Moving beyond ‘digital trivia’ in social media marketing

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Moving beyond ‘digital trivia’ in social media marketing

On Thursday, April 26, Gnostix took part in the Business Analytics Forum 2012 at The American School of Classical Studies. It was a fantastically well-organized event with some of the best minds in business analytics in Greece.

Whilst a lot of the talk at the event centered on big data it became glaringly obvious to us that even amongst the cream of those in data analytics industry there is still a dark void when it comes to social in that there is either no social in place, or worse, companies are stumbling blindly into social media marketing without a strategy – and hence without measurement.

Why social? We repeat the following like a mantra:

Brands that avoid social will become extinct – and those that fail to quantify the impact of their social marketing initiatives will lose contact with their customers

Companies also need to apply traditional business rules and measurements to new media. And that is why our presentation at the event focused on what we see as the main obstacles anywhere social has not yet been embraced – corporate culture, marketing strategy and analytics.

We started our presentation with corporate culture and brand strategy which I touched on in a previous post and would like to remind people of here. The 3 necessary parts to strategy are:

  • Knowledge: you must understand your brand essence/ who you are
  • Vision: you must know what you want to be
  • Insight: have insight in who you’re speaking to/ your audience (or market)

We suggest corporations start at insight, and allow actions to be determined by vision. That may all sound highly conceptual however with insight you can then define your messaging strategy. We also argue that brand is culture, which also makes it, by definition, community. Hence the drive for branding and communication must come from its ‘DNA’.

Now this is where things get interesting and where organizations often miss the boat. In the world of new media people want (and expect) conversations not broadcasts – so companies must create conversations. However it’s very difficult to humanize your brand and converse if you do not know your ‘DNA’. So, essentially a company must know why it’s doing what it’s doing – and that then determines and guides the how and what.

Why, how and what

Brands are jumping into the social space and organizations that view social marketing as experimental jeopardize their relationships with clients and customers. These same businesses are making decisions based on the new information they learn from their networks and using that very knowledge to take actions. These actions leave impressions on brands and consumers – and unfortunately we have found that many organizations don’t think through the traditional business rules that they know prior to deploying social initiatives or when measuring their effectiveness.

Our point here is that merely collecting digital data without cause is a recipe for disaster and organizations that develop social media measurement strategies which align key performance indicators (KPIs) with business objectives will evolve much more quickly. This requires a pragmatic strategy and a measurement plan.

Four measurable business objectives have been identified, each with their own KPIs:

  • Foster dialog: share of voice, audience engagement, conversation reach
  • Promote advocacy: active advocates, advocate influence, advocacy impact
  • Facilitate support: resolution rate, resolution time, satisfaction score
  • Spur innovation: topic trends, sentiment ratio, idea impact

As social media and its measurement evolve, no doubt so too will social marketing analytics. For now, we suggest a pragmatic approach using metrics derived from sound business objectives to minimize confusion. It’s time to move beyond the ‘digital trivia’ of social marketing measures and metrics that fail to deliver actionable insights.


  1. Set goals & objectives, strategy, tools and tactics
  2. Measure, analyze and report on social media efforts
  3. Discover insights from that information
  4. Engage, create conversation & influence

If you missed the event check out our presentation! And if you would like more information on Gnostix Social Media Monitoring and Analytics tool, and how it can help you with your business objectives, please contact us!

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