Launching an important business campaign is a massive effort. When everything is signed off and you’re about to hit the ‘go’ button, it’s exciting. How much visibility will you gain? Is the messaging strong enough to increase conversion? How will the campaign improve the overall perception of your brand? As any new campaign leaves the gates, these are the questions that will be bouncing around your head.
But once the campaign launches, hypotheticals go out the window. Now it’s time to turn those aspirations into reality. Now it’s time to monitor your campaign and make adjustments on the fly to improve the campaign’s performance.
But optimizing and boosting campaigns on the fly is a thorny problem. How can you get real-time data to tell you what’s working and what’s not — and more importantly, why?
The answer is social media analytics, and in this post we’ll lay out a simple framework for how brands and agencies can use social media data to measure and improve active campaigns.
The artificial intelligence engines behind SMA never sleep. There is a constant flow of data from whatever channels you’ve chosen to watch. No more waiting. You can analyze campaign response in real time. This information is the perfect way to see what’s working and what should be tweaked while there is plenty of time to make adjustments.
Plan for Change
Even the most meticulously planned campaign will hit some speed bumps. There are too many unknowns to plan for every contingency. In fact, the best planning is like looking down the road with blinders on. You can’t really see the entire field until the race begins. The common cliche around this situation is that ‘no battle plan survives after the first shot has been fired.’ So how can Social Media Analytics make this inevitability less of a liability and more of an asset? Because, the ability to accurately monitor consumer engagement with a campaign and to make adjustments along the way is powerful. It’s a never-seen-before process that brings an awesome tool to your picture of a campaign. An eraser. You get to fix things!
Campaign Optimization with Social Media Analytics
Here are three areas that when carefully monitored can suggest changes or major course corrections to campaigns in progress. We’ve inserted an IFTTT section after each of these optimization issues as a reminder that if you’re seeing surprises, it could be time for a re-think.
How big is the conversation?
Who’s doing the talking?
What is the preferred platform?
How big is the conversation? At the start of a campaign, as soon as the first message has been released, get a benchmark of the size of the social conversation focusing on the factors you’ve identified as important to your campaign. This could be brand name, product name, competitive product names and activity, mentions of specific copy used in marketing, conversations about specific benefits mentioned in the campaign etc. You can use an endless number of ‘tags’ to filter the conversation in a way that tells you how many people are talking about anything related to your campaign. Be sure to keep an eye on the volume of the conversation as the campaign continues. The timing of any ups and downs could reveal important insights.
If the initial increase in chatter is not sufficient:
IFTTT: Make certain that your brand and brand benefits are clearly stated and that the initial volley of the campaign is reaching enough of your prospects. Are there other channels you’re not utilizing that could help jumpstart the conversation? Does the message need to be broadened?
Who’s doing the talking? It’s simple and enormously valuable to know the gender, age and geographic distribution of the people you’re hoping to engage with your campaign. But just as valuable is the depth of consumer knowledge that Social Media Analytics can offer, and it goes well beyond simple demographics.
Social Media Analytics lets you paint highly detailed portraits of your consumers. You can discover what they liked or didn’t like about your messaging. You can find out if they are sharing anything relevant with their own personal networks. And if you want to look at a broader context, you can probably discover what kind of car they drive and what they had for breakfast. Social Media Analytics can tell you with high degree of accuracy, who’s in the conversation about your campaign.
If this group doesn’t line up with what you feel are the best prospects:
IFTTT: Because you can ‘know’ your audience so well, you now have the opportunity to study whether demographic info, or deep profile info such as affinities and interests suggest that you take a second look at your basic proposition. Does your campaign offer a clear solution to an existing problem? Is the messaging in line with the audience’s interests?
What is the preferred platform? When you start to analyze social metrics around your campaign you will be able to see which channel(s) are favored by the target audience of your campaign. Are you blowing up Twitter? Are Facebook shares the most frequent means of spreading the word? Are comments on your owned channels carrying the load? Or are you organically generating earned conversation? When you find out where you’re getting the most traction, take advantage. Heavy up on sponsored content. Promote information on that channel. It’s so valuable to know where the chatter is, use that information to target people who seem to have an affinity for your message. An important factor in any campaign is opportunity cost — if you’re not seeing high engagement on a certain channel, the money you’re burning there could be better spent somewhere else.
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If no single channel stands out:
IFTTT: If the conversation about your campaign is spread out across many channels and the results are in line, leave it alone. But if you need a certain channel to dominate, test various messages and spends on that channel until you see the results you’re looking for. And don’t just look at engagement – analyze the audience behind the engagement and the sentiment of the conversation. Not all engagement is equally valuable, so make sure you’re fueling the channels that are not only generating engagement, but leading to positive conversation and impacting consumers’ intent to purchase.
Uninterrupted Campaign Optimization
In the past, monitoring a campaign has been, at best, an inexact science.
You’d be relying on numbers and second-hand information that is difficult to decipher and harder to act upon. And, if you do get reliable campaign performance data — YoY sales figures, say, or brand health gains — they are typically lagging indicators, 6 months out of date by the time you see them at all.
Social Media Analytics changes all that. It gives you 20/20 view of your campaign in progress. That’s how optimization becomes inevitable.
Download the full guide: The Modern Guide to Planning, Optimizing and Measuring Campaign Performance