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Healthcare companies and social media metrics: What to focus on, what to measure.

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At one point, cigarettes were apparently a trusted source of medical advice.

The industries that have moved more slowly to embrace the social media world have, understandably, been the more highly regulated industries such as law and healthcare. But as social has moved from what some saw as a quirky new marketing fad into a steady part of our daily lives, so too have these industries followed– and now they’re playing catchup. After all, the percentage of Americans alone who turn to social media- and trust it- for health information is growing.

The first step is making a plan to figure out what metrics are going to be important to measure on each of the social sites you decide to have a presence on, such as Twitter. So what metrics should healthcare companies focus on?

1. Decide what your goals are

Healthcare companies or professionals using social media will obviously have very different goals with their accounts compared to businesses in the beauty, travel, or other industries; there’s never a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to social.

By figuring out what you want to accomplish you’ll know what it is that you need to measure. Here are a few ideas of what a social presence can mean for a healthcare company:

  • Provide health resources

  • Provide support by answering company-specific questions

  • Provide support by hosting chats with qualified professionals to answer health-related questions

  • Communicate new information; for example, explaining recent changes to your company, or explaining what the new Affordable Healthcare Act means to those using your services

  • A combination of some or all of these

Many of these things will spread awareness of your brand and amplify your brand voice, particularly if you decide to participate in or host tweet chats. (If you want more information on building or establishing a brand voice, go here.) Tweet chats also lead to higher engagement with your audience. Which brings us to our next step.

2. Measure based on those goals.

If your goal is to increase awareness of your brand, you’ll want to look at share of voice, or specifically metrics like volume, reach, exposure, and amplification relative to the volume, reach, exposure, and amplification of your closest competitors, if they’re on social media. If they’re not on social media but your target audience is talking more about them than you, you need to really ask what they’re doing that you’re not. Here are more resources to break down how to measure each of these metrics specifically:

Amplification is definitely tied to share of voice- most metrics have some manner of overlap- but it’s also important to look at how others are helping to amplify your voice or your messages, which means looking at engagement as well. Retweets, annotated retweets (think the classic retweet, with commentary before the RT), link shares from your website, etc. The above resources cover much of this as well.

3. Rinse, repeat.

Social media is a constantly changing landscape, which can make it daunting to tackle, but the best way to go about it is just to jump in and listen, then start swimming. Establish a time period for regular evaluations- compile specific monthly metrics, schedule quarterly metric revisions- and investigate and change whatever isn’t working.

Social media basically consists of constant experimentation and adjustments, but with the right information it’s more of a fun and exciting project that a terrifying task. And as always, we’re here if you have questions.

Image courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery

Written by Sarah

April 28th, 2014 at 9:23 am

2 reasons why the travel industry should be measuring share of voice

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How much of what you say on behalf of your travel brand is being heard, compared to that of your competitors? How much are your customers saying about you, compared to your competitors? How much are they saying to you that goes unheard? Better known as your share of voice, the size of your brand’s chunk of the travel conversation is vital to how many customers- and potential customers- know what you’re up to. If you’re the airline 60% of people are talking about for holiday travel, for example, there’s a better chance you’ll come to mind over a competitor when someone is looking to book a trip home. Better yet, if you’re the brand with a story they connect to and you cost about the same as the competition? They’ll feel good about going with you. We’ll tell you how to get there.

After all, earning a reputation as knowledgeable, responsive, and trustworthy is important regardless of industry, but especially important in one that is both necessary (the Oregon Trail is no longer an option home for the holidays) and flush with competition, like the travel industry.

People can look forward to a carefully planned vacation for months, even years, and when they choose companies to control the fate of their experience, they do not do so lightly, making it critical for every travel company to know how much of the conversation they own in the space and what exactly it is that is being said about them vs. the competition.

