We’re in the midst of conducting a social media audit for a company right now and I’m sitting on top of a mountain of metrics.
For us, the social media audit process is like taking a digital snapshot of a company from across the social web. We gather information on…
- What people are saying about the brand, and its products, services or industry.
- What keywords people are using in those conversations.
- What channels people are more apt to be talking in than others.
- How the velocity, frequency, location and sentiment of conversations about the client compare to those in reference to their competitors.
…And that’s just the big picture stuff.
Then, we look at each of the company’s social channels — and each social channel of each one of their competitors — and gather even more detailed analysis on who’s saying what, and to whom, as well as a host of other factors.
The nice thing about this process is that we never sit down with a client and say, “I think you might benefit from a Twitter feed for your company. Cause, you know…Twitter is super cool.”
Instead, we plop down data and say, “People are saying this about you here, this many times a day and X% more times than they do about your competitors. So, based on this intel and your goals, resources and comfort level with the medium, we’d suggest implementing the following four strategies…”
As I often tell clients, what they might give up on the back end in their ability to concretely track the ROI of all of their social media efforts (although that’s getting better all the time), they will gain on the front end in their ability to enter the social space with a wealth of information and laser-like focus on putting the right efforts in the right areas.
This audit and analysis process isn’t terribly sexy, but it is highly productive.
Problem is, sometimes it’s TOO productive.
I know everything about you…except why I want to know everything about you.
Like a lot of marketers, we’re like kids in a candy store with the amount of social media information we can measure for our clients. (And who can blame us? After years of thinking, “Well I hope someone driving by looked at that billboard,” having the ability to track both eyeballs and influence in real time is freakin’ liberating.)
And, just as there is a mother load of social channels out there, there is also a mother load of tools being developed to collect data from those channels. (Heck, we can collect Twitter stats from half a dozen tools, alone.)
So, you would think that with all that data, we’d have all the answers, right?
Sometimes it just gives us more questions…
- Sometimes we get so much data that it clouds our ability to see if we’re ultimately answering our client’s core questions. (I call this the, “Here are six reports on your Facebook Fans, but I don’t know if you should still be spending so much time on Facbeook.” phenomenon.)
- Sometimes, in an effort to test the accuracy of tools, we get metrics from multiple sources…and the data is conflicting. So then we’re not sure what information we should give the client. How do we choose which measurement is best when the tools are not making apples-to-apples statistical comparisons?
- Sometimes we know very clearly what it is that we want to assess, but we’re pretty sure the tools haven’t been invented yet to measure it — or, if they have been invented, we haven’t heard about them yet. So then we need to think of a suitable alternate metric to measure. (I call this the, “Jen drives Kary nuts by sending her on measurement goose chases” phenomenon.)
The point here is that social media analysis isn’t always black and white. And, it can be deceptive: “a lot of data” doesn’t always mean “accurate” data or “helpful” data — it just means “a lot.”
More often than not, having any data on your social media engagement will help you better understand your clients/customers and their response to your business objectives.
Just don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the tools out there that can give you this information and the seemingly endless array of data solutions at your fingertips.
When you look a little closer, you just may find that the right answer is only just a molehill on top of a very big mountain.