How to Leverage Social Media Analytics|Q&A With Thulium CEO Tamara McCleary

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How are you using your brand’s social media analytics?

Are you using them to create holistic customer profiles? Craft more personalized, relevant content? Measure brand sentiment? Perform competitive research?

If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, you’re leaving a lot of valuable information on the cutting room floor.

In order to maximize the impact of your brand’s social media analytics, you need to use it for more than just measuring post success or channel growth. Tamara McCleary, CEO of social media analytics and consulting agency, Thulium, is a big advocate for applying social media analytics across business functions.

Well, we spoke with Tamara to learn her secrets to leveraging the full potential of social media analytics. See what she revealed down below.

Leveraging Social Media Analytics With Tamara McCleary

Q: How are Thulium’s clients using social media analytics to improve their business or marketing strategies?

We encourage all of our clients to use social analytics, and of course, as you mentioned, this is what we do!

The most surprising for us is how many companies – even large, global enterprises – come to Thulium only having used minimal social analytics tools, or none at all. For our clients who are using social analytics and reporting tools, the greatest successes are coming from those who are measuring the performances of their posts across social platforms, including cadence, day and time of posting.

For example, a particular posting format may work very well on LinkedIn, but not as well on Twitter, and vice versa. Or a post in one geographic region does very well on a particular channel, while analytics may show us that the same post under-performs on a different social channel or within a different geographic location.

We run social and data analytics globally, and it's interesting the number of variables that go into a single social media post's success. Another place we are seeing massive positive results is in the tracking of how social media is impacting the sales funnel. By tracking each transaction on social media, Thulium can determine the impact of social media on sales, and it is significant, particularly for those companies who are willing to invest the time and effort into their social media programs. Through harnessing data and analytics, we are able to secure attribution for marketing's effort on social media, hence our Thulium tagline, "Driving Smart Social, Data-driven strategies and award-winning storytelling."

If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. If you can't prove spend, you'll lose that budget. We are here to align marketing to positive business outcomes casting marketing in the starring role as a business asset versus a liability.

Q: How can social media analytics and insights help drive differentiation?

Differentiation is the secret sauce to success in today's highly competitive marketplace.

Here's the exciting part, the guesswork is taken out of the differentiation equation when employing a highly strategic social plan derived from solid data and analytics. Social analytics and insights drive an organization's ability to uniquely personalize and create relevant content (and powerful storytelling) that grabs the attention of a well-understood target audience.

What are your customer's and prospects current perception of your brand? Are you communicating your brand's story (message), and pairing it perfectly your customer's most urgent and pressing needs? Differentiation means why and how are you different, and why should we care? What are the pain points your clients and prospects wrestling with most and how are you deliciously positioned to serve those needs in a way that sets you apart from your competition?

By deconstructing social engagement through asking the right questions of the data, we can craft strategic social messaging which meets our client's customers in the most relevant way. Relevance paired with a definable differentiation creates conversions, as well as, creating the opportunity for the brand to be recognized as the thought leader within their industry.

“By deconstructing social engagement through asking the right questions of the data, we can craft strategic social messaging which meets our client's customers in the most relevant way.” - @TamaraMcCleary on driving differentiation through #socialmedia.

Q: Your clients include both world-renowned B2B and B2C brands. How are their approaches to social media the same and how do they differ?

B2B and B2C are very different areas of expertise on social media, which is why we at Thulium specialize primarily in the B2B and enterprise space. The messaging in particular for B2B clients is much different than B2C as you aren't reaching out to the mass consumer-base, but rather, in B2B you are reaching out to a highly targeted audience of decision-makers, such as executives and business managers.

The approach for B2B is highly targeted and requires exquisite strategic micro-marketing. However, the similarities between B2B and B2C co-exist in mastering social media to create a genuinely engaged following. Building relationships is critical no matter what type of brand you are, B2B or B2C. Creating community and thought leadership requires a level of specificity and clarity around whom you are trying to reach and what you want them to do.

