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Four steps to integrating social media metrics into the BI process

In an excerpt from a book on using social media in business operations, Krish Krishnan and Shawn Rogers explore how organizations can take advantage of insights provided by social business intelligence.

This is an excerpt from Chapter 4, "Four Steps to Social Business Intelligence," from the book Social Data Analytics: Collaboration for the Enterprise, by Krish Krishnan and Shawn Rogers. Krishnan is the founder and president of Chicago-based Sixth Sense Advisors Inc.; Rogers, formerly an analyst at consulting and market research firm Enterprise Management Associates Inc., is now chief research officer for the information management software group at Dell.

In the chapter, Krishnan and Rogers provide a four-part strategy for organizations seeking to leverage social media analytics to help increase business, raise brand awareness and enhance customer service. Included are tips on using social media for business purposes, collecting and analyzing social media metrics and linking social media monitoring efforts to business strategies.

Social media and business intelligence integration will provide valuable insights into the external forces that influence and guide your business every day.

The biggest question that puzzles the industry today is how to make this integration happen; there are a few distinct steps to take for creating this impact within your organization.

Step 1: Creating an engaging social media presence

Social Data Analytics

Stage 1: Set up a strategy and goals to accomplish. This is a very important step that gets skipped often -- companies that succeed with social business intelligence do so by setting a strategy and goals. This approach is the same and will provide success whether you are looking to do social media:

  • To grow your business;
  • To create awareness of your product or service; or
  • Simply to enhance your customer service.

Many enterprises would like to accomplish all of the above, but if you focus on one area more than the others, it will help you to set your goals. Part of a strategy is also looking at your target market:

  • Who's your audience?
  • What are your goals?
  • When do you want to achieve those goals?

Going into social media with a laser-targeted focus can make all the difference in the world on your results and outcomes.

Stage 2: Make a plan and content calendar. Once your strategy is set, it is time to implement the plan. The simplest way is to be really organized and set up a social media content calendar. This calendar needs to consist of different types of posts. What types of content should you post? This depends on the social community that you want to create around your brand, products and services. Apart from the creation, there is also participation in customer-owned and -driven content. You need to be able to foster the growth of both these channels simultaneously.

There are many tools that can help you in creating and monitoring your social media presence and participation. It is important to look at your statistics.

Stage 3: Post your content with consistence. Once you have a schedule, you need to post the content and track the changes consistently. To schedule, you can use tools like Hootsuite or the Facebook scheduler. Enterprises set up the post creation with one team, and this team collaborates on the creation of the posts and schedules updates. The ease of creating a team relieves enterprises of concerns about the recency of updates and the relevance of the data that is created. Another benefit from this approach is the ability to create some intense collaboration internally and externally in the organization.

Stage 4: Engage! Don't just post. This step is more important than any other, but it is also the most overlooked. Social media is not just about talking at people, it's about talking to people. To ensure success in your social media presence and create the visibility of participation in conversations, join in other conversations. The biggest success in the world of customers and prospects is to truly get to know and care about others, and it will come back to you. Create a value system around the social media networks and avoid noise. This will create a true, loyal set of folks who will benefit you and your brand in the short and long term.

Stage 5: Monitor what works best and does not work. There are many tools that can help you in creating and monitoring your social media presence and participation. It is important to look at your statistics. There are many monitoring tools available, including Google Analytics, which is free; Facebook Insights; Twitter; and Instagram. You should be reviewing these weekly or biweekly, at least. Sometimes, it takes some experimenting and really getting to know your audience for social media success.

Copyright info

This excerpt is from the book Social Data Analytics: Collaboration for the Enterprise, by Krish Krishnan and Shawn Rogers. Published by Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Burlington, Mass. ISBN 9780123971869. Copyright 2014, Elsevier BV. To download the full book for 25% off the list price of this and other books, visit the Elsevier store and use the discount code PBTY15.

Know what questions you need answered. Your monitoring tool can discover the who, what, where, when and how of your audience's online behavior. Social listening can tell you who is posting what, where they are posting it and how that fits in to the overall conversation, but first you need to supply the tool with a set of targeted keywords that will narrow down your search to find only the most relevant material. Think about the questions that you want answered in a broad sense, and then translate that to search terms and exclusions that will do the trick.

Step 2: Tie social media monitoring to your business goals

You've identified your business goals as an enterprise. Now think about how social media analytics and business intelligence can help you achieve them. How will the answers help grow your business? This will also help you focus your questions. Social media analytics and social media metrics are not business metrics, so you will have to draw a connection between the nonfinancial and the financial. If you bake these connections into your online strategy, measuring the success later will be a hundred times easier.

Step 3: Decide on collaboration

Decide what departments will use Web and social media intelligence. Lots of people assume that marketing is the only department that can use social media insight. Not true. There are many more applications. Brand management is the most common, but you can also use social research to generate leads, learn competitive intelligence, do market/industry research, create a more efficient customer service model, discover a crisis and manage it, and run product/service research and development. As more insight is gained and used in real-world situations, social media and online listening will become a core part of each department.

Step 4: Examine analytics for insights

There's no need to obsess over every measurement that's out there. Look only at the social media metrics that matter. There will be some platform-specific metrics: likes, shares, followers, retweets, views, re-pins, etc. There are back-end measurements from your company website: page views, time spent on site, popular posts, keyword searches, conversion rates, etc. There's the more advanced Web monitoring measurements that a listening tool offers: volume of mentions, sentiment activity, site types, top domains, top authors, most-used words, link spread, influence measurement, etc. Then there are business metrics: total sales, new customers acquired, cost per transaction, number of qualified leads, number of customer service problems resolved, etc. 

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