Strategies 101

Benchmarking: If You Don’t Know Where You Are, How Will You Know Where You’re Going?

Benchmarking: If You Don’t Know Where You Are, How Will You Know Where You’re Going?
By December 16, 2010 Strategies 101

LEADING THOUGHTS In a recent post, we discussed the importance of tracking and listening to social media. As a follow-up, I’d like to take a stab at attacking measurement. Although both listening and measurement stem from tracking social media, there are differences between the two. In one of my articles for Mashable, I wrote about these differences. The short of the story is that the main difference is intent: for listening, the intent is to discover what people are saying in realtime and prioritizing for follow up. For measurement, however, the intent is to recap metrics, track performance over time and against competitors. In this post, I discuss the steps you can take to successfully measure social media. To recap, these steps are:

  1. 1) Have a goal
  2. 2) Align your team members, other teams, and leadership
  3. 3) Always consider context
  4. 4) Select platform wisely
  5. 5) Conduct a social media audit
  6. 6) Dig deeper
  7. 7) Do A/B testing

In this post, I want to address benchmarking, without which metrics is meaningless. Benchmarking provides the context that you need in order to make metrics meaningful. Imagine you start measuring social media, and you discover that you had 1,000 social media mentions in all channels. Now what? Is that good or bad? I have no idea! To really understand this, you need context. What’s customary for a product like yours? How much buzz is the product category garnering? How does it compare to your own performance? Let’s dig in and figure out what you should be benchmarking against.
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All Ears: Listening Is One Part Science, Two Parts Art

All Ears: Listening Is One Part Science, Two Parts Art
By December 8, 2010 Strategies 101

hand LEADING THOUGHTS Back in the day, businesses could afford to keep an arm’s length from their customers. While just about every company waxed poetic about customer support and being customer-centric, for most it was simple rhetoric, something people wanted to hear. Customer support and sales were the only departments that were really and truly touching the customer, listening and responding to the customer, whether he or she was happy or somehow unhappy about the experience. Our CEO Jon Ferrara likes to refer to this as the “castle analogy”, where companies tried to keep the customer away with castle walls, moats and artillery. Now that social media has played an equalizing role, bringing companies and customers together, the castle walls are successfully coming down. You can’t engage with anyone — a customer, or a prospect, or a partner — until you really learn how to listen. And by that, I mean really listen and really hear. When someone tells you that there’s a technical issue with your product, don’t simply shrug it off and chalk it up to user error. Make sure you 1) dig in and really understand the issue, 2) empathize with the customer, 3) establish a guideline of what to expect in terms of resolution, 4) communicate the issue back to the relevant team members and 5) keep the communication loop going back and forth.
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