1. You can’t fix a problem you don’t know about.

The conversation about your brand is already happening, and you need to be a part of it. Part of your share of voice is what people are saying about you and to you; you only control the messages you put out. Although it’s impossible to make everyone happy all of the time, you should strive to make as many people happy as possible most of the time. If you’re not listening, you can’t address the problems and complaints of your customers– and that will put off any potential customers. But if you fix a bad experience for someone, you could end up with a customer for life, and push someone who’s on the fence about your company into being a customer.

Takeaway 1: Your customers will tell you what they want. Be responsive and helpful as you monitor the conversation happening about you. Answer questions, answer complaints, acknowledge compliments (favoriting tweets is a good tactic here). People like to share good experiences (and especially the bad!) so work to make as many good experiences happen as possible. Even just responding that you’re aware of an issue and saying you’ll work on it can make a huge difference; you don’t appear deaf and indifferent. Many customers just want to know that they’re being heard.

But if you can, comp a bad experience, or even take things a step further and reach out to someone whose travel plans have fallen through, offering to help them. Enable your customer service representatives to take these actions without having to go through an endless bureaucratic chain. A happy customer will tell their friends and family if you save their holiday– and that’s a new group of customers who will think of you first, instead of the competition, for their next trip.

2. Tell your story, lend your expertise.

You do get to control your portion of the message going out into the conversation, so make it count. A good story is intriguing so be sure to tell yours. Do you have one about how the company came to be and how that influences your values? Or how the company worked through growing pains early or late in its inception? Tell that story and then share what you’ve learned from it; how it is has made you a better company with more to bring to the table for your customers. Then, most importantly, execute those values where your customers can see it happening: everywhere you have a social presence.

Takeaway 2: Part of the battle is coming to mind when people think about travel. If you’re already doing all you can to respond and be helpful in a public customer service capacity, on social media and elsewhere, the only share of the conversation left to you is the message you’re sending out. If there’s a personal story you can tell about your brand- faces of employees or customers and either of their stories- customers and potential customers will relate to that over just seeing your logo. Be the brand with the engaging story, so they’ll pass over the competition’s logo and static mascot for you.

The final takeaway

A golden rule of social media is to listen first, then talk. Evaluating your share of voice is no different. Now that you know why it’s important and have some takeaways to start with, you can work toward increasing it.

Written by Sarah

October 31st, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Guides

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3 ways to increase your share of voice on Twitter

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We’ve talked before about how to measure your share of voice on Twitter. Naturally the next question is now, how do I increase my share of voice?

No megaphone necessary

1. We’ll start with the obvious: tweet more. This will be tied to whatever your goals are that you established in your measurement phase (and goals can and even should shift over time as you keep measuring your results), but it’s hard to be a bigger part of the conversation- or the leader of it- if you’re not talking much. Join in the conversation more, but don’t constantly talk about yourself: you want a mix of your own promotional content along with anything helpful or interesting that’s related to your industry. A good test is this– would you want to read the content that you’re sharing? Do you think it’s interesting and/or informative? Aim for about a 20/80 mix of your own content vs that of others.

2. That said, also make sure you talk to others: your customers, fans and potential customers. People remember brands that they’ve had a positive interaction with, and they’re more likely to come and buy from you down the line. The first step is definitely great customer service- be prompt and attentive when customers have questions and problems- but also respond to other kinds of conversations. Is someone tweeting about an article from your company blog? Thank them. Is there an industry tweet chat happening? Join in and share your thoughts, opinions and expertise; respond to those of others. Be thoughtful and engaging wherever a relevant conversation is happening.

3. Don’t just stick to Twitter. Increasing your presence elsewhere can lead more conversation back to Twitter. As you measured your share of voice on Twitter, look at your share of voice everywhere else too: what other platforms are you on? How often are you publishing content on your blog, or writing guest articles or blog posts? If you are doing these things, be sure you’re promoting them on Twitter. Be sure your blog has a prominent Twitter button on it, and that you have a link to your Twitter account (or at the very least mention that you have one) on other platforms. Put it in your email signature, and on your business card. Nobody- especially current and potential customers- should have to do the work to find you. Make finding you easy, and the conversation will increase.

