In just over a decade, social media has changed the way we in the communications industry approach measurement, analytics and use data to inform our work.
The hot topic on everyone’s minds at the moment is micro-influencers. If you aren’t familiar with this term, it has come around as a result of moving beyond surface level measurement, no longer putting as much of a stake into the number of followers you have on Twitter or Instagram, but digging into the value of engagement with audiences.
Let’s be honest, it’s a lot more influential to receive a recommendation from your friends and family about a product or service you should try, over the celebrity who likely received a large sum to post about it (and potentially copy and pasted the provided guidance in the post).
With measurement and analytics taking a front seat to how we approach communications, we are now seeing technologies provide us with a wealth of data to inform our campaigns. This requires us to rethink the traditional approach to collecting, sharing and reporting data.
We must be laser focused on making informed business decisions based on the data we collect. That requires us to ask: what value are we bringing audiences with every campaign and activity we create?
If you can’t answer that honestly, then you’ve fallen into a cycle of putting out a cool ad, attention-grabbing stunt or social re-tweet competition for the sake of momentary engagement. While that helps to get eyes on the brand, it doesn’t create loyalty and long-term value – which is the type of engagement you really want to measure your work against.
A recent article in Harvard Business Review captured this idea of how big data can play a much bigger part in the consumer relationship. It outlines three specific ways to examine how we can create this value, which is a great first step in changing how we approach things in communications as well, so here’s what you should consider:
How can you help or improve your audiences experience with your brand?
Sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot. From a communications perspective, we need to think about what we are offering, how it impacts the consumer and does it really bring any value, which is quantifiable by what the consumer actually gets out of it. When you put out a news announcement, are you just looking at it from your company’s perspective, or are you addressing the impact it has on the intended audience?
How can you bring together existing, commonplace data and use it?
We often collect data for very specific purposes, whether it’s to determine the average age of an audience or get insight into their purchase history. But with the emergence of data analytics being applied to communications, we are approaching data in a whole new way, and re-evaluating how it can inform our own work. You’d be surprised at the access you can gain if you simply ask your client for access to insights they already have as well.
How can you expand your data reach to reach more audiences?
It’s easy to get caught up gathering data for a certain audience, market or sector, but what about looking at the bigger picture and combining data sets from multiple areas. Imagine the insights you can gleam if you start with the big picture and then dig into it.
So with all this mind, the challenge is on you to go forth and up your value game with smart metrics and big data. You might be surprised in what you get in return.