 200 people will fill the Jepson Auditorium at Gonzaga tonight to discuss how social media has changed the face of business. It should be a great discussion as social media has evolved to a point where it does positively impact many businesses. But how? What are the businesses trying to achieve? I hear a lot of comments like these:

“I just gotta get on Facebook! I feel like I’m behind the curve.”

“I need a Twitter strategy,… Now!”

But that’s not true. You don’t HAVE to be on Facebook or Twitter. The answer is,… it depends. Yeah, it might be a good idea for your business. It might be a super-duper awesome idea. But where is your audience? What are your goals?  My Local University amigo Matt McGee always has the same answer when asked about social media platforms.

Be on the social media platforms where your customers are. 

Yep, good advice. For example, Chris Reilly and I performed a social media audit for a client a few years back to measure the effectiveness of their internal social media efforts. Guess what? 93% of their audience was blocked at the firewall. Their particular industry is pretty conservative and the big bosses don’t want their people on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. Blocked at the firewall. Dang. But guess what? They were on old-school technical forums and still go to industry events. Lesson learned: go where your customers are.

But there’s a question even more important than where to go.

Why?

I don’t hear a lot of talk about “the why” so I thought this would be a good opportunity to throw out a few reasons for businesses to put forth a social media effort and how to measure effectiveness.

1) Mitigate Risk

Social media is real-time customer service rocket fuel! Have a potential PR issue? Have a mad customer ready to rant online to the hungry, drooling masses about how much you suck? Social media has an amazing ability to cut that off at the pass. Because guess what,… even with the best of intentions things go wrong from time to time. But now businesses are able to stop PR disasters before they even start. This prevents bad reviews, bad news reports and ultimately helps protect their reputation.

This comes down to delivering awesome real-time customer service.

Where once a bad customer experience would be re-told to ten people it now has potential to reach tens of thousands (or even more if it goes truly viral). Preventing this from happening (in my opinion) is the most important aspect of social media for many mid-size to large companies. As Mike Blumenthal often says, “Once you had to treat the customer right. Now, you have to treat them right-er.”

How do you measure treating your customers right-er? Reviews.

I’ve worked with Paul Warner at Northern Quest for the past year. As part of of his responsibilities Paul has been responding to issues that have come up from time to time via Facebook and Twitter. In addition, he has responded to every online review of the hotel they could find with another member of the Northern Quest team. Here’s a look at that impact on Trip Advisor alone:

1.4          Star Rating of average “bad tone” reviews prior to 2012 (65 reviews)
2.6          Star rating of average “bad tone” review for the past 12 months (63 reviews)86% Improvement

4.27          Overall Star Rating for reviews prior to 2012
4.43          Overall Star Rating for reviews in the past 12 months

3.75% Improvement (While this is a smaller percentage 4.43 is almost 4.5 stars. I’ll bet this makes an impact.)

Like I mentioned earlier, things happen from time to time. By addressing them head-on a business can own the issue, whatever it is. It also keeps that review based more on facts and less on emotion. Here’s an example of a response to a hotel guest that wrote in their review that their room was too hot:

After reading your review, we checked into the temperature controls in our rooms. Each room is set to 68 degrees upon a guest’s arrival, but the temperature can be adjusted from 35 to 95 degrees. After a guest checks out of the room, the temperature is set back to 68 degrees.

Now this doesn’t fix the issue for this particular guest. But it shows other that they actually read their online reviews and respond accordingly. Here’s an example of how Paul and the Northern Quest team handled a power outage and unplanned fire alarms:

“We had a bit of anger stemming from a power outage incident on the floor and hotel as well as some unplanned fire alarms. We dealt with them via Facebook and Twitter (in addition to staff on the floor). We had to deal with complaints about tickets not getting cashed out, not being able to check in, having to leave machines, not able to get tickets etc. We were able to respond and share information in real time with them as to how we were resolving issues and to whom to talk regarding concerns on the floor/hotel. We addressed all issues within an hour of the incident(s) and had most people thanking us for info and response.”

Obviously a lot is in-play when it comes to what causes a good hotel review and/or preventing a bad review. Northern Quest has improved top to bottom in terms of providing exceptional customer service. Not all of this can be attributed to addressing reviews and preventing bad reviews via social media. Still, it has a definite impact.

2) Extend Brand 

All companies have a vibe in addition to services and products they want to sell. Generating a larger following of people that are aware of, and are interested in your brand is good for business. And by brand I mean everything about your business and the individuals who are publicly a part of it. At Local University our brand is based on our expert knowledge of SEO, Local Search, and how we can help businesses learn more about online marketing strategies and tactics to succeed. We want to be known as content experts. We also want to be known as nice, generous, approachable people. Blogging is a big way for us to extend our brand by creating valuable content. One of the ways we track that is by a dashboard called “Blog Intent.”

