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Knockout: Use Conversation Mining and Facebook Data to Thump Your Competition


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Facebook Insights data is a glass half-full. Smart companies combine numbers with words to better understand the needs of their customers, and thump their competition. In this ebook from social media and content strategist Jay Baer, you'll find the 4 ways companies can mine customer conversations on Facebook to improve their content, product marketing, customer service, and more. A must for anyone interested in Facebook marketing, social media metrics, and customer insights.

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Knockout: Use Conversation Mining and Facebook Data to Thump Your Competition

  1. ok by Jay Baer An eboUse Conversation Mining+Facebook Data To Thump Your Competition 1
  2. Table Of Contents3 Executive Summary4 Overview5 Strategy First, Metrics Last6 Two Common Lies About Social Media8 Facebook Insights Is a Glass Half Empty10 Filling the Other Half of the Glass11 Words + Numbers = Knowledge13 Four Ways To Thump Your Competition with Facebook Conversation Mining14 What is Conversation Mining Worth?15 Now Do This!16 About the Author16 About NetBase 2
  3. Executive SummaryNobody said social media would be easy, just that it would be The best social media operations have a different way ofawesome. It takes real work to do it well, even (perhaps especially) looking at social media measurement. They don’t just look atin the area of metrics. Too many companies focus on obvious, the numbers; they also capture key qualitative data and use itaccumulation metrics—i.e., Facebook “likes”—rather than on more to make improvements to their content, channel selection,nuanced measures that indicate whether the whole initiative is timing, and more.driving business value. For thousands of years, companies have wished they couldHere’s Why This Happens: eavesdrop on their customers – and now they can! Yet, most of them rarely take full advantage of this ability, especially1. Marketers adopt two false assumptions: on Facebook. That Facebook is a customer acquisition vehicle, when in If you go beyond the numbers and add a conversation layer to reality, 84% of Facebook fans report that they are current your Facebook analysis, you can gain four critical advantages or former customers. over your competition: That fan page activity equates to fan engagement (or that “engagement” is actually of inherent value) #1: You get an “early warning system” for issues and proactively prevent them from spreading2. They utilize metrics from Facebook Insights such as People #2: You get the ability to make uber-quick course Talking About This (PTAT) because they are easy to calculate corrections for promotions (Hey! Facebook does the math for me – yea!) #3: You get the ability to change products or packaging3. They forget that even the perfect metric can tell you less than in response to what customers say IN THE WILD, not the full story. The world isn’t made up of ones and zeros; it’s in a survey made up of people. #4: You get the conversational cues you need to better speak your customers’ language Stay with me for the next few pages, and I’ll show you how to combine numbers with words to thump your competitors on Facebook. 3
  4. OverviewIs there any topic beat to death more than “social mediasuccess metrics”? Yet, even with the huge amount ofattention being lavished on it, it’s still a Yeti-like mystery “Although many organizationsto many marketers. In a recent survey by Awareness, Inc.,57% of respondents chose “Measuring Social” as the top have established formalizedsocial marketing challenge.1 Even after hundreds of industryluminaries and pundits (including me) have practically social media programs, the vastdeforested entire regions writing about the topic, marketersare still looking for the right equation to figure out what works majority - 75% - still lack ain social media.Part of the challenge is that there are no “magic numbers” holistic measurement strategy.”when it comes to measuring social media. What’s appropriate The Social Media ROI Cookbook: Six Ingredients Top Brands Use to Measure the Revenue Impact of Social Media, July 2012for your company to measure depends upon how you usesocial, and for what business functions. You might start yourmeasurement quest with standard metrics; but then you needto individualize them for your business and your industry –and that can require considerable effort.Second, no matter how carefully and cogently you selectyour metrics, they often tell only half the story. Most socialmedia metrics measure accumulation (not behavior), and thusmiss an important part of the picture. (You can tell when theymeasure accumulation, because they count up from zero.Facebook fan counts are one such number.) Getting contentand social media marketing right requires you to look beyondthe accumulation numbers to understand not just how many,but what, why, how, and when.1 Awareness, Inc., “The State of Social Marketing Report,” September 2012 4
