A critical success factor for best-in-class analyst relations (AR) programs is an appropriate measurement program. A measurement program can help AR managers demonstrate the business value of AR, generate information to improve day-to-day operations, and harvest intelligence valuable to the Sales organization. As social media matures into a regular part of the business communications environment AR managers will need to start incorporating data from blogs, micro-blogs, social networks, podcasts and so on into their measurement programs. However, because social media is just another form of communications, AR teams should not get too stressed about the implications of this step. Rather, they should just consider this step the logical and not too burdensome evolution of AR measurement. Ways in which social media might fit into an AR measurement program include:
Analyst Opinion Monitoring – This item is the most important because analyst commentary in social media can negatively or positively impact ongoing sales deals. For more information please read Social media inputs need to be added to analyst opinion monitoring programs.
Operational Metrics – These metrics measure AR team tactical and strategic activities and are generally reported through an AR Balanced Scorecard*. Including social media metrics (e.g., number of blog posts per month or number of comments on analysts’ blogs) will help the AR team get in the habit using social media. Care should taken not to create “make work” that will not contribute to desired outcomes.
Performance Metrics – Also called outcome metrics, performance metrics measure the business value of the AR program. These metrics typically focus on sales deals impacted by analysts and AR, and changes to analyst opinion. Analyst commentary in their blogs and blogs comments can be used to assist the Sales force (impacting revenues) and demonstrate movement in analyst opinion.
* SageCircle Advisory clients, either Annual or Hour Blocks, can request a copy of the AR Balanced Scorecard SageToolTM. Getting the SageTool will permit clients to save time by not reinventing the wheel as well as getting the best practices embedded in the tool. In addition, clients can sign up for an inquiry to go through this SageTool, how to apply it their situation, which metrics are best for them, and where it fits into an overall measurement program.
- Review your existing measurement program to ensure that it still meets the original objectives
- Determine where social media metrics are appropriate to add
- Identify existing metrics that are candidates for elimination
- Pilot data collection techniques for new metrics to ensure that it is practical to collect the data
- Create draft reports and portal pages that illustrate how the new metrics will be distributed
- Socialize the new metrics with management and other stakeholders to get input and buy-in
Bottom Line: Incorporating social media metrics into your measurement program is not just a nice-to-have activity, but critical for best-in-class AR programs. It is better to take this step now when social media is still a relatively small part of the overall communications environment. The experience gained today will pay off immediately in harvesting valuable information and giving you the experience to be more efficient and effective when social media develops into a much higher profile medium.
Question: AR managers – Will you use this opportunity to review your overall measurement program? Which parts of social media will you concentrate on first?