Companies today live and die by the KPI (Key Performance Indicator) metric of their choosing. They become slaves to the data based sales & marketing approach. And there is nothing wrong with that until there is, especially with consumer engagement KPI’s. Because what at first, seems to be a positive, could actually hide a huge negative that is going to hurt your brand in the long run. Here’s an example.
Your Agency’s Social Media KPI Report Says Everything Is Great
A few years ago my firm, Converse Digital, prepared one of our first ever CIBER reports for a major liquor distributor. In it we analyzed over 26,000 posts from 25 liquor brands covering virtually every liquor vertical – shooter brands, tequila, vodka, whisky, etc.
One brand in particular stood out — Grand Marnier. At first glance the Consumer Engagement data was outstanding, especially for one campaign in particular: #BlendOut. If you evaluated the campaign “by the numbers” it was a huge success. And I have no doubt the agency that created it emphasized the great engagement KPI performance.
BUT — if you peeked beneath the data just a tad, you quickly figured out that all was not right in Denmark.
The Power of Qualitative Social Media Analysis vs Quantitative Analysis
The power of large scale qualitative and quantitative analysis like CIBER, especially at the category level, is that you start to discover thematics in the category data. In this liquor CIBER, there was a clear recipe (in the quantitative data) for producing a highly engaging social media post. If a liquor company wants to maximize consumer engagement, there were about 5-7 key visual and verbal characteristics they needed to leverage.
The problem was, Grand Marnier’s #BlendOut campaign violated every aspect of the recipe.
And that caught the eye of the data analyst writing the report. She was reviewing the #BlendOut creative and just couldn’t figure out why it was so engaging. So she dove deeper… moving past the purely analytical analysis to a more laborious, but ultimately, more insightful textual analysis.
By reading thousands of consumer comments on the various social media posts, she was able to understand the true story of this engagement.
Fans were engaging… but for the wrong reasons.
Fans hated the campaign.
And many were having a grand time making fun of it via the comments on social media, especially Facebook. If you feel like a good laugh, click the image to see it full size or the link you just passed. My personal favorite is the Smirnoff Ice comment — truly classic. But there are a host of gems – take my word for it.
But that wasn’t even the most interesting thing — at least from a competitive point of view. No, the most interesting insight was that Grand Marnier wasn’t responding back. Not a single community management comment back to any fan. And more importantly, the campaign continued to run over many months. This completely blew my mind, since I’ve never seen a brand continue to run a campaign that was obviously NOT connecting with their audience.
Ignore Social Conversation At Your Own Risk
And it gets worse for Grand Marnier. Prior to the campaign their average Instagram engagement rate was about 2.5% per post. After the campaign, that number dropped to about 1.5% and that trend continued for at least another quarter. It was as if their fans had written them off. Further, an even deeper analysis revealed that every time Grand Marnier tried to move from bottle images to lifestyle content, their engagement rates plummeted. Had they conducted their own CIBER, or similar study, they’d have known this and adjusted their social media content strategy accordingly. But I digress.
This was another key insight for our clients. It meant that if they wanted to try and break into the Grand Marnier drinker’s mindshare, they needed to act quickly and lead with strong bottle imagery vs lifestyle imagery. This kind of marketing insight is a powerful 1-2 sales & marketing punch that existed for one and only one reason (IMO) — Grand Marnier was listening to the numbers instead of the conversation.
Mindshare Precedes Market Share
Social Media is a great place to understand and win mindshare. Social Media, when designed to create conversation first and conversion later, is a powerful weapon in your sales & marketing arsenal. But it requires a bit of patience and plenty of attention. If you will focus your brand on creating conversations that lead to connections, you’ll set the table for the natural ending — conversions.
Everywhere you look today, you hear and read “the sales funnel is dead” but there is one place where it’s very, very much alive – Social Selling – regardless of whether you’re targeting B2B or B2C prospects. In social media, you still have the opportunity to let prospective buyers discover you, and then pull them down the Propinquity Pathway with engaging content and conversations. Until, at some point they reach the end of the Propinquity Pathway (or bottom of the funnel) and move from Like to Buy.
But you have to go beyond the KPI’s… they’re important and you should be monitoring them for topline social media health. However, when you’re ready to really find the golden nugget, dive deeper. Think qualitative vs quantitative analysis.
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