One of the major differences between social media and traditional media is DATA. In traditional media, users struggle with finding data to support the success of their campaigns. In social media, we’re literally DROWNING in data.
Developing market information is more a questions of weeding through mountains of data to find valuable insights. Add to this the complication that 80% of data is unstructured (text as opposed to numbers) and you see the problem.
Too much data
Take a look at this infographic, which shows the amount of data ADDED in just 1 MINUTE. Obviously, NO ONE can keep up this pace — even for a single minute.
Obviously, you need tools and processes to deal with all this data if you hope to glean insights that guide decision-making.
How to: Developing market information
- The first step in developing market information is to set goals and objectives for the organization. What do you hope to achieve as an organization? Greater sales? Better customer service? Improved brand reputation? Likely, your organization has multiple goals and that’s great, but they should all be SMART goals.
- Next, identify how social media marketing can help achieve those goals. Build a hierarchy leading to your goals. For instance, if you hope to achieve greater sales, increased brand awareness, improved brand image, and smooth progress through the sales funnel all contribute to increased sales. We call these KPIs and you need to set goals for each KPI.
- Determine which metrics effectively assess each KPI. For instance, assessing smooth transition through the sales funnel involves assessing how visitors move through pages represented in the funnel — evaluating exit and looping that occur during the process. If you want to assess brand image, monitor mentions across social platforms (including online news and blogs) and score mentions as positive or negative sentiment. Assess changes in sentiment over time.
- Choose marketing information system software that provides the most information regarding KPIs, with high accuracy (many tools are only about 70% accurate) at a reasonable price. Try to use marketing information system software that provides metrics for multiple KPIs in 1 platform or ensure your chosen software is exportable to a single dashboard, such as Cognos.
- Your software should do a good job of COLLECTING data, but transforming the data into something that makes sense can still be challenging because you’ll have tons of data. Creating custom reports that help you make sense of the data lead to better decisions. For instance, on a Google Analytics report, you might use filters to eliminate results with small numbers. Hence, in analyzing traffic sources, instead of looking at hundreds of sources, you might filter to look at only those sources sending more than 50 visits to your site. The same goes for analyzing pages driving visits to your site — filter to view only those pages sending visits that surpass a certain threshold. Using pivot tables generates covariance — or crosstabs — showing how 2 variables in your reports are related. For instance, you might want to view mobile by pages to see if certain pages don’t perform well on mobile devices relative to computers. Charts and graphs help visualize data, which often eases interpretation. And, don’t forget, many metrics are more valuable when viewed as trends over time rather than static at a single point in time.
- Use the data. If you can’t use the data to guide decision-making that improves your market performance, there’s no use in collecting the data. This means getting data to decision-makers in a form they can understand. Some market information system software allows each user to create custom reports and views to satisfy their particular needs — for instance a manager might view performance of certain brands while the CMO might need a report detailing performance of the entire portfolio of brands. Some managers are less savvy about business intelligence than others. You might need to provide written reports to certain managers detailing interpretation of data to guide their decisions.
Whether you need a complete social media marketing strategy or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel or developing a market information system that matches your needs. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.