Do you have any tips for successfully increasing your share of voice? Share them in the comments– or tell us on Twitter. (Or Facebook. Or our Union Metrics Tumblr.)

Image courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery

Written by Sarah

June 3rd, 2013 at 9:31 am

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Four steps to measure your brand’s share of voice on Twitter

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At TweetReach, we’re often asked about how to measure share of voice (SOV). Measuring share of voice involves comparing one brand’s metrics to the total conversation about that brand’s category. Historically, this has been a difficult exercise because high quality data is hard to come by. But Twitter is an abundant and accessible source of real conversational data, allowing us to easily track mentions across a variety of brands. You can now determine the size of conversation for an entire category and compare your own brand to the overall conversation.

You can measure share of voice for any set of similar topics - competitive brands, products, companies or people. You can even compare share of voice across political candidates. Political candidates are the perfect example for a share of voice comparison. There are usually several people in the race, with a few frontrunners and a few hangers-on, just like most any product or business category. And people are talking about them on Twitter, providing a remarkable dataset for analysis.

Earlier this year, we tracked tweets about the U.S. Republican presidential candidates (see our interactive visualization and analysis). Now that Mitt Romney has emerged as the presumptive GOP nominee, we’re tracking the candidates for the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket. VP candidates are not elected separately, but we can still use Twitter to gauge popular opinion and awareness on these candidates. Plus, they make a great example for a blog post about share of voice.

So, here are four steps to using Twitter data to measure share of voice.

1. Decide who you want to compare.

Before you start measuring, you’ll need to determine which competitors to compare to your own brand. What are the brands that make up the category you’re interested in measuring? Pick two to ten to compare. It’s probably easy to pick out your one or two most direct competitors, but also consider other less obvious choices you should add, as well as any large brands that make up your category. It’s possible that what your customers perceive as related might not even be on your radar, so think about this carefully.

In our Republican vice presidential candidate tracking, picking who to track was not that difficult. There are a set of people who have publicly made some indication that they’re interested in the job, and others that analysts and others who pay attention to these kinds of matters think could be chosen. So after a little research, we narrowed our field of possible candidates to 10 people:

  1. Kelly Ayotte
  2. Jeb Bush
  3. Chris Christie
  4. Bobby Jindal
  5. Bob McDonnell
  6. Tim Pawlenty
  7. Rob Portman
  8. Marco Rubio
  9. Paul Ryan
  10. John Thune

There are probably a few others we could include (or remove), but this is a solid, representative list for our needs. However you choose, pick 2-10 related brands to monitor in addition to your own.

2. Set up appropriate keywords for tracking.

Next, you need to track comparable terms for all brands. Most Twitter measurement tools (TweetReach included) will require a set of queries or keywords to begin tracking tweets. In this step, your goal is to make sure that your metrics aren’t later impacted by a data quality issue. If you monitor one brand’s Twitter account, then monitor all brands’ Twitter accounts. You probably know all the keywords you’d want to track for your brand, so think as carefully about the others as you did your own. Are you using common misspellings or nicknames? Are there other languages to consider? Multiple official Twitter handles or hashtags?

In this GOP VP case, we’re tracking full names (“Marco Rubio”)  and Twitter handles (@marcorubio) for all candidates. We opted not to add last name-only keywords since candidates like Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan have fairly common last names and that would result in more noise than useful data. Since we can’t track their last names, we won’t track any other last names either. You can decide what makes sense given your goals, but just be consistent across all brands.

3. Collect enough data.

The next step is to start collecting data. Some tools do this in real time, and others have historical data you can mine. Either way, collect enough data that it’s representative of the full spectrum of conversation about your brands. Conversations can be spiky over short periods of time, so it’s best if you have weeks or preferably months to balance out those spikes across all brands. A longer data collection period also allows you to notice trends in SOV changes. The more data, the better. The longer you’ve been collecting data, the better. 

