Social Media! Emotional Media, Crucial Media, Brutal Media or natural media. The emotive math or mathy emotions. It all falls right here!
Our abhorrence for calculation enables us to mutually agree on statistically dubious metrics with nary a shrug or domed eyebrow.
The summing up of raves and rants will give you at the end of the day a spreadsheet filled with joyous figures.
I have done it all the time! You try to look at it from different angles, so that it makes sense. At least to you buddy! So it goes like this! Hey I see a lot of spike, what the hell happened this day? Ok, let groove the data a bit more. So there was this “New product launch” news for XYZ. Who is writing about it? Hmm.. Timmy from CA, Minny from MA and the list goes on! This is gonna be really positive sentiment generator. Uh-oh! Really? How come? Just coz you have a spike in conversation for you and you got enormous amount of news floatups?
Did you drilled really more harder to check how the numbers are summing up with deeper analytics into each post and was the engine really a mastermind to give you all what we wanted? I sometimes fancy the tech art of drawing auto sentiment? Ok, so here it goes, I define few keywords now, bad, customer service, sucks, hate……………(I think a list of 60-70 would be handy, ain’t it?) and they should be linked to an XYZ brand you are tracking. Huff! I think again, no there can be another possibilities too which I can miss? I make the list more bigger, so I add few more words (not on time, yuk, shit, … and blah blah blah). So at the end of the day, I really worked hard defined the tags which are the best as per my skill-set and I don’t think something will fall out of that. Ding ding ding! That’s the point you drew out, what you want to hear and what you don’t
I think most businesses feel the same about mixing math and social media. Eventually, Social media is definitely measurable, but the people that tend to use social media, aren’t analytical people. Though this is very broad and not as accurate as we like to think. Social media is very analytical if you think about it, since there’s a lot of maneuvering between sites and engaging that takes a bit of analytics to fully realize.
Social media is special, in that the one-to-one relationship you mention gives you the opportunity to really see the overall picture of how your brand is measured in the marketplace. As you say, that’s the good news. The bad news is there are so many tools out there, tools that measure differently and have different opinions on top-dog measurements, I can see why any business, new or old, would be scared to touch it.
“Social media almost always offers the advantage of complete—rather than extrapolated—data.”
What that means to me is, no matter what your business or reach, the data’s there to be found and, more importantly, utilized and applied to your business model, for increased potential of long-term success.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start by measuring things you can more easily track — like the impact of social media on your business objectives and goals. We have never been able to track the ROI of offline WOM, yet most CMOs would have told you and still tell you its important.
I think companies have a tough decision to make sooner or later when it comes to ROI — how much money and resources do you want to throw at tracking ROI down to the penny versus trusting employees who understand the ways of new PR and marketing and are really doing things your brand has always encouraged offline anyway. I don’t think the answer is no ROI tracking, but I do think we need to re-evaluate consistently and prioritize.
So what do we loose?
1) The ones who “get it” in the prospect team say “at this point, we can barely convince upper mgmt that there is ROI in social media, much less in monitoring it.”
2) Even if we had the data we wouldnt know what to do with it.The biggest problem I see (though most clients don’t even realize it) is that the largest share of social influence occurs on Facebook, but much of that remains invisible to monitoring tools (due to most users’ privacy settings).
Hmmmm… with all said and realizing the tug-war between and what’s quantifiable and what’s qualifiable, we can sum up something here:
What Should You Measure?
Well, differs from company to company. If you’re a business-to-business (B2B) company that has a long sales cycle with many conversations with prospects before they become customers, you can determine with relative ease whether that customer was influenced in some way by your social media efforts.Your type of company and how your business is structured has tremendous influence on what you can credibly and reliably measure within the social media realm. Measurement of all things—not just social media—is a discipline, not a task, and it needs to be a cultural imperative. If you’re going to ask about the value or impact of social media and how to measure it, you need to know how you determine those things for other areas of your business and translate or adapt some of those practices
And when you say “Social media isn’t measurable”, I think your organization is showing the following symptoms.
1. Tool misfit: Don’t have the right tools in place to collect the data we need.
2. Data mismatch: When we have all the data, we don’t know where to start.
3. Correlation mismatch: We don’t know which data might relate to other data to analyze it well.
4. Sufficiency Mismatch: We don’t have or won’t deploy enough data collection and analysis resources to figure this out.
5. IDK Mismatch: We’re afraid of what measuring will actually tell us about our effectiveness.
You need to understand whether you’re equipped with the right tools and data, whether you’re willing to spend the time evaluating that data, and whether you’re functionally and culturally prepared for what it might show you.Once you’re past that hurdle, you can get to the numbers – and if you’re going to do social media right, you need to get past your loathing for math. Nobody promised social media would be easy, only that it would be awesome.
The Autor is a Social media analyst with Checkbuzz. Please visit http://www.checkbuzz.com