  5. Strategy First, Metrics LastLet’s remember: the goal is not to be good at social media;the goal is to be good at business, because of social media.Social media metrics selection is the last thing you shoulddo when rolling out your program, because you have to pick BUSINESS OBJECTIVESmeasures that reflect what you want to accomplish with MARKETING OBJECTIVESyour social media strategy – which in turn supports your MARKETING STRATEGYmarketing strategy – which in turn supports your businessstrategy, per the nifty pyramid chart, adjacent. MARKETING TACTICSIf your social media strategy (and marketing strategy for that SOCIAL MEDIA OBJECTIVESmatter) is about creating awareness, measure that. If you’retrying to generate sales, measure that. If you want to use SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGYsocial media as a loyalty and retention tool, measure how SOCIAL MEDIA TACTICSwell that’s working for you.It takes careful thinking, access to data, and a holistic SOCIAL MEDIA METRICSapproach to come up with the right indicators for yourbusiness. You can see the complete thought process behindthis premise in Avinash Kaushik’s fantastic blog post.2 Thatguy is so smart, it’s scary. “If you only care about averages, you’ll only be an average marketer” – Jay Baer2 See 5
  6. Two Common Lies About Social MediaIn addition to not customizing their metrics enough, and not current or former customers. In The Social Habit, a study Iconsidering metrics in the proper strategic sequence, many completed in September 2012 in partnership with Jason Falls,marketers are guilty of two other false assumptions: Mark Schaefer, Tom Webster, and Edison Research, we found that brand affinity is as important an underlying motivator for1. Facebook is a customer acquisition vehicle (false) Facebook “likes” as are deals.3The reality is that people who interact with your business The big opportunity is turning your fans (who are also yourin social media are already interacting with you in other customers) into volunteer marketers who extend yourchannels. In a 2011 study conducted by worldwide advertising Facebook DDB, 84% of Facebook fans reported that they are In general, why have you Deals/Discounts/Coupons 61 “liked” a brand, product You like the brand and support them 39 57 or company on Facebook? To learn about new products News and information updates 34 Articles, stories and other ideas 27 Enjoy the person(s) posting - they are interesting/funny 23 Recipes 22 Humor/comedy 21 They share interesting links from around the internet 20 Customer service/support 15 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%3 See 6
  7. Two Common Lies About Social Media2. Engagement = Advocacy (false)Lots of activity does not necessarily mean that your volunteermarketers are successfully advocating on your behalf onFacebook. Let’s look at the example of Coppertone, whichhad a high number of fan posts and comments on itsFacebook fan page during the summer of 2012. The volumedata (measured as “engagement”) looks great, until you digdeeper and recognize that a lot of this chatter came fromparents complaining about problems with the children’sphoto contest that the company was running.These fans were “engaging” with Coppertone, but not in away that supports the brand.Figure 3. Volume of fan posts and comments on the CoppertoneFacebook fan page, July-August 2012. (Source: NetBase) Figure 4. Coppertone attributes and terms being discussed on the company’s Facebook fan page. (Source: NetBase) 7
  8. Facebook Insights Is a Glass Half EmptyFacebook Insights is universally available, and free. And that’sabout where the good news stops. In fairness, Insights is okay at Users create a “story” that adds totelling you the basics, and Facebook (and Twitter) are brilliant for PTAT when they:making some of the data public, which induces hyperventilationwhen competitors get more fans and followers than you do. “Like” a page Post on the page wallFacebook does capture valuable demographic information; Like a postespecially useful now that Facebook has given companiesthe ability to target posts by geography. Diving into detailed Comment on a postInsights via mind-numbing Excel export shows you interesting Share a postinformation such as likes, reach, clicks, and more by country, by Answer a questioncity, and by age/gender. RSVP to a page’s eventYou can also determine the source of new likes (Facebook, your Mention the page in a postwebsite, mobile, etc.). Tag the page in a photo Check in at a placeFurthermore, Facebook Insights tells you how much activity isassociated with your page and what posts are generating that Share or like a check-in dealactivity. For good or ill, People Talking About This (PTAT)—my Write a recommendationnominee for worst abbreviation ever—is the coin of the realm. It Generate “viral shares”tells you the number of users who have created a “story” about through subsequent likes,a page (or post) that has displayed in a user’s news feed during a comments, or re-sharesseven-day period. (Keep in mind that this number looks back ninedays in actuality, because Facebook Insights has a two-day lag.)While PTAT sounds good on the surface, it isn’t very prescriptivebecause it’s not a “clean” measure, but rather a steaming gumboof a bunch of behaviors, thrown into a single statistical pot. 8
