ICE the new way of testing social media effectiveness

ICE the new way of testing social media effectiveness

Intelligence, Communication, Evalutation; the three key steps in measuring the effectiveness of your social networking.

Through this winter we will see more and more organisations both large and small realising that they cannot just simply ‘do’ social networking. They will realise that they need to ensure they are doing the right social networking, testing all the time what works and what doesn’t and then changing behaviour patterns, frequency, networks, tone and style to see better and better outcomes.

Using the acronym ICE we have three simple steps that can help plan, act and improve everything we do and here’s how you can get started:

Intelligence

This is the part most people pass by. Getting the right intelligence at the outset is key to setting out in the right direction with content, images and videos all of which can engage and influence your target audience.

As a simple rule of thumb you need to know what will hook your audience from both a practical and an emotional level. Irrespective of what you want or need to say, promote or share you need to know what the audience want to hear.

A good example are the list of Interests of your social networks. These are the things that those in your networks have put as interests in their profiles, are discussing with their friends or colleagues or even clicking on in advertisements. Interests ensure that you don’t always talk about what YOU want to talk about but engage with others on their terms. Show a little interest in the other person and the favour will be returned.

Helpful online tools for finding out the Interests of those in your networks include Social Report and Sprout Social It is much easier to let these tools do the hard work than you look at each and every connection to try to work out what to say.

If you have some geographic element in your communication head to Map My Followers to see where in the country or world your followers are situated and prioritise and tune your messages accordingly.

Combining this intelligence with the professions of your followers using Schmap can help you to add on top of the emotional hooks some practical, job or industry specific content and messages.

There are of course many more tools and approaches and examples of the types of intelligence you need to collect. Your own selection will be based on your clear understanding of the audience profiles, or as we call them personas, because they are real people, not companies or brands. Knowing exactly who they are will help you to work out what you need to find out about them.

Communication

Using the intelligence we move into the Communication stage. This is when we begin to test out what we know in our social networks. We produce content, images and videos that really do talk to our target audiences about things they are interested in. It’s not about what WE want to say, it’s about what THEY want to hear.

Keeping a close watch on the outcomes from everything you post, share or say is key to this phase. Every time you do something in social media you need to know why you are doing it. What is your desired outcome from what you just did? If it’s not adding some value to the longer term goals then why did you do it? Don’t get swept along by hype, the next big thing or the latest technology. Stay true to your strategy and keep focused.

If you see a pattern develop either positively or negatively for specific types of content you share then you need to act on that and do more of it if it’s good or stop doing it if it’s not working.

Some of the most popular tools for keeping a close watch on these trends (not responses or lack of responses to individual posts or actions, you need to see patterns before you change anything) include Hootsuite and here are a selection of others.

Remember it’s also about the Rule of Thirds at this stage. It’s not about you, it’s about them. But you do get a chance to sell through social media if you have added value first.

Evaluation

If Intelligence is an often overlooked stage, then Evaluation is the grand daddy of opportunity that most regularly goes missing. Evaluation is all about the simple concept of learning from what happened so you can improve what you’ll do next time. It sounds obvious but we see countless examples of people and organisations who continuously battle on doing the same old errors and knowing something is wrong but not quite what it is.

There are lots of simple digital dashboards which joined together can give you that all important means of continuous improvement. At a basic level there are Facebook Insights and Linkedin Insights and better still for the tweeters there’s Crowdbooster which will show in you a league table of your Twitter followers not in terms of their popularity but those who are most helpful as re-tweeters and vitally the actual tweets they are most sharing. These contacts and the content they most often share are your golden nuggets. Find them and you become instantly more attractive and then just watch as the benefits from the Rule of Thirds cuts in.

Of course just fine tuning your content is all very well but what about the actual outcomes? The new business leads and additional visitors to your website? There is still nothing better than Google Analytics for watching not only who comes into your website and through which social network but vitally, what did they do after they landed. Which pages did they go to next and what happened then? With a pre-planned customer journey in your strategy you can help these social network contacts through the myriad of messages and noise in your marketing so they arrive right at the end point. It is there that they’ll give you that return on your investment of time and energy.

The ICE acronym is a fast and simple checklist to ensure that you don’t just ‘do’ social networking but that you are in the right place at the right time, saying the right things to the right people for the right reasons and getting the right outcomes in line with your goals.

Does it work for you?