Tarcizio Silva is a Brazilian practitioner and authority on social media monitoring and listening, organizer of several e-books and a curator of the upcoming conference, Social Media Brazil. We recently had an email conversation that touched on several topics of interest to all listeners – basic knowledge, communication, engagement and financial metrics, and movements towards establishing listening as a discipline.
Steve: Your e-book –To Understand Social Media Monitoring published this past January. What are the trends and key business issues contributors discuss in the book?
Tarcizio: The e-book, which was released in January, is part of a collective series of publications on Internet and Social Media. Throughout the articles, the authors attempted to define the 22 main topics and questions for the reader to obtain a basic knowledge of social media monitoring. Among these topics are: Information; ROI, Sentiment Analysis, Artificial Intelligence, Classification, Softwares, Public Opinion, Convergence and many others.
We achieved the goal of introducing beginners to the subject matter and to bring further discussions. To Understand Social Media Monitoring (Para Entender o Monitoramento de Mídias Sociais) is the first Brazilian publication entirely focused on the subject and distributed free, with a creative commons license, so I think it is a good contribution to the market.
Steve: What is your view on social media metrics? Which ones are helpful? Where is improvement needed?
Tarcizio: There is yet a great confusion regarding the definition of metrics for social media. You can tell by the market, both the Brazilian and international, that there are dozens of methodologies that were proven effective for some needs, but there is little standardization. Actually, I think that each agency should produce their own methodologies, but from universally accepted criteria.
Particularly, I find it interesting to establish metrics for communication and financial metrics. Three groups of metrics of communication are basic for a good social media monitoring aimed at analysis and performance optimization. The first, Reach, is also the one most valued by brands accustomed with traditional media metrics. The total number of people actually or potentially reached by the messages is important to understand how the brand can achieve touch points with consumers.
Engagement allows us to assess what is driving the actions of audience interaction and fans. Through engagement metrics, you can optimize content, know better the audience. Sentiment metrics, coupled with good classification and tagging planning, makes possible to identify how aspects, products, stages of communication and stages of sale are performing. The sentiment analysis has been the bastion of social media monitoring and is used until its exhaustion, but it is still essential when associated with intelligence information.
The financial metrics are more varied, but you must set them in an integrated manner with those responsible for the business, sales teams, customer service, HR, knowledge management, BI etc…
I think that more than the metrics improvement, we need better professionals and their ability to develop and apply qualitative methodologies. And this involves the understanding that social media monitoring is not a new and isolated discipline, on the contrary, it is related and should be better integrated with the marketing research, competitive intelligence and business.
Steve: How are companies learning to run and use social media monitoring research?
Tarcizio: In previous years, much has been accomplished through initiatives based on international benchmarking and some market innovations. However, insofar as the market for social media marketing grew, companies and developers began to emerge and specialize. Some of them started to produce corporative content to help develop the market and today we can say that the Brazilian social media agencies and tools can compete on equal footing with the American and European agencies. In fact, some are in the process of internationalization.
In the more strictly educational area, it is a trend to launch courses and disciplines of high level in several colleges and universities nationwide. Examples to support this are extension and postgraduate courses at FGV (Fundação Getúlio Vargas) and ESPM (Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing), two of the leading business schools in the country, designed by professionals and researchers as Nino Carvalho (@ninocarvalho) and Martha Gabriel (@marthagabriel).
Very recently some initiatives are noteworthy. One is the Social Media Cycle Project, created by a Brazilian software/tool, which aims to establish methodologies for the area, especially social media monitoring. This project is producing the first Brazilian event totally focused on monitoring and metrics, the Call2Social, which happens on April 20. Events already established, such as Social Media Brazil, also present focus on monitoring and measuring this year. Another good news is the future establishment of a social media monitoring committee on ABRADI, the Brazilian association of digital agencies.
Steve: Tarcizio, thank you. This was a fascinating conversation and I look forward to more exchanges.