An ROI for Social Media Engagement

Social Shake-Up Presentation

The following contains the slides from our recent Social Shake Up presentation. I’ve included both the slides and some speaking notes to help clarify specific point.

Why a Customer Based Valuation Doesn’t Work:

We all want to be able to calculate a value for every customer that reaches out to us via social media. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that’s possible. There are multiple reasons why this is the case, and I’ll cover these in the next few slides. However, if a vendor tells you that they’re able to capture a comprehensive value model for each customer you interact with, trust that they’re wrong.

We all want to be able to calculate a value for every customer that reaches out to us via social media. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that’s possible. There are multiple reasons why this is the case, and I’ll cover these in the next few slides. However, if a vendor tells you that they’re able to capture a comprehensive value model for each customer you interact with, trust that they’re wrong.

Your Metrics Baseline:

What you’re reporting on today most likely is based on where your social engagement organization was birthed from. If your team originated within your companies Marketing or Public Relations groups, you most likely rely heavily on tradition metrics from those fields. However, if you started out as part of a call center group then you most likely rely heavily on call center metrics like Average Handle Time.

What you’re reporting on today most likely is based on where your social engagement organization was birthed from. If your team originated within your companies Marketing or Public Relations groups, you most likely rely heavily on tradition metrics from those fields. However, if you started out as part of a call center group then you most likely rely on call center metrics like Average Handle Time. It’s a good idea to be introspective to understand where you started, and where you might need to grow.

It Doesn’t All Mesh:

This is where the bad news starts. There are a ton of metrics across social media. However, they don’t all act the same, and they don’t all interact with each other. Before you do anything else, you need to understand the nuances involved in social reporting.
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This is where the bad news starts. There are a ton of metrics across social media. However, they don’t all act the same, and they don’t all interact with each other. Before you do anything else, you need to understand the nuances involved in social reporting.

  • Metric Types: Social media platforms have to unique types of reporting, and they are mutually exclusive. The major difference between these two metric categories is:
    • Post Based Metrics (Learn More): Reporting for post based metrics is based on when you as a company complete an action, creating open-ended time windows. This means that the reporting will continue change over time. If I run a report for May on June 5th, I will get different numbers then if I run the report for May on June 10th. Each time a customer clicks a link, likes the post, or sees it your metrics will continue to increase.
    • Action Based Metrics (Learn More): Report for action based metrics is based on when a customer takes an action, and has a closed time window. A report for May is the same if you run it on June 5th or December 5th. Whenever possible, always defer to Action Based Metric systems. The benefit is that the metrics are fixed, and much easier to understand what happened in a given time period because you don’t have to re-run the numbers over and over. Examples include Adobe and Google Analytics.
  • Life of a Tweet: Tweets with self-service links have about a 14 month lifespan. Contrary to that, most social platforms stop recording metrics after 45 to 60 days. These are vastly different time periods. Our research has actually shown the largest volume of self-service link clicks happen after 2-3 months, once the tweet and shortend link becomes indexed by Google.
  • Social Metrics: Because of the lifespan of a tweet, we see social metrics like Impressions continue to increase over a 3 month period. We actually see greater than 50% of social activity happens in the 2nd and 3rd month.
  • Metrics Platforms: Overall, we don’t / can’t rely on a single social CRM tool for metrics. This results in a full value package being developed incorporating inputs from multiple channels. This increases the complexity of the ROI program, but ensures that you develop the best possible picture of what is happening.

Your Metrics Baseline:

If you want to calculate a holistic ROI model for your social media engagement you need to look at all aspects of your work. Most companies looks at their social media activity through a single lens. Either it’s a PR type of activity, or it’s a Call Center type of activity. The reality is, it’s both. When looking for how your social media customer engagement is driving value you need to view it as a combination of a PR Campaign, and Call Center, and a Website. Once you start to look at aspects for all three, then you truly start to gain a complete picture of the value and ROI that you’re driving.
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If you want to calculate a holistic ROI model for your social media engagement you need to look at all aspects of your work. Most companies looks at their social media activity through a single lens. Either it’s a PR type of activity, or it’s a Call Center type of activity. The reality is, it’s both. When looking for how your social media customer engagement is driving value you need to view it as a combination of a PR Campaign, and Call Center, and a Website. Once you start to look at aspects for all three, you truly start to gain a complete picture of the value and ROI that you’re driving.

The value of social media engagement should be viewed as a combination of a Website, a PR Campaign, and a Call center.

Module Example:

The best way we have found to calculate the value of your social media engagement is to break down the work into individual modules that provide a value to the company. The above module is an example of the process that we went through.
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The best way we have found to calculate the value of your social media engagement is to break down the work into individual modules that provide a value to the company. The above module is an example of the process that we went through.

