How Did You Score?

originally posted on Concept Hub

This week we will review our Social Media Quiz that we posted last week.

The quiz was developed for a few reasons.

  • It raises awareness of some of the major opportunities and threats of social media that organizations need to consider.
  • It allows everyone to get a benchmark of where they stand in the world of online conversations and a peer to peer marketplace.
  • It gives us a series of goals to strive for to improve our client’s position this world of online conversations and a peer to peer marketplace.

A perfect score would suggest that an organization:

  • Is outscoring their competition
  • Reputation is protected by their online fans
  • Has established word of mouth marketing channels
  • Has a high penetration of dialog within their target market
  • Has a message that is above the noise level
  • Are invited into online communities – Barriers are knocked down

To accomplish such an endeavor, an organization’s internal communications would need to be able to rapidly respond to the market intelligence and sentiment coming from the external communities. This means knocking down silo-ed walls internally and creating a collaborative environment within the organization.

So, how did you score? Let’s review the questions.

Questions 1-3 is based on how you scored compared to the competition.

Question 1 asked – How much discussion is happening online about your industry?

If you answered “I don’t know” you lost points. If you answered “no discussion at all” you received a 0 for lack of effort. Beyond that your score was based on volume of conversation. Obviously the more volume the more opportunity. However even if the volume is low there is still opportunity to be the premiere online voice within your industry.

Question 2 asked – When researching information about clients, prospects or competitors how much time do you spend reviewing blogs or forums?

Again, the more time you spend the better your score. This is because you are putting a significant amount of effort understanding your market as opposed to  looking at elaborate marketing copy and there is a significant amount of valuable information online to sort through

Question 3 asked – When reading a blog or forum about your industry how often have you found your competitors contributing to the conversation?

Here, the more your competitors are contributing to the conversation, the lower your score. It means they are creating a loyal customer base, gathering market intelligence, and creating a significant barrier to entry for you.

Questions 4-6 is focused on protecting your online reputation.

Question 4 asked – How concerned are you about what others will say about your company in an online community?

This question is weighted as a bell curve. The best answer is somewhat concerned. Anything less suggests an organization has their head in the sand, anything more is paranoia that could paralyze an organization.

Question 5 asked – What best describes your organization’s policies and guidelines for responding to negative comments about the organization on forums and blogs?

This question has two answers that are tied for the high score;

d. Contact the person who made the post in an attempt to resolve the issue

e. Publicly respond to the comment on the site

The other options have potential for devastating backlash.

Question 6 asked – What is your organization currently doing to monitor online conversations?

The score to this question is a sliding scale with the best answer being;

e. We monitor as well as stay active in online communities, and are often alerted of relevant conversations by people in our network

Questions 7-9 is focused on the opportunities for online viral marketing.

Question 7 asked – Choose each answer that describes how your organization encourages referral business online?

The more choices selected the better. However each answer has it’s own score. Although we recognize the value of an email marketing campaign, such a campaign does not have the reach as a thriving online social network that retains the loyalty of existing customers and acts as a magnet for new customers.

Question 8 asked – How much does your organization review relevant on-line conversations prior to creating and launching a marketing campaign?

The scores for these answers are also on a sliding scale. The more you know about your customers the better your marketing campaign will resonate with them, even if said campaign is not even online.

Question 9 asked – How does your organization distribute content throughout the web (select as many as applicable)

Answers A and B receive a 0. Beyond that each answer scores equally. Why? Because each choice is only as effective as the strategy behind it. Meaning an email campaign with the right message aimed at the right audience will be much more powerful than irrelevant Link Exchanges.

Questions 10-12 is focused on gathering market intelligence.

Question 10 asked – How relevant are online communities to your organization?

Here is the reality. Online communities are very relevant to your organization whether your organization chooses to acknowledge online communities or not. Someone, somewhere online is talking about your organization, and it could be your employees innocently collaborating with others about a project which could potentially sabotage the organization’s intellectual property.

But if there are no online conversations about your organization, check to see if there are conversation about the competition. Do your competitors have an upper hand on online viral marketing opportunities?

Question 11 asked – How many influential bloggers relevant to your industry has your organization developed relationships with?

The more the better. These are the people who have their ear to the ground and will provide cutting edge information to those in their close circles.

Question 12 asked – How many relevant online social networks is your organization strategically positioned in?

Again, the more the better. The key word here is “strategically.” Social Networking sites are not about “shelf space” as in having a profile waiting to be discovered. It is about…well…the other key word in the question “Networking.” This is equivalent to sending your team to the right association meetings and conferences.

Questions 13-15 are focused on rising above the noise level.

Question 13 asked – How valuable is your message to your audience when positioned within an on-line community?

Obviously the more valuable the more your message will rise to the top.

Question 14 asked – What percentage of your company is participating within on-line communities on their own?

“I don’t know” is a very bad and scary answer. However, again, the more employees that you do know about the better. These are people with real relationships in real networks. This is like asking how many of your employees have a social life and might be able to uncover sales opportunities, market knowledge, or recruit talent for the organization through their social connections.

Question 15 asked – What percentage of your company is participating within online communities on behalf of your organization?

Again, “I don’t know” bad and scary answer. Again the more people representing your company online the better.

Let me rephrase it this way. How many logo shirts and hats have you distributed to your team to wear when they are out and about? How many employees have direct access to your customers or vendors or partners? If you are encouraging your team to represent you offline, why would you not encourage them to represent you online?

Questions 16-18 address the barriers to entry into online communities.

Question 16 asked –  How comfortable does your organization feel about commenting on relevant blogs?

The more comfortable the better. A good social media strategy starts with the right organizational culture.

Question 17 asked – How receptive do you feel your on-line communities, relevant to your industry, are to advertising or marketing messages?

The least receptive a community is to a marketing or advertising message the more challenging it will be to conduct business within.

Question 18 asked – In what ways has your organization enhanced accessibility to the online community? (select as many as applicable)

Like many of the other questions, the more ways your organization has enhanced accessibility to the online community the better. However, again the choices that are implemented have to make strategic business communication sense and be user friendly.

A social media strategy is much like a business plan. Rarely can the strategy be “build it and they will come.” An organization has to understand the market, the needs their contribution will satisfy, and the competitive landscape.