  9. Facebook Insights Is a Glass Half EmptyThere are better numbers than PTAT available if you export yourpage-level data, such as: Weekly Total Reach: The number of people who saw any content from your page, across the entirety of Facebook. (You can also look at reach to see how many people were reached via your own page, versus shares from your fans (known as viral reach), versus paid reach (when you pay to promote a Facebook post).) Weekly Total Impressions: The number of times your content was viewed, across the entirety of Facebook. Weekly Engaged Users: The number of people who clicked or engaged with something on your page in a one-week period. Weekly Negative Feedback Users: The number of people who gave negative feedback on something you published (somewhat similar to an “unsubscribe” in email parlance).Facebook Insights (or a third party using the Insights API) alsoallows you to look at key metrics on a per-post level. You cansee breakdowns on specific numbers of clicks, comments,shares, and so forth for each post. This level of analysis is handy Figure 5. An example of summary metrics by postfor comparison over time to see what content types or subjects (NetBase Digital Channel Intelligence solution).are resonating with your fans.Be cautious about using averages, however, when studyingyour Facebook results using Insights. You’ll be much better offexamining at the individual post level. If all you care about areaverages, you’ll always be an average marketer. 9
  10. Filling the Other Half of the GlassBecause it is based solely on math, what Facebook Insightsdoes not do well is answer your “why?” “so what?” or “nowwhat?” questions. When your goal is (at least in part) to 48% of people who have “liked”ignite your fans’ passion for your company and keep themadvocating on your behalf, those fans’ algorithmically defined a brand on Facebook have atactivity is only half of the story. Facebook Insights is likecounting click-through rates for email. The information is least occasionally commented onvalid, but it doesn’t tell you everything you need to do tomake improvements. information posted by a brand. DDB Worldwide and OpinionWay Research, “Facebook and Brands,” October 11, 2010 t’s Close So Le Gap! That 10
  11. Words + Numbers = KnowledgeSome companies (and social analytics solutions) have triedto tackle the “so what” of Facebook behavior by augmentingInsights with measures that look at the tilt of fan interactions.What is the sentiment of your Facebook posts? What is the“passion index?” It’s an interesting field, and with muchresearch completed that purports to tie passion to loyalty (andthus dollars), I can get behind this type of measurement.But it’s still incomplete. I still want to know – and you probablydo as well – “why” and “now what?” How can we make all thisdata actionable? Figure 6. Analyzing Corvette’s Facebook fan page conversations exhibits a lot of positive fan sentiment, which is in addition to the likes and share counted.The best social media operations look at measurement morebroadly. They don’t just look at the numbers; they also capturekey qualitative data and use it to make improvements to theircontent, channel selection, timing, and more.For thousands of years, companies have wished they couldeavesdrop on their customers – and now we can! Yet we rarelytake full advantage of this ability, especially on Facebook.It’s not just that they like the product you sell, but whatspecific attributes they like. The taste? The smell?The styling? The price point? The really cool commercialthat you ran last Sunday?Looking at the substance of the conversations – singlingout the attributes that people talk about and the sentimentaround those attributes – brings you much closer toactionable next steps. 11
  12. Words + Numbers = KnowledgeIf you have only a few posts and comments per day, this won’t be too difficult to do manually. If you have a larger Facebook presence,you should look at solutions like NetBase Digital Channel Intelligence, which can easily scale to hundreds of thousands of comments andanalyze and evaluate the context of what’s being said about you, and why. Figure 7. Fan comments on the Corvette Facebook fan page reveal that consumers have a great deal of nostalgia when they think about the Corvette brand and often connect their Corvette experiences with family, particularly with Dad. 12
  13. Four Ways To Thump Your Competition with Facebook Conversation MiningIf you go beyond the numbers and add a conversation layer to Example: A packaged vacation provider noticed that theyour Facebook analysis, you can gain four critical advantages majority of people coming to its fan page were women talkingover your competition: about taking a trip with their “hubby” or “kids.”1. You get an “early warning system” for issues and proactively Possible Actions: Roll out a contest to elicit the craziestprevent them from spreading family vacation experience; create a Facebook only- promotion for quick couples’ getaways.Every social media crisis starts with a spark. If done properly,conversation mining will detect that spark before it becomes a 3. You get the ability to change products or packaging infive-alarm fire. response to what customers say IN THE WILD, not in a surveyExample: A CPG manufacturer identified growing Example: A cereal manufacturer noticed that many ofconversations about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the fan conversations on a brand page were about snacking,its Facebook page. not breakfast.Possible Action: The manufacturer could identify fans with a Possible Action: Extend the brand with new packaging/sizelarge social graph (lots of friends or followers) and invite them that is ideal for eating on the a GMO Facebook live chat/discussion. 4. You get the conversational cues you need to better speak2. You get the ability to make uber-quick course corrections your customers’ languagefor promotions You may think you know how your customers talk about yourCustomers are full of great ideas, and you can find them if you products, but I am often surprised when I look at the actualpay attention. conversation-level results.Example: A quick-service restaurant chain rolled out a Example: A medical organization mined Facebookpromotion offering its customers a free ice cream sundae with conversations to understand the phrasing that real people usepurchase of a burger. While fans “liked” this offer, the vendor when describing medical conditions.learned through conversation mining that people talk muchmore and more passionately about their fries. Possible Actions: Incorporate this real-world phrasing into content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), andPossible Action: Create a new promotion, centered around search engine marketing (SEM) activities.French fries. 13