GOP VP candidates see jumps in Twitter mentions when they’re featured in the news or after a public appearance. Some will just see more total tweets over time. We want to track long enough that we can differentiate between a legitimately higher metric and a one-time spike. In our specific case, we’ve only been tracking these candidates since early May (so just over two weeks) and the data is still pretty immature. Some of the candidates have been added even more recently than that, so their data is newer still. This means we shouldn’t take any of these metrics too seriously yet. But they will improve over time, so when we check in next month, we’ll have a much more representative picture of the true conversation.

4. Compare several metrics.

Finally, it’s important to compare brands across several different metrics to truly understand what’s going on. You may have a favorite stat or a particular KPI you’re targeting, but try to compare a few different metrics before deciding which to use moving forward. One brand might have a high reach, while another could have a lot of tweets. Use several metrics to compare, to see where the patterns are and what metrics make most sense in your industry or category.

Let’s look at a few metrics for the current top three Republican VP candidates (at least according to Twitter): Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan. This list will likely change as our data matures, but it’s fine for an early analysis.

One of our favorite metrics to start with is simple tweet volume. Tweet counts are useful in understanding the size of the conversation about a candidate. Below are graphs for both tweets per day and cumulative tweets so far this month for the three candidates.

You can see that Ryan (yellow) is slightly ahead of Christie (blue) in cumulative tweets right now, but both are increasing steadily. Christie has had two large spikes in daily tweet volume, while Ryan has had one. Both of these metrics will stabilize after a few more weeks, and we’ll have a clearer picture of who’s on top. Right now, I’d say Ryan has the slight edge on Christie, but it’s close.

And if we’re actually going to look at share of voice, let’s compare each candidate’s tweet volume to overall tweet total. In the past two weeks, there have been 46K total GOP VP candidate tweets. 35.2% of those mentioned Ryan, with Christie close behind at 32.9%. Track SOV over time, as changes in a brand’s share could indicate important perception shifts. For example, when we started tracking GOP presidential candidates in early January, Ron Paul dominated that conversation’s share of voice, and was mentioned in more than 40% of all tweets. But by April, that share had dropped off almost entirely, leaving the rest to Mitt Romney.

It’s also helpful to look at several metrics side-by-side. In this case, let’s compare reach, tweet volume and number of unique contributors.

Looking across these three metrics, Christie appears to be the frontrunner. His reach is currently more than 15 million, with 10 million for Rubio and 8 million for Ryan. Looking at reach and tweet volume in conjunction with contributors – the number of unique people talking about a candidate on Twitter – it seems like a lot of different people are talking about Christie and Ryan, while Rubio has a smaller group of vocal supporters. To achieve a 50% higher reach when compared to the other candidates, Christie was probably mentioned by a celebrity, typically the only people to have follower counts over a few million. (In this case, it turns out @jimmyfallon, who has 5.5 million followers, tweeted publicly to the governor.)

Reach is an excellent metric for share of voice, because it tells you about the size of the potential audience for a brand. The bigger the reach, the larger the variety of people who are spreading the message. A high reach indicates a diversity in contributors and audience, as well as some potentially influential and high-follower contributors.

We also recommend unique contributors as a share of voice metric. Which brand has more different people talking about it? One caveat about both reach and contributors is that since these are metrics based on counting uniques, you can’t compare one brand’s metric to an overall sum, since you can add up reach or contributor numbers to get overall reach or contributors. You can only compare reach to another brand’s reach. That’s still useful, but may not be a traditional share of voice metric.

Twitter and share of voice

Twitter is a incredibly rich source of share of voice data. If you’re tracking similar brands, products or people and one has an audience on Twitter, it’s likely they all will. Due to the real-time, public and archivable nature of Twitter, we can access this data for all kinds of useful analyses. People can and do talk about their favorite – and least favorite – brands on Twitter. For all these reasons, Twitter is perfect for SOV analysis, if you do it right. Doing share of voice right means selecting the appropriate brands to compare, ensuring consistency in search queries, aiming for long-lived data collection, and embracing diversity in data analysis.

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Written by Jenn D

May 21st, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Posted in Guides

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