Based on research completed by Twitter, not having an active social engagement process leads to a higher propensity to churn. For example: 36% of telecommunications customers stated they would transfer to a competitor if they did not receive a response from a service representative on social media.

Using this starting point, we created a valuation for a retained customer related to the volume of cases handled. If we, as a company, were not active on social media the cost associated with churn can be demonstrated by the model.

Module Roll-Up:

The above slide demonstrates additional modules that can be leveraged to determine the value associated with your customer care. The modules that are applicable for your company will vary based on your industry and corporate goals. The benefit of our model is that you can combine the applicable modules for the best possible value and ROI.
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The above slide demonstrates additional modules that can be leveraged to determine the value associated with your customer care. The modules that are applicable for your company will vary based on your industry and corporate goals. The benefit of this model is that you can combine the applicable modules for the best possible value and ROI. 

Best practices for calculating the ROI of Social Media Engagement
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Thank you for taking the time to review my slides. If you have any questions please let me know in the comments section.

The Problem with Social Analytics

For those of you that don’t know me, my first career, and my undergraduate degree, were in engineering. One of the first things that I learned as an engineer is that it takes metrics and analytics to run a process. Over the years I’ve transitioned from engineering, to operations and now into social media. And as I’ve designed social media operations teams and structures, I’ve consistently become more annoyed with the fact that there aren’t better systems available for analytics and live tracking of tickets. It’s impossible to cleanly manage an operational team when you can’t clearly see what is going on.

There are dozens of analytics platform providers out there, but every one of them tends to miss something vital when it comes to reporting. For example, our current provider can’t link Message data with Case data. Since all posts and case management is done through the tool, this seems like a huge miss. In my previous manufacturing role for Owens Corning I managed the implementation of ApenTech for our plant. This system allowed me to see every single thermocouple temperature, chemistry mixture, machine speed or quality test for the entire plant. It had a beautiful layout with clickable drill down points that allowed me to either get a high level view of how everything was going, or look closely at an individual section of the plant. My question has been, why can’t we do this for social? There are metrics in over-abundance for social media. Why can’t we get this organized in a way that allows operational teams to quickly get a pulse on what is happening with their support groups? Every time a platform demonstrates their analytics package to me, I end up seeing this incredibly pretty but altogether useless bubble chart. And if it’s not a bubble chart it’s something else equally useless for operational management. How do I justify more headcount, or a change in operations based on the chat below. What does that even tell me?
Useless Social AnalyticsSo here’s my conundrum: If you’re building out an operational platform that has hundreds of analytic points available, why wouldn’t you use them? If someone could create a live process map to display and track social operations like the one below, enterprise level companies would literally throw money at them. Each node would allow you to click in and get more detail as to what is happening. You’d have filters to set your time constraints, or filter by team. And most importantly, you’d be able to see the whole life cycle of social support in a single view. My only real question is, why hasn’t someone done this yet?

Create a social analytics process map.

Social Media Support ROI: Tracking Link Clicks

Once you understand the difference between Post Based Metrics and Action Based Metrics you are ready to start tracking your different social analytics. One of the first metrics you want to start tracking for both customer engagement, and publication, will be link clicks. And like everything else related to Social Media, there are multiple ways to handle this.

Tracking traffic through your publishing software

When publishing posts for your company, you should always leverage a publishing software. This allows you to schedule your posts in advance, provide multiple employees access to your handle, and multiple other benefits. The platform also will track the click-through traffic associated with posts made.

The benefit associated with this type of link tracking comes from being directly tied to your publishing activity. At the end of the month you’ll receive a list of posts made, total link clicks, clicks per post, and all other related social metrics.

The Short-Fall associated with this type of tracking comes from the fact that the reporting time constraint is post based. Any time period that you run a report on, will only provide metrics for the items published during that period. The report will exclude metrics for actions taken by the customer during that period on posts that were published prior to that date range. This sounds like a fairly small adjustment, but it can have significant impacts on your metrics.

Tracking traffic through your link shortener

A link shortener is another tool that should always be employed when publishing to social media channels. It allows you to provide a clean, and user friendly link to customers instead of the often ungainly link associated with corporate websites. It also provides the opportunity to brand your url’s, which builds trust with your users and expands visibility of your company’s footprint. Link shorteners are also time constrained by actions instead of publish date. This will help to provide a better picture of what your customers have done, and how they have interacted with your links, during the reporting time frame.

The downfall of tracking your links through your link shortener is that you have now dissociated your click traffic from your publishing activity. You will be able to report on all active links, and their total traffic within a given month, but you won’t know what post that traffic and link is associated with. Additionally, once a customer lands on your website, you no longer have visibility into what actions the customer took after clicking on the original link.

