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I recently wrote a blog post citing ten of the biggest complaints about social media research. Today I address complaint #9.

Social media research is too complicated.

Well, I can’t argue with you too much there. Social media research isn’t easy at all. There are so many intricacies and nuances that it’s impossible to simply buy one, analyze one, and prepare a report on one.

Data quality is far more than just removing spam. It’s about including messages the spell the brand name wrong, use slang words, and don’t even mention the brand name at all.

Sentiment analysis is far more than love is positive and hate is negative. There are thousands of words and phrases and emoticons and slang that carry emotion, and many of them depend on what category you’re talking about

Want to measure awareness? You had better know why that’s not possible. Want to know why the most expensive campaign you’ve ever launched is generating no data? You had better understand why. Want to know why I can’t give you a solid measure for a concept called “Makes customers feel at home?” You had better understand why.

Though the social media research I do has been designed to mirror survey research as closely as possible, there remain many differences, most of which require you to put your thinking cap on. So if you thought you could just pick up a single serving of social media research and be on your way without any help or training or guidance, then you are terribly misinformed.

But I’ll help. You just need to ask.

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