Social intelligence is a vital component of a CMO's toolkit. Any modern, innovative CMO knows that to be successful he or she must integrate multiple data streams to glean valuable and actionable information for Marketing, Sales, and the wider business. Social insights provide vital support for a brand's marketing efforts.

I've previously explored why CMOs should be factoring social into their overall agenda; developing an understanding for how the benefits of social listening can reach beyond just the marketing and sales departments; and knowing how to start using social insights and campaign measurement/ROI.

In this installment, I will further explore that last piece: how CMOs can tell whether their social listening efforts are actually having an impact on their business.

First, CMOs (and other consumer insights professionals) must lose the outdated assumption that social listening value can't be measured because we can't attach or attribute hard numbers to it. Because we can. CMOs just need to know where to look to evaluate how successful they are in their quest to effectively harness insights to support broader marketing efforts.

Although there are numerous key performance indicators (KPIs) that any CMO can use to measure social success, the following four are the most surefire for telling whether you're executing a successful social strategy:

  1. Content engagement levels
  2. Consumer sentiment
  3. Consumer market insights
  4. Business impact on non-marketing departments

Content Engagement

Content engagement is a great way to evaluate whether you are actually reaching consumers with the blogs, case studies, and bespoke branded content you are amplifying on social.

It's a noisy world, especially when trying to gain share of mind and voice on social media, and most people don't care about most of the content you or I, or anyone else, publishes. So one way to check the effectiveness of your content is by measuring social engagement.

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Will McInnes is CMO of social intelligence platform Brandwatch. He's also a board member of the Big Boulder Initiative, the mission of which is to establish the foundation for the long-term success of the social data industry..

LinkedIn: Will McInnes