As you can see, we know how many visitors read our blog posts, where they come from, what they read, and if they have interest in us putting on a seminar in their city. Nice! That’s a handy little dashboard.

3) Create Dialog

Genuine two-way communication is possible now like never before. In the 90’s most sales people would say “If I could just get them on the phone I’d have a good chance of selling our products/services.” We now have a much better opportunity for that first conversation. But notice I didn’t list the goal as “selling.” Yes, people have sold things via social media, but (in my opinion) often at the expense of chasing others away with their chatter and over-selling. Yet, social media does provide an great first interaction with a prospective customer to learn about what you have to offer. And this can be measured with “assisted conversions” and other techniques. Awesome! Because it takes a team to sell well. You wouldn’t want five point guards or five power forwards. But put them together and you have pure magic. Or Jazz :)

It’s great that everyone is getting together to talk about the state of social media in Spokane. I hope this helps plant a few seeds of thought around the why and a few ideas how to measure your campaign. For those interested in leaning more about how to measure via analytics we’ll be teaching a Google Analytics class on April 18th from 11:30am to 1pm at the Nector Tasting Room for $39. Fill out our contact form and say you saw about it at  the Social Media Event at Gonzaga and the cost is $29.

Why Get Listed University Works for Business Owners

The Get Listed Faculty at O'Doherty's the night before the 1st Get Listed University event.

Get Listed University has presented to nearly 2,000 business owners and marketing professionals since our innagural event in Spokane in February of 2010. It’s been amazing to be part of such an A-List team. It’s a priveledge (and absolute blast) to get to spend time with these wonderful people five or six times a year at these events. But what’s been even more incredible is talking with business owners over the years and being in a position to help. I’ve been thinking about Get Listed University a lot recently and wanted to put together a quick summary of why I think Get Listed University is so valued by business owners.

1) No Pitches. Ever.
I go to a lot of conferences. Nothing makes mad like traveling to a conference, paying the price of admission, and then getting pitched by a presenter. At Get Listed there are no “back of the room” sales, no pitching of our services in any way, and no uttering the cardinal sin of the conference upsell world,… “We’ll be covering that at the follow-up conference for just X dollars. Register today!” Nope. That just ain’t our style.

2) We Don’t Hold Back Any Content.
Not only do we not hold back content, we continue to find ways to provide even more content for business owners to use to their advantage. For example, this year we have created a more formal structure for our site clinics to really maximize it so you’ll have more time to ask any of our experts 1-on-1 questions about YOUR website.

3) We Provide Actionable Information & Real Case Studies
This information is not collegiate theory. You will literally be able to take these insights and apply them immediatelly to your business the following day. We use examples highlighting how real businesses use these strategies to improve their business. In fact, David is unveiling a new presentation in Spokane called “Prioritizing Your S*!t” that provides a roadmap of actions that will guide you along your way to online greatness.

4) The Faculty are Amazing!
I’m not kidding when I say how fortunate I feel to be part of this team. At times I feel like snuck in the back of the pickup when they left for town – and now they’re stuck with me :) These folks are the best in the business! We are so fortunate to have them back in Spokane again.

5) We Know & Respect Business.
We know running a business is hard. I believe all us have either owned a business in the past or are current business owners. We know it’s tough to committ a day to learn about online marketing and we work very hard to make every second count. We keep finding new ways to improve the events for our attendees. For example, for the Spokane event this year we added social media and paid search as well as expanded our site clinics.

Bonus) We Do Our Best to Make it a Dang Good Time!
We know your brains will be full by the end of the day. But we balance your efforts with a good dose of humor, enough food and snacks to keep you fueled up, personalized Q&A, and an awesome networking happy hour to close the event out right! It’s also important to note that our speakers don’t take themselves too seriously and are approachable the entire day with any questions you have for them.

What t-shirt will Mike Blumenthal be wearing this year? Oh, the suspense!

We look forward to seeing you at Get Listed this year! If you have any questions about the event please feel free to call the Sixth Man Marketing office at 509-624-5580 or going directly to the Get Listed University website.

Get Listed University – Spokane Agenda Video Preview

Get Listed University – April 27th, 2012

Location: Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Time: Friday, April 27th from 8am to 5pm
Cost: $199 (Save $50 by entering “SIXTHMAN” as your discount code at checkout.)
Agenda: Complete Get Listed Spokane Agenda
Capacity: The event is limited to 100 people and will likely sell-out. Register now!
Registration: Call (509) 624-5580 with any questions about registration or register on the Get Listed Website today!

We’re really looking to this year’s Get Listed Event. I’m excited knowing that I’ll get to hang out with the Get Listed Crew again soon. And so can you! These are some really amazing people, folks.

Spokane Club November 11th Event Preview

How to Navigate the Waters of Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Social Media to Generate New Business.”

