Sunday, December 8, 2013

Treat Social Media Like a Grown-Up Data Point

A colleague of mine recently published a whitepaper titled Tracking What Matters: Best Practices and Common Pitfalls in Social Media Measurement.  She raised a great point in the article, that a majority of companies don't treat social data like a "mature up data point".  Let's face it, we're still early on in the adoption phase of social media.  Most companies are starting to utilize social media for marketing and outreach purposes, but few are using social media data as they do other data.  They find it useful it getting a message out, but then don't want to really want to unleash the true power of social media: the data it can provide.  It's almost like how a parent treats a child, making the child sit at the kids table at dinner while the parent goes to socialize at the grown up table.  Think about it, if you find social media useful as a promotion tool, then what does that say about the medium?  It means that other people are using it.  More importantly, it means that your customers are using it.

Let's put it into context.  For those of you who own a brick and mortar shop, we know that you spend a significant amount of time and resources worrying about satisfying your customers needs.  So you don't run out, you make sure that your store is fully stocked with those items that are most popular.  You make sure those items are in the most convenient places.  You make sure that you advertise about the fact that you carry those items.  If your customers ask for something that you don't sell, you consider making that item part of your next order (if not, then you should).  These are the things that good business owners do.  This is why the lack of focus on social media data strikes me as ignorant.  There are things being said on social media about you, your competitors, and your industry, that could probably help your business.  They can help you learn more about your customer, and what your customer wants.  They can help you become a smarter business.  So do yourself a favor, even if you think it's still "too new" or that your customers aren't on social media, treat it like a grown up data point and integrate it into your knowledge funnel.  Chances are you just might learn something new.