  14. What is Conversation Mining Worth?84% of marketers surveyed for Altimeter Group’s Social MediaROI Cookbook said that customer insights were a primarybenefit of social media measurement.4 Yet in my experience, The goal is not to be good atthe vast majority of these insights are not capturedsystematically but rather shared anecdotally, usually by the social media; the goal is to becommunity manager. good at business, because ofGiven that the community manager is typically the onlyperson in the organization reading every post, decisions are social media. One of the waysoften made based on single points of data and the persuasivepowers of individual community managers. to do so is through improvedA big reason why few companies are able to assign a value to insights into your customers’conversation mining is because it’s difficult to measure thevalue of better decisions. However, it’s somewhat easier tomeasure the value of better content. feelings and thought processes. – Jay BaerThink of the quick service restaurant example. What wouldbe the incremental sales of a free fries promotion comparedto the free ice cream sundae promotion? Or the medicalorganization? What if it could improve conversion rates andcut its cost per acquisition (CPA)? These are business casesfor conversation mining that can produce tangible ROI. Andthey show how quantitative and qualitative analyses create avirtuous circle of improvement.4 Susan Etlinger, “The Social Media ROI Cookbook: Six IngredientsTop Brands Use to Measure the Revenue Impact of Social Media,”Altimeter Group, July 24, 2012 14
  15. Now Do This!Effective Facebook marketing is about having the right contentand making it accessible to fans at the right time. And if you get itright, they will spread your message on your behalf. But the math See It In Action:of routine metrics and measures can’t teach you all you need Intrigued by the benefits that conversationto know to optimize these programs. You need to listen to your mining could bring to your business?customers better, which will help you make better decisions that Visit to request awill give you a competitive edge on Facebook, and beyond. FREE Facebook fan page conversation analysis from NetBase.Here’s your Knockout checklist for success: Know why you’re on Facebook, and the true impact that Facebook has on your business Select cogent/coherent metrics from within Facebook Insights using native or third-party tools Use Insights data to give you the “who,” “what,” “where,” and “when” answers you need to optimize your Facebook content and audience interactions Add a qualitative layer to your Facebook program, to benefit from the power of words – and answer the “why,” “so what,” and “now what” questions Develop ways to value (or at a minimum, acknowledge) the benefits of conversation mining Consider adding a qualitative layer to other social outposts, such as Twitter, blogs and beyond 15
  16. About The Author AboutJay Baer is a hype-free social and content strategist, speaker, NetBase, NetBase delivers the enterprise social intelligenceand author who has advised more than 700 brands (and platform that global enterprises use to monitor, understand,29 of the FORTUNE 500) on digital marketing since 1994. and engage with customers in real time. Using a high-He is President of the consultancy Convince & Convert, precision natural language processing (NLP) enginewhich works with leading companies and agencies to take combined with text analytics and machine learning, ourtheir social and content programs from good to great. His platform processes billions of social media posts to extractConvince & Convert blog ( structured insights from specific channels such as Facebookis ranked as the #1 content marketing blog in the world by and Twitter as well as the entire social web.the Content Marketing Institute, and his weekly Social Prospodcast ( is a favorite among social Marketing, public relations, market research, customermedia practitioners. service, sales, and product innovation leaders access these insights via customizable dashboards and use them toJay is a partner (along with Edison Research) in The Social craft winning strategies faster. Clients include Coca-Cola,Habit, a landmark research project that studies Americans’ Kraft, Taco Bell, HP, IPG, and J. D. Power & Associates.use of social technologies. He’s also the co-author of The NetBase powers the weekly Sentiment Tracker in the WallNOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Street Journal and our solutions are sold globally by SAP AG.Smarter, and More Social (Wiley, 2011), a leading book onsocial business transformation. For more information, visit: @NetBase NetBaseInc NetBase Solutions, Inc NetBaseInc r Jay Bae Try It! We can help you knockout your competition! Click here to get your FREE facebook fan page analysis. 16