Do you have the full social media picture?

Do you have the full picture of what is being said about your brand or organisation on social media?

There is a big difference between listening to social media on a day-to-day basis versus deeper analytics, used to guide strategy and measure the outcomes of online engagement. For example, the needs of a brand trying to understand customer sentiment about a product or service are different from a government department co-ordinating the response to a natural disaster.

These different needs will be met by one or more of the following types of tools:

  • Monitoring – dashboards that automate finding on online mentions and conversations related to brand, topic or a branded social media channel (e.g. a Facebook page).
  • Social Analytics – specifically designed tools that collect and interpret data from social media channels – the focus being on data collection, not monitoring and engaging.
  • Web Analytics – track and report on visitor activity across different web channels (including mobile), including analytics to improve the user experience and measure marketing activities. Web analytics packages can also report referrals from social media.

In addition, some solutions may integrate or be part of a customer relationship management system and other tools might provide support for online engagement, social customer service, governance and content management.

In our work we have encountered problems such as:

  • Duplication of social media management solutions – this can have a knock on effect on both analysis and business process.
  • Poorly targeted monitoring and analytics searches that misrepresent what is really happening.
  • Issues with automated sentiment analysis that provide a false view of opinions.
  • Lack of governance around role and responsibilities, which exposes organisations to risk during a crisis.
  • Immature social customer service workflows, creating conflict with social media marketing efforts.

A cautionary tale about Google Flu Trends also highlights the dangers of analysis out of context, where social media spread news about the flu season faster than the flu itself:

Google’s disease-hunting algorithms were wrong: their results were double the actual estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which put the coughing and sniffling peak at 6 percent of the population.

Sometimes getting social media analytics right might just be about configuring the right social media management tool for a particular situation, but you might also need to think about:

  • Do you have the right research approach?
  • Are you looking in the right places for insight?
  • Would a specialist tool work more effectively?
  • Are the right management frameworks in place?

If you need help with social media monitoring and analytics right, please contact us.

For a sample of our work, see: