As a brand or business, it’s not enough for you to simply “be online”. Companies of all shapes and sizes need to be on various marketing channels and utilize them effectively. Just like radio and television, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are now genuine marketing channels, and they require serious attention to drive real business success. Learning how to use and read metrics that are available to businesses through social media, can have a profound impact on a business’s level of success.
Organizations of all shapes and sizes use (or should use) performance measurements in order to better understand how they are performing and to gather information that will help them perform better in the future. They provide information that will help the organization improve its performance, focus its resources, and better achieve its goals. There are a range of performance measures that organizations can utilize to gauge the successfulness of their activities such as the volume of output (i.e. number of items produced in a day/week/month, the number of people served etc.), product quality (e.g., number of defects), speed to supply the customer (lead time), employee morale, etc.
In recent years, companies have begun to embrace social media metrics, as a means of measuring the performance of an organization’s social media activities. Social media metrics can include marketing metrics such as consumption, sharing, lead-gen, and sales metrics, but they can also include activity tracking metrics such as simple mentions, news alerts, advanced searches, targeted searches, real time and/or website monitoring. These metrics play a similar role to that of traditional performance measures, in that they provide information that will help an organization to improve its performance, focus its resources, and better achieve its goals. They also enable companies to gain real insights into how people feel about their product or service in a timely manner.
As a relatively new concept for many organizations, social media metrics for many businesses can be daunting. The amount of data available from social media is a catch twenty-two: it’s great to have but it can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to focus on. The key is to keep things simple. Focusing on a few simple metrics that tell you the main things you need to know about a certain activity will tell you what you will need to do to improve the certain activity. For social media, there are four important areas a company should focus on:
- Consumption Metrics: how many people viewed, downloaded, or listened to the piece of content
- Sharing Metrics: how resonant the content is, and how often it was shared with others
- Lead-gen Metrics: how often the content consumption results in a lead
- Sales Metrics: did the content generate any revenue
Regardless of which performance measures or metrics a company adopts, it is important to align any initiatives with the organizations overall goals and objectives. Whether you want to identify the benefits of social media for your business, or demonstrate value added to upper levels of management, knowing your business goals and objectives is the first step. Your social media objectives may include increasing subscriptions, generating new leads, or driving direct web-traffic. Whatever your goals, knowing what your trying to achieve enables you to take the correct steps and use the right tools to assess and adjust your efforts if you’re not hitting the mark.
The new digital era is affording businesses with the opportunity to pursue their organizational objectives, and manage aspects important to their business. Retailers, like craft beer breweries, can affect change within their organization through the use of social media and social media metrics. The beer landscape is a highly competitive network. For many breweries, understanding metrics can help them succeed with their daily business and be even more successful than their competitors. This has certainly been the case with New Belgium Brewing Company.
New Belgium Brewing Company is a 100% employee-owned craft brewery, originating in Fort Collins, Colorado. Founded in 1991 by Jeff Lebesche and Kim Jordan, the company is the fourth-largest craft brewery, and eleventh-largest brewery in the United States.
The social media team at New Belgium meets every Tuesday to review and discuss the social media analytics from the week prior and determine what to put on the calendar for the week to come. Ranked as a Genius brand in 2016, and a Gift brand in 2017 by the business intelligence firm L2, the company, through the use of social media metric analysis, has come to realize that social media content isn’t all about being product-centric. Instead, they use their social media channels as a way to unveil the company’s daily operations. “We look at what’s going on with the brand right now and how we can take people behind the scenes,” said Kevin Darst, digital manager at New Belgium. By focusing the content on brewery life rather than product promotion, they are more likely to appeal to long-time customers and fans, a targeted audience population
The company’s Snapchat content is aimed at craft-beer drinkers who value seeing the brewers and blenders up close. Viewers can experience a walk-through of the facilities, operational procedures such as canning lines, and ask questions about the brewing process itself. For Darst, the Snapchat content is, “…less about new products and more about brewery life…Working here is sort of like working in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The vibe is really awesome, and we try to capture that in those snaps.” In April 2016, snaps for National Beer Day were featured on the main Snapchat Stories page and ended up generating more than 10 million views. That’s huge for business exposure, brand awareness, and customer engagement. However, Darst acknowledges that Snapchat has its challenges. The platform doesn’t let you target specific audiences the way that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can.
In May 2016, New Belgium launched its first Facebook Live broadcast, showcasing the unveiling of it’s newly expanded tasting room and outdoor space. “It did extremely well,” Darst said. “Live gives you the broadcast opportunity of Periscope but with the scale of Facebook, and we get much better reach than we do with our organic posts. Facebook treats Live content differently.” The video received upwards of 25,000 views—five to 10 times more than the brand’s average Facebook post, and something the company has utilized ever since.
Lessons for Others
No matter the size of your brand or business, a strategic approach to social media can generate real, positive results. Regardless if an organization is using performance measures, social media metrics, or a marrying of the two, the starting point for all metrics is to flush out the goals of the organization. The performance measures that are identified for each area of the organization should steam from these goals. Similarly, the social media metrics should be carefully aligned with the organization goals, ultimately driving social media behavior that will contribute to these goals’ achievement. Aligning social media activity with the organizational goals, will ensure that the organizational social media activities are contributing to organizational performance. Done right, engaging audiences at each stage of the sales funnel transforms passive followers into warm leads and life-long brand ambassadors. The lesson for beer brands is this: Social media content must be exclusive, distinctive, and have substance. In the craft beer industry, there’s no room for skunked beer or bad foam.
New Belgium Brewing Company
Industry: Online Retail
Name of Organization Contact: Kevin Darst, Digital Manager
Authored by: Allie
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
Carr, P. (2018). Social Media Metrics. Week 6 Course Content Material. Retrieved from https://learn.uwaterloo.ca/content/enforced/373949-CE-SMBP100_002_cel_1185/lecture-content/weeks/week6/week6.html?ou=373949
Gartner L2. (2018). Beverages 2017. Gartner L2 Digital IQ Index. Retrieved from https://www.l2inc.com/research/beverages-2017
The Denver Post. (2016). New Belgium Brewing Company at 25 Years. Youtube Video. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soA89ylvxJ8
Udy, B. (2018). Top Social Media KPIs and Metrics for Measuring Success. Taylor + Goes. Retrieved from https://www.taylorandgoes.com/2018/05/16/social-media-kpis-metrics-success/
Wegert, T. (2016). 3 Beer Brands Brewing Great Social Media Campaigns. Contently. Retrieved from https://contently.com/strategist/2016/06/06/3-beer-brands-brewing-great-social-media-campaigns/