What keeps marketers and communicators afloat in the vast sea of information? They usually get equipped with (often unnecessarily expensive) inflatable lifesaving charts. It is really common that these charts contain a ton of numbers but they often gloss over the insights. With the right insights from social data, great things can happen. So, we need to ask ourselves. Is it really good enough to just stay afloat, or should we start aiming for something more tangible, contextual and insightful?
Define & refine
Technically, these are two things already at the top of the list – but they are so intertwined that they should not be separated.
Make sure you have a clearly defined the purpose of why you are collecting social data and what kind of social data to gather.
Firstly, what is of most importance when this data is collected? Rather than collecting and presenting vanity metrics from social media, the more important thing should be placing digital behaviour in context. Then you will be able to gain insights on which to base smarter decisions. Can you and your organisation make any real business decisions based on the social data that you’re collecting?
Is the amount of likes or retweets on your own content what will amplify your sales, or is it perhaps more important to discover new topics and sub-topics amongst influencers and potential customers? Being able to deliver key points in the right context is probably the one thing that enables you to be the internal rockstar of your organisation when presenting social data to your boss or team.
You need to define what to do with the data beyond collecting it. If you’re collecting social data solely on vague topics or keywords, you will end up having your reports filled with bloated data in need of sorting. This is why the importance of smart filtering can’t be stressed enough. Also, know thy limits. Segmenting to infinity will in most cases provide you with too little information to make any sound decisions.
Fine-tuning your social monitors to get relevant data you can act on does not have to take a lot of time. Usually it is a combination of well-defined goals, a ‘let’s focus on relevancy’ mindset, and then put this into a set of proper analytics tools.
The importance of proper tools
Like most, you probably have an arsenal of different tools with different price tags. But are they really doing anything different when they gather social data?
If you have clearly defined the goals, you will notice that many of these tools fall short in providing you with either relevant or actionable data.
Jason Keath of Socialfresh wrote a great piece on how you can do a social audit to sort all your tools. If the tool is not saving the organisation any notable amount of time, doesn’t provide you with crucial information for the your daily work or the overall business, it is most probably a nice-to-have rather than need-to-have. This becomes especially important when refining your company’s social tracking.
Granted, not all PR & marketeers are responsible for providing actions throughout the whole sales funnel, but what if you could get enough data and insights to go a step beyond reach and impressions?
Make your social data easy to understand
Maybe you need to present the social intelligence data and insights to your boss or your team. Make sure that it does not become a slideshow of charts. Present the purpose, the context from which the data was collected and then pick out the juicy insights that you can take action on. Maybe you discovered that your customers are talking about your products in relation to unexpected everyday situations? This could provide new business opportunities for you to present and will definitely give your organisation and yourself a leg up in you content strategy or how you can market new offers.
Defined goals, fine-tuning and analytic tools only get you so far. In the end, it is up to you to be able to suggest course of action and present opportunities for your business. But with the proper preparations – and most importantly – proper tools, it’ll be smooth sailing in the never ending sea of information.