The Best Thing You Can Do TODAY
Are you listening to your constituents and acting on what you learn from them?
Last month I pondered on How Social Media is Like Peanut Buttered Toast – it can lead us into some messy situations if we don’t handle it carefully. A particularly sticky trap is cognitive dissonance – seeing what we want to see; hearing what we want to hear, and any evidence to the contrary be darned.
It’s important to make our social media plans more evidence based. We need to do three things: (1) collect data; (2) analyze data, and (3) act on data . But… what data to collect? What are we trying to learn? Who should be charged with responsibility for acting on the data analytics? A recent interview summary prepared as a lead up to the upcoming Social Media Analytics Summit in San Francisco highlights:
Ways social media analytics can be most/least useful
Yahoo!: For marketing, social media analytics provide measurement of campaign effectiveness, brand image and association, and reactions to marketing messages. For product teams, social media could provide insights into users’ mindset as to why they use one brand or type of product versus another, and could help uncover unmet needs in the market place. For the researchfunction, social media is becoming an important data source to compliment traditional market research.
American Airlines: The obvious place is in the area of Customer Relations with feedback to the operational where improvements are critical. In CRM, knowing which customers are influencers can help us determine who can help us with our marketing messages and who can do the most damage when a service failure occurs. Human Resources and managementin general can learn about employee attitudes and concerns using internal Social Media. Happy employees can translate into happy customers and the reverse is even more strongly true.
TheFind: Marketing. Word of mouth is legend for catapulting shooting stars and cratering entire quarters. The immediate health of just about every company today may be determined by how quickly and effectively marketing can pivot to leverage opportunities and respond to failures in social media.
OdinText: I expect Predictive Analytics will become more and more important regardless of data source or use case.
WebMetricsGuru: The PR/Comms function of business has the least to gain, they have already “co-opted” social media, and often the uses of social media are governed by corporate communications, which tends to dilute the quality and integrity of the data that is obtained. The aims of marketing communications and those of analytics are antagonistic to each other, with the former focusing on messaging and spin, and the latter focusing on a truthful understand of social data and what that data means.
Think about who could use some social media evidence in your organization, and how this information might inform their next steps. Who’s the best person/department to collect the data? Do you have the tools in place to do so? Who understands the data sufficiently to be able to draw reasonable, logical conclusions from what is collected? Raw data is not useful. If you don’t have the personnel in place to interpret your data, this is an area for growth.
To get an idea of the skills needed, take another look at what Social Media Analytics Experts have to say. There’s also a great tutorial outline from Stanford that highlights some of the best techniques for social media modeling, analytics and optimization. And there are some good books too.
It’s time in the evolution of social media – which has been considered the new frontier of marketing — to bring some discipline to the practice. Let’s remember the purpose of social media: building relationships! We need to measure whether our social media strategies are achieving this outcome. Otherwise, it’s just plain old ‘media’; nothing social about it. If we don’t use social media platforms to shift from a broadcast mechanism to a many-to-many information exchange model, rooted in a conversational format between authors and people, then we’re not learning from our constituents. We’re not getting to know them better. We’re missing the whole point.
See me, feel me, touch me, heal me.
Listening to you, I get the music.
— From the Rock Opera Tommy, by The Who
Do you know the point of your social media plan? Does your boss agree? Do all departments within your organization agree? What challenges do you face to bring discipline to your social media practice? What will you do to assure everyone ‘gets the music’ of your constituents?