Bhupendra Khanal – CEO, Simplify360
The time when people discussed tools is long past. 2013 will talk about business outcomes, KPIs and unified systems that streamline business functions. Social Media is moving towards becoming a general utility medium much like Phone or Email. Remember, even though these mediums are used for customer service, no one refers to them as such exclusively.
Social Media is highly misrepresented in business circles. It is regarded as an advertising medium to amass Facebook fans and Twitter followers. This should end now.
We should start looking at the business functions and use Social Media to achieve the business goals. The KPIs needs to be defined and best practices built up. And to make all these things happen, Analytics has a major role to play.
Here are some of my recommendations.
1. Social Media is more than Engagement. Social means business.
Enough and more has already been said about Social Media Engagement. Let us outgrow it. Let us talk about the real business impact. Obviously, the same business metrics work for Social Media that work for other mediums. The value has to be in one or more of the following:
a. Increased Revenue
There are multiple avenues of revenue realization through Social Media. Companies are trying offering discount coupons and cross-selling products in each other’s Social Channels.
Most companies have not been able to generate leads for business. But this was true for all earlier adopted channels – Television, Radio, Email etc. The leads are best generated and tracked with high confidence through PPC Ads.
For Social Media to be successful, it is very important to have clear revenue goals and a strategy to back it. We, at Simplify360, have been very successful in generating a good number of leads from Slideshare. It works great for a B2B Model.
b. Increased Buzz
Social Media does not only have consumers. It has resonators too. And this can be highly leveraged by properly building a community and keeping them active. The message once gone viral is more powerful than several passively played ads in other channels. Reason – the message flows in the form of recommendations between friends and connected individuals. The trust factor is thus high enough to show some amazing output.
c. Cost Savings
Take the example of a BPO operation. The average cost per call from a BPO company to the consumer costs an average of USD $0.1 (INR 5), while the cost of receiving a call on time from a customer is USD $1 (INR 50).
The difference in the price occurs as the BPO Company needs to charge for resources waiting for the call too. This adds to the phone bill charge.
Now take the example of a Social Media Contact Centre. Several people may post complaints on Facebook or Twitter, a few reps can quickly handle it and respond like an Internet Messenger. The benefit here is no one needs to remember each other’s phone number or email id. Bonus – huge savings on manpower cost. Add to it the removal of phone bills. Simple internet connection will suffice. This results in huge savings overall.
2. Integration is the way to go. Social CRM is the future.
You might have a million fans on Facebook and you probably have a few million customers. And a million times, you have asked your Social Media Agency how many of those fans are your customers and how many sign-ups you received through the medium. You have been a badass towards your agency.
Here is the bad news – your agency does not have the answer. But there is good news too – you can have those answers. The answer surfaces when you start looking at it closely and ask your IT guys to work closely with the CMOs office and to do proper CRM Integration.
You may choose to outsource it too. And I feel, this is a better solution as when two C Level officers get involved, the work hardly gets done on time. Let the CMO take on an outsourced partner and get the CRM integration bit done.
Now get your customer service guys, HR guys and Finance guys involved, and quickly move towards making the whole Enterprise fully Social. The future, and your unfair advantage over competition starts here.
3. Need to rise above the MIS Reports. Predictive Analytics is the way to go.
You have Social Media data, and you may have some good MIS reports that show the historical trend and some behaviour graphs. Do not assume that you have enough intelligence required to run the business.
You probably have the intelligence to run the business but you might be just missing enormous opportunities by not mining this valuable data and getting business insights.
After the data mining and insights extraction, another window opens and that is for predictive analytics and forecasting. The Social Media data is a not only an indicator of existing issues or opportunities, it might be pointing to a huge market shift.
Had Blackberry focused enough on Social Media and mined the incoming data for iOS and Android, it wouldn’t have been left behind till now, in the Smartphone war. All it needed was time to counter the two biggies with a good PR campaign and launch some quality touch screen phones. They ignored this and kept ignoring it till the CEOs office got into a crisis with both the top-line and bottom-lines being badly hit.
