Thursday, September 24, 2009

Placing a Value on Your Fans

Image by Getty Images via Daylife
In the hospitality world, we measure the effectiveness of what we do daily through RevPAR (revenue per available room), CPOR (cost per occupied room) and a lot of other metrics. In the online marketing world we are used to measuring CPA (cost per acquisition), conversion, commission, etc. We like to have numbers to operate by. After all, isn't that the promise of doing business on the internet the ultimate channel to track performance and tie it back to our marketing activity via analytics, log files, heat map studies, and more. But we often get stuck when it comes to tracking what our activity in social media is getting us.

You can have thousands of followers on Twitter. How many of those are real people and how many are bots just sending out tweets, but not looking at what you have to say? Fans on your Facebook page may just be following friends. What value are they providing to you if they don't interact?

There was a good post over at Search Engine Land today about measuring the value of Fans and Followers. So this made me dive deeper to see if there was any commonality to what people were using to measure effectiveness of social media. Here are my conclusions -
  1. Start with an objective in mind - if your goal is to spread the word about a promotion or package at your hotel. Then you'll want to track how often the goal is retweeted, or mentioned on Facebook pages. If you are trying to improve customer service, then track the performance of your overall satisfaction scores on guest surveys or online review sites after you place the social media campaign in to place. This makes it easy to see if they are getting to your About Us page or downloading the floor plans for meeting space.
  2. Look at both Quality and Quantity of Fans and Followers - Quality is important because a true fan spreads the word and gives you feedback. They are also usually more able to influence their friends. Also, it is less expensive to keep an existing customer than to find new ones. Quantity is important as it helps with reach. Did you know that the average person's newsfeed reaches 164 people on Facebook? Consider that there is a CPM value to having fans on Facebook because of the "Suggestion" function.
  3. Try an outside reporting service - Many companies specialize in tracking what is being said about companies online. They measure sentiment, guest reviews, mentions and things of that nature. There is some value to companies like this as they can help you look at the data from a broad perspective and can actually give you some data for comparison. Some examples of reporting services that exist are: ChatterGuard from Lodging Interactive, eBuzz Connect from Milestone Internet Marketing and Radian6.
I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on tracking Fan / Follower benefits and overall social media impact. Also, what if any service are you using to measure impact or compare hotel against your comp set?

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Lauren Vargas on September 25, 2009 at 7:09 AM said...

I am thrilled you encourage your readers to begin with an objective. Too often that step is lost in the quick race to implement social media initiatives. Thank you for including us in your list of monitoring tools.

Lauren Vargas
Community Manager at Radian6


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