“I heard Development just put up a patch for the Shellshock bash exploit.”
“Excellent! Let’s update the KB, tweet, and post on Facebook.”
“Good idea. Then we can make a quick video showing how to install it, and share it on our YouTube channel.”
It’s great that we can communicate through social. But it raises a question: how do we measure our effectiveness? (Here we’re talking about measuring social media for support; we blogged on measuring support communities earlier.) Social media efforts should increase Net Promoter Score and retention rates, and reduce Customer Effort Score and contact rates. But it’s hard for any one activity to take credit for moving these metrics. So how do we measure the extent to which customers are finding social content valuable?
The good news is, the marketing folks have some ideas, and they work for customer support and success organizations, too. They measure reach and engagement. Specifically, they measure:
Let’s take those one at a time. In the sections below, I’ve named the specific measures for Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and YouTube respectively. LinkedIn pages and groups, as well as blogs and other social channels, are left as an exercise for the reader!
Followers | Likes | Circle Followers | Subscribers
This is pretty straightforward, and it’s a measure most people use, both because it feels good, and because most social platforms make this really easy to measure. Although it doesn’t tell the whole story, it’s a legitimate measure of how many people think that the information you’re going to share is going to be valuable. And, like repeat visits to a website, the number of followers tells you a little bit about how valuable customers think your social efforts are.
If people spread the word and your followers continue to go up, then that’s an excellent sign. If the numbers jump up one week, do you know why? Did an influencer recommend you? Is there something in the news? Even bad news can be an opportunity, if it gets people coming to you to hear what you’re saying.
If your followers stay stagnant, or worse still, you have more than a trickle of people leaving, you should ask why. Are you over-saturating the channel with content? Under communicating? Being too marketing-y? Are you more concerned about what you want to say than what your customers want to hear? It might be a good idea to find a friendly follower and ask.
Replies | Comments | Comments | Comments
Social shouldn’t be one-way communication. It should be, well, social. A great indication that social is going right is when your posts stimulate discussion: follow-ups, clarifications, intense agreement, and even dissent. Really, anything other than trolling.
So, how many responses does your average post generate? What kinds of posts stimulate good conversations?
Don’t forget to ask questions and encourage feedback in your posts. Social is kind of like a cocktail party: everyone appreciates good conversationalists who seem to genuinely care about others’ thoughts and experiences, but no one likes a know-it-all.
Favorites | Likes | +1s | Thumbs Ups
Social platforms encourage people to provide positive feedback on things they like. (Research has shown that disliking things can breed a less healthy conversation, so most social platforms only allow likes. The primary exception is YouTube, which allows people to click on Thumbs Down; YouTube comments tend to support the research!)
Applause works on two levels. The first level is just taking the feedback at face value—they liked it! Sure, it’s true that it requires only one simple click, but it does show that people engaged positively with your content. What kinds of things do you find people like?
Applause also has a second-order effect. Most people don’t see most content on social platforms. Content that has lots of applause is more likely to get in front of your intended audience—this is especially true on Facebook.
Retweets | Shares | Shares | Social Clicks
If your message can reach 1000 followers, that’s great. But if it can reach their 100,000 connections, that’s even better! The real promise of social is amplification: tapping into your network’s networks.
The benefits of amplification go way beyond reaching a larger audience. When someone shares or retweets content, they’re putting their personal brand and reputation on it. Which would you pay more attention to: an announcement from a company, or that same announcement shared by a friend, perhaps with a brief comment? In general, people listen to the people in their networks, so it’s great when they take the time to share your message. It’s also a great way to get new followers, so the cycle continues!
Reach (followers) and engagement (conversation, applause, amplification) are simple, effective ways of understanding the value you’re creating in social support. I’ll be curious to see who comments on this, likes it, or retweets it! My question to you: are you using other social measures? And what tools are you using to see your social measures all in one place?