4. KPIs of Social Media. ROI in focus.
We talked about direct business impact. Now let me talk about some direct KPIs that show real business impact.
a. Increased Revenue
The KPIs here need to be:
i. No. of leads
Youtube, Facebook, Twitter need landing pages and links to track the number of leads that get realized. Slideshare provides a way to capture leads through form submission.
It is important to realise that such social media leads are mostly the leads that show interest in your product and not necessarily an interest in buying the product. This does not hold true and there can be a direct buying interest in leads if a coupon is downloaded through a Facebook App, for example.
ii. Quality of leads
It is important to track the quality of leads in terms of further communication that goes with the generated lead. The conversion rate is the best metric to judge.
Do not get carried away with the noise about Social Media and look for other metrics. Simple business metrics work great here.
iii. Volume of business generated
Together with conversions, keep a tab on your volume of business. This is simple.
Volume of business = Sum (converted leads * revenue from the leads)
If I have to look at Simplify360, most of our business conversions have happened from the leads received through our Social efforts. The number currently stands at slightly over 50%.
b. Increased Buzz
Increased buzz is best measured using the PR logic. The price that a company would end up paying for ads on various digital or non-digital channels.
Remember buzz is not merely the number of mentions on the web and no. of retweets or shares. But this has to reflect in the form of actual money gained or saved by the company.
Here is an example:
Tata Docomo gets a coverage of 10 news mentions a month on the front pages of major national dailies for being the most followed Facebook page in India. The sum of the ad cost for those 10 spaces is a direct saving for the company.
Now add to that the total amount of digital ads that Tata Docomo would have paid for, in getting ads across the digital formats of those national dailies. The amount is not small.
You should further move ahead and add the PPC rate for all the clicks that you receive from any Social Channels.
5. In the Social Era, Intelligence is real time.
The time has gone when you would visit a Market Research agency, ask them to do a survey, collect the results in a month or two, analyse the data and get the report in 3 to 4 months. The pace at which innovation happens now and markets shift, the traditional market research reports will be as good as useless.
Current business scenarios call for a real time intelligence monitoring system, and no medium can deliver it better than Social Channels. The Social Media stream is real-time and there are enough systems like Simplify360,that provide intelligence on brands, competitors and markets in real time. Waiting for reports is a part of history now. Welcome to the intelligence revolution.
6. Social Media is no more CMO’s problem. It is the CEO’s problem.
You are making a Big mistake if you consider Social Media as just a part of Digital Media Marketing. It is not. Social Media is a part of Digital Media, but it is not limited to Marketing Functions. It is more like Email and Phone. It is a resource that the whole company needs to play with and take benefit from.
Social Media is thus, a CEO’s problem. It is a brand reputation problem, it is a social media marketing problem, it is a customer service problem, it is a human resources problem, and it is an investor relations problem.
At Nestle, the Communications Vice President is responsible for Social Media efforts throughout the company. For ITC Foods, it is the marketing head and individual brand heads who take the call. For Coffee Day, CMO Ramki himself gets involved. And for Mahindra Group, Group Chairman Anand Mahindra himself leads the Social Army. The way companies use Social media varies greatly, and this, I feel, is the outcome of a lack of defined best practices in the Social Media industry.
More and more companies are now following the Anand Mahindra Model or Michael Dell model. The CEO leads the charge.
Make no mistake. Take Social Media seriously. It is a CXO problem. Without a senior level involvement, Social Media can be a disaster as much as it results in the loss of huge opportunity.
Bhupendra Khanal ,CEO, Simplify360 is a data person and has rich experience in the Analytics field to speak will on how India is a growing market for enterprise products. He would also be able to share his insights on Social CRM for new world enterprises and how it is helping businesses understand market trends and consumer sentiments. He is an avid follower of technology and would be able to give insights on the future of digital media marketing and Global trends in social media.