For any business strategy to be considered valuable by the C-Suite, its efficacy must be clearly measurable. Conversions and sales are easy indicators that you’re doing something right, but what key performance indicators (KPIs) prove the marketing merits of your social listening software?

Looking for love in all the right places

If you’re running a particular campaign – especially one with its own hashtag attached – it’s easy enough to track mentions of that hashtag or any keywords that would go along with it. But mentions merely tell you people are talking about you – they don’t give you an understanding of whether that conversation is positive or negative, and that’s what really matters.

The two most important KPIs you can track on the social front are both measures of emotion:

Net Sentiment – This looks at those mentions and keywords, also accounting for more subtle clues buried in slanguage and emojis, and tells you whether the conversation about your brand is positive or negative. Obviously you want sentiment to be positive, but knowing it’s negative is still valuable because you have the opportunity to fix issues and sway sentiment in the other direction. This is far preferable to being blissfully unaware of problems until they explode virally online.

Passion Intensity – This tells you how strong the emotions calculated by Net Sentiment are. The intensity of social users’ feelings will determine your actions. Those with high positive Passion Intensity scores (around a specific product or campaign, for example) are your potential influencers and brand advocates. You want to give them extra attention and encourage their devotion. Those with high negative Passion Intensity scores are the ones you want to work with immediately to solve their problems or acknowledge their frustrations.

When you see lower Passion Intensity scores on the positive side, you want to think about what you can do to inspire that obsessive love that breeds loyalty. When you see lower Passion Intensity scores on the negative side, consider what changes will keep things from spiraling out of control.

These two metrics reveal the most about how your brand is doing on social – an emotion-filled land where consumers reign supreme. And if you’re not getting the love you want? Here are some ways to change that.

You’ve got to do a little wooing

When consumers like or follow you, they’re inviting you to their online party. But you have to always remember it’s their party. Even if you show up with red Solo cups and a plate of brownies, you don’t get to decide when the beer pong match starts, or when the dessert table opens – they do. Your approach has to be all about how well you fit with what they’re about:

“There’s gonna be beer pong? I LOVE beer pong!”

“You made cheesecake? Forget the brownies, you just found my kryptonite!”

Which means you have to know what they’re about first.

And it comes back to sentiment, because you’re looking for the things they are most passionate about – this is what tools like Audience 3D™ help you discover. When you look at your defined audience, and take brand mentions out of the equation, what do they want, need, crave, have to have, can’t live without, support, obsess over, hate, despise, etc? Are you hitting on these topics? If not, you should be.

But you have to join the conversation in a very individualized way. You may not have time to converse with every person on social separately, but when you use social data to create audience micro-segments, you can speak to small groups of consumers about the commonalities they share, and make them feel like you’re talking directly to them.

Give yourself plenty of warning

Because this data comes in real-time, you can spot trends as they’re emerging, and tap into and leverage trends when it makes sense. You can see if your brand is in danger of being overlooked and make course corrections in time to stay relevant.

Meanwhile, if you’re not tuned into these insights and your competitors are, they’ll be the ones eclipsing you. And it can happen quickly. Just ask Armani and Versace – both of whom fell out of the top 45 luxury brands (lower than even the top 70) in the span of a year.

Luckily you can easily compare data from A3D or Facebook Topic Data over time to see how you’re faring with your audience marketing. And you can use social listening to follow sentiment about your competitors as well. What are consumers loving or hating about them? Adjust your strategies accordingly and you’ll stay on top – and in good favor with the C-suite.

Need a social monitoring tool your bosses will love? We’ve got several – get in touch to find out more!

Image from Christophe BENOIT

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