In case you haven’t seen yet, Jeremiah Owyang of the Altimeter Group just recently published a report detailing Social Marketing Analytics. It provides a framework for companies new and old to social media to help:

Learn from online conversations

Many of our clients have specific conversations that they are trying to listen to or specific groups, but others have instructed us that they want to find key conversations. A company with a new product or service, for example, can find out how people are really using it. A brand that’s been in business for years can find new ways to position themselves. Social media monitoring is one more tool that businesses have at their disposal to increase their flexibility and potential market share.

While this is more complicated than composing queries around specific keywords, it can lead to much richer insights for future developments as well as for improvements.

Create benchmarks for analysis

The tagline for this blog IS “social media is the new marketing”, but it doesn’t mean that we’ve changed our ideas about how business processes need to be carried out. Before carrying out any social media monitoring project, there must be a strategy in place with measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) that we can use to compare trends from one period to the next and detect changes in sentiment or customer involvement.

The report does highlight that KPIs will be different from one industry to the next, and we have also found from one business to the next. We have often created new widgets for our clients in order to help them better address these issues and understand the conversations surrounding their brand and sector. One client, for example, wanted to look at conversations about cosmetics online and use a barometer to gauge which topics were garnering the most buzz. Don’t let a platform dictate what you should be listening to. Tell us how we can help.

Promote advocacy

There seems to be one KPI missing for brands wishing to promote advocacy online, which is to identify brand detractors, not just advocates. Social media is a two-sided coin that can open a business up to risks and opportunities, depending on how you look at the situation. Brand detractors may be just as if not more influential than some of your advocates, and we look at both as being important for a brand’s online reputation. This seems to have been grouped into responding to negative comments found during monitoring, but perhaps may need a bit more attention than that, depending on the degree of influence of said site, post, or person.

Domino’s Pizza, for example, went so far as to develop a new pizza that would appeal to their “harshest critics” and deliver it directly to their homes. Whether or not the stunt worked is up for debate and certainly criticized, but it shows how one brand has tried to reach out to naysayers and show that they are listening.

Southwest recently had an incident with a celebrity traveler, as well, that they immediately reached out to in an attempt to correct the situation and maintain their reputation.

It’s great to see this report undertaken in the spirit of openness and collaboration, which is what we strive for with our clients and partners.