“Creating community and thought leadership requires a level of specificity and clarity around whom you are trying to reach and what you want them to do.” - @TamaraMcCleary on how B2B and B2C brands can grow through #socialmedia.

Q: In addition to social media analytics, you’re also an expert in technologies like AI, machine learning, blockchain, and others. How can brands leverage these technologies to improve their social media insights?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are the backbones of social analytics and management. Thulium uses AI because AI has the ability to comb through massive amounts of data to produce insights which would be missed by, or take too long for, a human being to extract the same insights.

Actionable insights mean real-time or near real-time response. Machines are simply faster and better at this than human beings. Machine Learning is quite exciting as algorithms respond to changes in data sets and iterate (learn, make changes within the program), without human intervention. Response time is in nanoseconds versus hours, days, weeks, or months.

Brands not leveraging technology are still making "gut" decisions on social media, which are excruciatingly slow, inaccurate, and prone to human error, misperception, and individual bias. Human beings tend to unconsciously make assumptions or judgments, and render emotional decisions based on gut impressions versus fact. We also tend to see our emotional impressions as fact, when indeed it is not factual at all. We cannot "know" a campaign is running well, or that a social post is performing successfully by simply looking at how many "likes" or "retweets" it garnered.

"Brands not leveraging technology are still making ‘gut’ decisions on #socialmedia, which are excruciatingly slow, inaccurate, and prone to human error, misperception, and individual bias.” - @TamaraMcCleary.

At Thulium, we are only interested in how the social strategy and the campaigns impact the business’s bottom line. It must be factual, measurable, and repeatable. The success of any social strategy or campaign must be judged by the data, and the measurable outcome, not by the human eye (a.k.a. emotion).

Q: Why is social listening important for today’s brands and what unique information can it help uncover?

It's essential to listen to what your clients are saying about you, as well as your competitors, and social listening uncovers both! It's also critical to understand what your competitors are saying on social media, and social listening uncovers this sparkling gem as well!

Again, I cannot stress enough, the cautionary tale of brands that blew off up-and-coming technology and ran themselves into the ground. Take heed: if you're not using the technology and tools available to capture this mission-critical information, you're essentially flying blind. Flying blind (or by the seat of your pants), is called guessing. Guessing isn't a great business growth strategy. Empower your social media marketing efforts by employing social listening. Through social listening, you're enabled to record and measure what you are doing well and understand what needs improvement.

How do your clients feel about you? (I mean, what are they really are saying, not what you "think" or hope they are saying.) What is the public's perception of your brand? (Remember, "perception is reality," from Sales 101?!) It doesn't matter how great we "think" our own brands are, what matters is what your customers, prospects, and public think (say) about your brand. What issues are most important to your customers and prospects? What are they talking about? Are you keenly aware and responding in a timely manner?

By harnessing the power of social listening, you gain knowledge and power! The knowledge to deliver to your prospects and clients what they want most and the power to own your area of expertise and set-up your brand as the thought leader in your industry.

If you're not using social listening, you're missing opportunities on a daily basis to grow the business. In today's disruptive marketplace, a brand cannot afford to miss the mark on understanding the customer. Savvy brands outsmart their competition by listening and responding to their customers. Relationship 101 is to listen before speaking, so why on earth would a brand start talking on social media without having first listened to the conversations they want to be a part of and eventually own? Through effective social listening, you can focus on personalization, relevance, and customer experience through creating the absolute best content and social media messaging to give you the engagement your target audience and brand craves.

“In today's disruptive marketplace, a brand cannot afford to miss the mark on understanding the customer.” - @TamaraMcCleary on the importance of #sociallistening.

Are you realizing your brand’s social potential?

Social media analytics have widespread applications from growing your social media following to performing competitive research, optimizing your customer experience, and more. So stop using your analytics tools for just channel growth and engagement. Use the advice above from Tamara to level-up your approach to social media analytics.

How else can you reach social media sophistication? Learn how you can evolve your approach to social listening by checking out our ebook, Climbing the Social Data Ladder:

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Follow Tamara on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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