Lastly, if your link is copied and shared by your customers they are likely to replace your link shortener with their own. This will eliminate your ability to track incoming traffic associated with the original post. This especially impactful if a news source, or major blog, picks up your post and shares it on their site. This could lead to thousands of clicks that are no longer associated with your social campaign.

Tracking traffic through your Web Analytics

(Campaign Tracking)

Using Campaign Tracking to tag your shared links enables the ability to directly link your outbound posts to activities taken on your website. At the most basic: Campaign Tracking is accomplished by adding parameters at the end of your url. For example: www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=twittercare&utm_campaign=11282017. This tells your web analytics to group all traffic associated with the utm_source “twittercare” together.

The advantages associated with enabling campaign tracking can be broken down into five categories:

  • Campaign tracking is an Action Based Time Constrain metric. When you pull reporting for the month of January, you will see all actions taken on your links, and your website, within that month.
  • Each link generated with a Campaign Tracking code serves as a unique url. This means that if a website, news source or blog shares your link you know that the only way they got the link was from your social post.
  • Unlike short urls, which are often replaced when a link is reposted, 99% of users will never strip off your campaign tracking. This keeps intact your ability to track traffic associated with the original post.
  • Well-designed Campaign Tracking can enable visibility into the entire customer journey, from social post all the way through to authenticated login or purchase.
  • Campaign Tracking is part of your web analytics platform. So anything you track for your website, like sales or authentication, can also be tracked using a Campaign.

Setting up Campaign tracking is different for each Web Analytics platform out there, but they all work basically the same. The similarity across platforms allows for the standardization of best practices, and implementation.

Learn how to use link tracking tags including UTM Codes, and Adobe link tracking

When using a social publishing platform like Sprinklr, you can automate every link sent out to have Campaign Tracking added. This greatly simplifies the process of adding the codes, and ensures that every agent publishing links is correctly adding the codes. If you are using a platform that does not automate the addition on Campaign Codes, like SalesForce, then you will need to create a simple and quick process for adding the codes to your outbound links. (We built a widget that added the Campaign code and shortened the link).

Some best practices to get you started:

  • Every code should start with one repeating piece. Such as utm_source=socialcare. This will ensure that when you are pulling reports everything is grouped together, and you aren’t trying to track down all of the codes that have been used.
  • Always add a timestamp. This ensures that every link is unique, and will give you an idea of the lifespan of your shared links.
  • Determine what is most important to your organization: Is it knowing which Call Center shard the link, what social channel it was shared on, or what contact type it was. The potential list can be endless so prioritize and build this into your design.
  • Remember that these codes are publically visible. Don’t include agent names or anything else that might negatively impact your employees or company.

 

Understanding the Value you’ve driven.

After you have begun adding Campaign Tracking to your links, you can begin to calculate the value that your shared links drive. Your customer support managers are sharing links to digital self-service and support sites, so utilization of the shared links is viewed as contact deflection. When supporting customers within social, additional customers are capable of leveraging the links shared for self-service. This drives incremental value beyond the one-to-one interaction.

The calculation we created leverages the concept of Contact Deflection, with additional funnel reductions to drive a conservative value.

Distributed Click-Through Value = Total monthly clicks on shared links (Unique Users) * Average additional click through rate for shared links (71%) [ 1] * Containment Rate (70%) [ 2] * Average value of a support contact ($7) [ 3]

  1. This reduction allows you to remove the traditional one-to-one relationship, and calculate value on the one-to-many aspect of social: Based on an average click through rate of 3.5. A click through rate of 1 would show a one-to-one relationship. This provides us a 2.5 click rate of additional value or, 71.4% distributed additional value from the shared links.
  2. The Containment Rate is a measurement of the percentage of self-service users that do not need to contact your support centers after using their support channels. This can be found either through surveys, or software solutions.
  3. The average value of a support contact comes from your support centers. This is the value that your company did not incur for contacts.

 

Synopsis

Tracking traffic through your Publishing Software:

  • Positive: Your click through numbers are directly related to the posts being made.
  • Negative: Reports will only include clicks on links shared within the time period, ignoring all other active content.

Tracking traffic through your URL Shortener:

  • Positive: Reports will include all click activity that happens within the chosen timeframe.
  • Negative: Shortened links are disassociated with the outbound message, limiting your awareness of what message went with the link.
  • Negative: It is hard to understand the “Created” date of a short url.

Tracking traffic through your Campaign Codes:

  • Positive: Reports will include all click activity that happens within the chosen timeframe.
  • Positive: You can design your Campaign Codes to track back to the original post.
  • Positive: Your Campaign Code is a part of your web analytics. This is the only tool that allows you to see the full customer journey from Social through to Purchase or self-service.
  • Negative: Not all publishing platforms can automatically generate Campaign Tagging. This is a barrier to implementation.

 

Post Based Metrics | Action Based Metrics