How to Tailor a Social Media Program for your Stakeholders
20 October 2010
Recently, Darrell wrote a post about how the IR community is moving away from a “why” to a “how” attitude towards social media for investor relations. While sharing this on Twitter, I came across a tweet that linked to the Friday Five: Resources for Social Media Measurement. One of the ‘five’ resources listed was Chuck Hemann, someone that I have gotten to know over Twitter and who is an invaluable resource on social media analytics and monitoring.
Chuck is currently Director of Analytics at WCG, a global media services company focused on the corporate and product marketing and communications needs of leading healthcare companies. He has the primary responsibility for creating and maintaining state-of-the-art analytics and monitoring programs for WCG’s clients. He is a frequent speaker on a variety of social media topics, including how to get started, monitoring and measurement.
Over the course of his career, Chuck has worked with a lot of PR and marketing departments at big brand public companies to help them tailor social media programs geared to their stakeholders. I then began wondering if Chuck is seeing a similar shift in attitude that Darrell is by way of an increase in requests from IR departments for help with social media.
Here’s what we talked about:
SJ: Are you seeing an increase of requests from IR departments for help?
CH: The lion’s share is still for PR and marketing but we are now starting to get into doing social analytics for IR departments. As you know, public companies often talk about an integrated communications effort, but different segments seem to work in silos. But IR is learning from PR and Marketing and seeing the value in using social media to widen their reach.
SJ: Are companies coming to you before or after they are using social media?
CH: 99% of public companies are coming to WCG before they are using any social; first to get a handle of what is being said about their brand and where the conversations are taking place.
SJ: What are you seeing when conducing an analysis of conversations from an IR standpoint?
CH: Interestingly, the main skepticism IR departments have are that blogs, Twitter and investor forums such as Seeking Alpha are relegated to individual investors or day traders talking to themselves. This is just not the case – I read posts all the time from Chief Investment Officers from large brokerage houses and we are seeing more and more institutions enter the fray. We certainly didn’t see this a year ago.
SJ: Can you walk us through a hypothetical scenario of how you would work with an IR department who has approached you assistance with putting together a social media program?
CH: Sure. First we do a comprehensive audit that entails looking at online conversations about their brand, their peers/competitors and the industry in general. We then take this information and roll into a set of recommendations for either the next step in analytics or actual process of creating a presence on specified channels (I’ll get into how we determine which channels shortly) and engaging.
After the audit is complete, we then complete an influencer algorithm that identifies the number of Twitter users, media and bloggers that drive a lot of online chatter. We then give the company the list (in ranked order) so they can immediately engage these people through the channels they use for blogger summits or by sending them news releases directly.
After that, we progress into regular listening. At the same time, we also do content Mapping that is formulated on the question: ‘How do we put out content by channel by day based on what our audience consumes?’ For example, if people are consuming video of our company on a particular day on Facebook, the question becomes ‘How do we come up with more video to keep them engaged on an ongoing basis?’
Essentially, we want to know down to the day what kind of content is being consumed and where. That way, we can intelligently advise clients for example, that videos are being consumed on Facebook on Saturday, while press releases are being consumed more on Twitter on Tuesdays.
The news cycle is 24 hours and knowing how people are consuming content and when helps us devise a plan for the next time. For example, we can look at when interest in the news starts tailing off, to see how we can help give the next news announcement more staying power.
SJ: How are campaigns measured?
CH: Some value is placed in awareness metrics i.e number of hits and posts. But we focus more on action and ambassador metrics. For example, how often is someone clicking on my link and buying my product and are they sharing this information with others?
I like Chuck’s focus on action and ambassador metrics. Social media has dramatically changed the way that companies interact with their stakeholders and these two metrics can help a public company increase awareness among current and potential investors alike. Whether someone is ready to buy shares now or in the future, companies who are successful with social media are ones who not only listen, but tailor programs that geared to their stakeholders.