Based on that information, Shah says, Walmart began to target them partly with content and partly with promotions.
3. Don't Underestimate the Value of Good Content
"There are going to be times where we're going to put out a piece of content that the business needs us to, and people probably won't be excited about it," Shah says. "But outside those exceptions, we really try to create good content and part of that is educating ourselves about what good content is."
Shah compares his content strategy to a playground: His goal is to create an environment where people feel free to try and share different things, but metrics are still important.
"We share content that we think people will really like and we find out quickly whether or not it performs," Shah says. "It's about being authentic and transparent and providing value to build a better relationship."
In fact, Shah says, in the first few months after launching the community-based Twitter brands, Walmart chose not to spend any money on ads to promote the accounts.
"We wanted to make sure our strategy was sound and that we were delivering good content before we acquired a bigger audience based on a promotion," he says.
4. Get Creative in Your Metrics
Using metrics to gauge the success of a social media campaign is easy for the marketing department, Shah says, because there are plenty of tools that exist to track ROI and how much money was made from various activities.
But his department, corporate affairs, needs to be a little more creative.
One metric they track is awareness. "Generally speaking, awareness is a good metric and it's not as appreciated as we'd like," Shah says. "If you can say, 'Hey, by using these tools we were able to expose our message to X percent more people than the typical vehicle,' then that's great."
Aside from awareness, they also track more tangible metrics such as how often a post is retweeted or made a favorite, for example. But the ultimate response to a piece of content, Shah says, is action.
"There's a progression of value: engaging with it, whether good or bad; responding to it or favoriting it; and then such a love for our content that it compels someone to action," he says. "That's the ultimate holy grail of advocacy."
5. Work Your Data
Many businesses have the capability to collect data, but what separates the successes from the failures is what you choose to do with it.
"We use data, which is a seemingly impersonal and cold thing, to better understand our audience and to get close to building a more meaningful relationship," Shah says. "Everything we do is about data, which is why it's so important in building out a good strategy. It lets us collect information and gain insights that we haven't been able to do before."
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