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Today’s Social Media Monitoring: The Real March Madness and 3 Ways to Sanity (and Insights)


Written by Bryan Haviland, New Channels Development Manager, Astute Solutions

social media success

As we move into March, “bracketology” is sure to become a trending topic.   It’s estimated that as many as 30 million people in America will fill out brackets as they follow the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball championships and attempt  to claim office pool supremacy.  It’s called March Madness for good reason – just look at some of the past numbers on the billions Americans wager and the hours of lost productivity caused by the tournaments!

But let’s cut to the chase.  The real definition of Madness, as we all know, is doing something the same way over and over again and expecting a different result.  Nothing underscores this fact more than the unsuccessful methods marketing and public relations professionals continue to utilize for social media monitoring and analysis.

As Don Bartholomew of Ketchum points out in his Metricsman blog, “The tough part about discovering insights is there are no shortcuts, and it is a human activity. No social media analysis platform that I have found has an insight button. The key barrier is lack of people who understand how to search for and discover insights.”

It’s just not that meaningful to simply know how many Facebook “likes” you were able to capture this month or how many more times your brand was mentioned in social conversations.  In order to graduate from mere statistics to relevant insights, brand managers must ask the question, “So what?” In other words, what actions will these facts provoke?

Brand managers must stop spending needless money and time on social media monitoring reports that provide data without insights – effectively failing to inspire action.  It’s time to step up your social media monitoring game.  Here are three practical ways to do it:

  1. Use the chalkboard.  Bring your social media monitoring/analytics team members into your marketing or PR strategy planning from the beginning.  Everyone wants to optimize social media ROI, and the more your monitoring team understands your goals and accountabilities up front, the better they can tune your social monitoring strategies to deliver insights and measures that help support your goals(or at the very least help adjust them). 
  1. Assess your provider strengths and weaknesses. Assess your team, including your solution provider, with a critical eye. Review your social monitoring solution to make sure it has the capabilities you need. There are many new providers who are developing smarter products every day that should reduce, not increase, the amount of money, time, and energy you spend on monitoring and analyzing social data. 
  1. Call timeout and huddle. Think (again) before you search. You shouldn’t have inexperienced staff inputting social media search taxonomies without an understanding of your business, your issues, and the specifics of what you need to discern from your search.  If you continue this practice, you will get troves of meaningless data. It takes a combination of 1) business acumen, 2) a market researcher mindset, and 3) in-depth know-how on setting up and navigating your social monitoring solution in order to measure real impacts and gain real insights. If what you’re doing isn’t delivering real value, change it!

By following these points, you’ll bring sanity to the Madness of social media monitoring and analytics, and deliver valuable measures and insights - instead of more statistics - to your C-suite. 

And speaking of statistics, if you’re one of those 30 million who plan to fill out a bracket this March: good luck!

If you enjoyed this post, check out our infographic: Making Sense of Social Chatter.



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