Raytheon uses a combination of homegrown social media analytics tools and those commonly available on social media platforms to keep tabs on messaging and sentiment.
As Raytheon's social media presence grows, so does its risk of exposure to a negative PR event. Therefore, Wickham includes social media managers in all corporate crisis strategy planning and drills. "We've always had a robust emergency response plan within the company but now we've baked in a viral element," she says.
A recent corporate responsibility event put Raytheon's social response to the test. The company had partnered with a major football team to provide free game tickets to a group of veterans. One of the invited veterans posted on the company's Facebook page that he only received one of the two tickets promised, along with a negative comment.
Raytheon's team immediately contacted him directly and found that the distributor, rather than asking for more tickets, only handed out one ticket to each person. Raytheon was able to rectify the situation in time for the game -- something Wickham says wouldn't have happened if the Facebook page weren't so closely monitored.
To fully realize his vision, GE's Marcum says that social media platforms need to add attribution, so brands can track back content to individuals through re-tweets and shares. "Once we have the total picture, we can better understand where conversion pricing" -- or the cost to acquire a customer -- needs to be, he says.
Best Western's Morton contends that better attribution will help monetize social marketing efforts by showing the origin of sales -- for instance, an influential blogger sharing a hotel discount posting -- and "shorten the bread trail crumb to customers." His group wants to see "when and where the customer is making the purchase," he says.
The one major constraint in this vision is "making sure we can get the operational data included," Morton explains. "IT plays a crucial role here because Medallia gathers a large amount of customer feedback data, but the more we can tie customer feedback to operational metrics, then the more potential there is for insights and focused, impactful action... Hopefully as systems grow more integrated we can better automate some of these processes, allowing us to focus on deriving value from the information."
Ultimately the goal is for this process to be relatively instantaneous, Morton says, so "the second an online review or feedback pops up Medallia is already processing information captured by Best Western on what happened during the customer's stay."
For its part, PCH plans to use attribution not just to evaluate advertising ROI, but to identify influencers in the PCH social media universe as well as the audience members who are most active.