I’ll be speaking at the Spokane Club on November 11th at 7am for their Breakfast Networking Series. Spokane Mayor Mary Verner gave a great presentation this week about the city budget and future plans. Next week I’m going to do my part to increase Spokane’s tax base by teaching local business owners how to use online marketing to increase revenue.  I realize there has been a lot of buzz recently around social media, SEO, and online marketing in general, so I wanted to create a short video to preview a bit of the content I’ll be covering during my presentation. For those of you that have seen me present before, you know that I don’t hold back when it comes to content. If you want to understand how to use online marketing to generate business for your company I’ll help provide the roadmap, tools, and resources to succeed. I look forward to seeing you there!

Spokane Club Nov 11th Networking Breakfast Preview – Ed Reese from Ed Reese on Vimeo.

To learn more about the event, please feel free to call Debra at the Spokane Club (509-838-8511).

Spokane CVB Social Media Event – Resources & Info

It’s always insightful to speak to a new group of people at an industry event.  I’ve found that It’s sometimes easy to get entrenched within my own four walls and lose touch with the information that people really need to help their businesses succeed.  During the Q&A session someone asked the question that was on everyones minds:

“Can you provide a simple guide to help business owners in Spokane understand how to use social media?  You know,… no industry jargon, no tech-speak, just simple how-to-get-started information that business owners can quickly digest and implement?”

When I said YES the entire rooms gave a collective “sigh.”  So, without further ado, here it is:

7 Steps to Getting Started, Finding your Voice, and Generating Business with Social Media.

1)  Find your flavor(s) and get started.

Without re-capping everything from today’s presentations, I’d like to sum it up by merely saying use what works best for you.  In my case it’s primarily Twitter & Linkedin.  But, I have also found great value in Biznik and LaunchPad.  In fact, I’m about to dive into the deep end of the LaunchPad pool.  As a Spokane Social Networking Site, it’s a no-brainer to join LaunchPad.  Your choice just depends on your personal taste and industry.  For example, musicians, actors, and celebrities still have great success using MySpace, but it personally annoys me beyond belief.  I use Facebook to communicate with family & friends and try to keep business out of it, but know several people using Facebook with a good amount of business success.  Again, it’s all about finding the right platform(s) for your own personal taste.

2) Pimp your profile

Create a unique and customized profile.  Fill out relevant details and provide supportive links.  Much has been written on this topic.  Here are few guides: How to Pimp Your Twitter Profile, Linkedin Profile Tips, Facebook Profile Guide.

3) Set a consistent and realistic posting schedule

A lot of people get really excited about the latest/greatest social networking site and post like crazy for a month or so and then quit.  Others find it intimidating and never get started in the first place.  I’d recommend finding sites that you’re comfortable with and genuinly believe you’ll use.  Then set a posting schedule.  Just make sure it’s a realistic one based on your workload and desire to contribute content.  Here are a few great reads: Lessons Learned from 3 Years of Blogging, Scheduling Social Media Efforts.

4) Take it off-line

I’ve found this to be the most effective.  It’s much like dating on Match.com… You haven’t really had your first date until you’ve met in person.  Sure, there are many benefits from being on Twitter and other social media sites without meeting someone in person (exposure, increased relevant connections, etc.).  I’ve just found that the in-person meetings are what have created (by far) the most work and overall impact to my business.  These are connections that started online but developed into friendships and professional ties in my industry.  The Real Power of Twitter does a great job of summarizing these benefits.

5) Contribute and Connect

If you contribute great content in a consistent manner over time you will generate a following.  It really is that simple.  There are a handful of people that post content that I absolutely look forward to reading.  Be one of those people.

6) Understand Analytics

Don’t feel bad if your social media web sites aren’t producing great results online.  They tend to not perform as well in the ROI category compared to direct traffic and search.  The best post I’ve seen regarding social media and ROI is from Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz.  It goes into great detail regarding how social media ROI compares with other avenues.  I recommend reading the entire article as well as the numerous comments. Install an analytics platform (like Google Analytics), watch the Google Analytic Training Videos, and if you really get into it, read Avinash Kaushik’s blog Occam’s Razor.  It’s amazing!

7) How to use social media to make money and/or increase business

I think social media is very similar to Public Relations in that both have a pretty difficult time claiming a direct correlation between their efforts and revenue.  However, from a business reach and exposure standpoint, the impact is HUGE!  When performed effectively, it puts your business in front of the right audience of potential clients, develops trust, and helps foster relationships.  And when it comes right down to it, people still buy from people.  Though we have all this new technology and ways to connect online, it still comes down to relationships, trust, and offering a great product or service.

I hope this has been a helpful guide/follow-up to today’s Social Media Panel.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  I’m happy to provide additional details.  A big thanks to Visit Spokane for inviting me to be part of the panel.  Definitely follow them on Twitter @visitspokane to see an example of a great social media effort.