3 Key Takeaways from #SMWNYC16
I had an awesome time attending Social Media Week NYC. The conference was full of inspiring ideas and lessons; a few of which I want to pass on. Here are my 3 key takeaways from SMW NYC '16:
Proving ROI Is Still a Problem for Social Marketers
Your c-level executives might not necessarily be immersed in social media, unless they’re John Legere (T-Mobile CEO), of course, and therefore won’t view these platforms the same way experienced social marketers do.
That can easily, and often does, create contradictory ways of evaluating performance. Often times, these two groups look at data points from key performance indicators and attribute two completely different values to them.
This problem occurs when the platforms are not only understood differently but also when the data is being evaluated with different end-goals in mind.
A social marketer might be intrigued by a rise in engagement rate, but what does that mean for the CEO? A senior executive might look at a significant improvement in reach and think “Great, but that didn’t directly help me sell more products.”
To avoid that, it’s important for social marketers to convert metrics into KPIs everyone else in the organization can understand from a business standpoint. This can be done by renaming and explaining each KPI so that they prove how they're accomplishing business goals.
Matthew Zito of Synthesio recommends identifying and using up to 5 metrics that most closely align with the business goals of your organization.
If the CEO wants the social team to generate leads, then it might be wise to look at social traffic to a landing page. If the c-level executives are interested in improving brand reputation the answer might be to compare consumer sentiment against the performance of competitors by monitoring brand conversations.
Whatever it might be, it’s the job of the social marketer to identify appropriate metrics and effectively communicate results in business terms.
Translating metrics into a language everyone can understand not only helps prove ROI, it also makes this information useful for making decisions in all parts of the organization.
We need to Test, Optimize and then Test Some More
There was a common thread among many of the speakers at Social Media Week NYC 2016; run tests frequently.
To improve results it’s vital to deliberately strive for it. The best way to do that on social media is to constantly measure performance, identify patterns of success and optimize efforts based on what you've learned.
When testing is done regularly, best practices and strategies will become apparent. Optimizing the next piece of content based on what you’ve learned will also help decide how and what to do next.
With this method, content creation and sharing becomes a calculated process with more predictable results.
And don’t be afraid to run a lot of tests, as this will speed up the learning process and reveal more best practices. Rachel Christensen of Buzzfeed said it the best:
If you’re starting from scratch, start with your gut feeling. Make educated guesses on what you think will perform well and then draw conclusions from those results. From that point on the optimization process begins.
This might be easier said than done as many social teams face constraints and regulations, but nonetheless we should all strive to run lots of experiments.
Brand Advocates are Extremely Powerful
In the last couple of years we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of brand advocates, and for good reason.
Both internal (employees), and external (super fans), have the potential to become extremely powerful advocates when they're supplied with the right ammunition.
Not only can they have a powerful reach, they can also help you gain valuable insights, amplify your social activity, engage costumers as individuals and generate trust.
Hootsuite's Candice Charleton revealed her company's approach for building a strong advocacy program:
Hootsuite recommends identifying key members of you community, and then exploring their interests in your business.
To nurture and build relationships with advocates, you have to enable them to engage with your brand by giving them opportunities they're interested in. Therefore, it's important to listen and act on the information you gather, so you can best serve them.
As a company you want to create meaningful experiences that delight both the advocates and the brand.
You can do that by making content readily available to be shared. The goal should be to build a framework that makes that process seamless for advocates.
Hootsuite has also had success hosting meet-ups and other gatherings that bring advocates and brand together.
To measure the success of advocacy programs, you can look at participation rates, volume and sentiment of conversations on social media or volume of user-generated posts and shares.
Just be sure to align your advocacy goals with your business goals.
What did you learn from Social Media Week?