In last month’s blog post, we shared an article from CIO titled “Why Social Listening Platforms are Failing” that may have brought you face to face with a startling realization: social monitoring has been around for almost a decade, yet companies still struggle to demonstrate the value of monitoring it.
This trend is infiltrating more and more organizations as time goes on. Companies invest a significant number of resources into social planning, development, and monitoring; hire the best of the best; and take the time to review and consider the results. And yet they still struggle to tie a value to their social data intelligence, let alone feel confident enough to base real decisions on it.
We’re not surprised, and you’re not alone. The market has made it clear that actionable social data intelligence is a worthwhile pursuit. With the right application and understanding, you can gain unprecedented insight into consumer behavior targeted down to the smallest detail. You can unveil lucrative white space opportunities and competitive advantages, and you can act with more confidence than ever before. But without the right pieces in place, it may feel more like you’re investing in an expensive opportunity that still has barriers to fruition.
Making the Move From Possibilities to Actualities
This push and pull between the opportunity of social data analytics and the actuality of it is frustrating. The average enterprise data team can see the possibilities in social data intelligence, but it can’t seem to tap into them directly. These teams are left with a lot of data that they haphazardly string together into infographics and reports that are detailed, yet lacking in context and substance. The result is an arsenal of data that took a lot of work to collect, but that still isn’t actionable.
In this situation, many companies find themselves with a major investment in social data — looking at all the right details on all the right platforms — unable to act on the data with the confidence and resulting insight that they planned to have. And that creates a frustrating gulf between the information you have and the actionable insight you need.
What to Do For Real Business Insight
Social data intelligence has too much potential for the future success of your business to ignore it. You have the resources, and you have the drive to see results. The next step is to carefully evaluate the investments you’ve already made so that you can remove the existing barriers to understanding, visualizing, and activating data.
Here are three questions you can use to guide that evaluation and reveal data that thinks, not just listens.
Is your data clean?
We refer to data that is straight from the source as “dirty data.” Unprocessed, unfiltered data has no context, and it essentially makes up noise that needs to be filtered to see what’s there. Without context, you can’t determine meaning. This makes it difficult — if not impossible — to get to what the data means. The first step in establishing is to filter the data you collect for linguistic and contextual meaning. Only then will you be able to understand what your customers are truly saying and why they’re saying it.
Are you relying too heavily on software or platforms?
In today’s technology-friendly age, many companies underestimate the importance of human intelligence and analysis. But you can’t rely on information that comes straight from the source. If your current process relies heavily on machine segmentation (via tools, collection processes, or otherwise), you need to incorporate a level of human analysis.
Are the results considered from an expert perspective?
Social data is a major contributor to marketing strategy, reputation management, product development, and campaign development. However, focus groups can never tell you as much as analyzing and translating millions of online conversations and brand discussions 24/7/365 can. In the process of collecting and evaluating your data, you need to consider each revelation from a specialized approach. And not just from an intern or assistant’s perspective — you need a diversified team of experts to organize and activate your data for a specific purpose.
Unfortunately, the companies that fully actualize their social data intelligence are few and far between. If you want to achieve true understanding, visualization, and activation of your social data, you need to delve into the context of your customers and data points with the questions listed above.