What to look for when investing in social media analytics
The days of 17 Facebook likes acting as a barometer for a successful product launch, blog post, promotion etc are well and truly measurement methods that should have been binned half a decade ago. In 2018, data driven, informed, intelligent marketing is probably the only type of collateral that your audience will bother paying attention to. With the evolution of social media analytics, businesses can now create marketing content that’s timely, in front of a segmented, relevant audience and delivered across the most effective platform to promote engagement and interactivity.
It’s this intelligent data sourcing that most brands should be seeking to get their hands on to build a picture of their audience and become more efficient, proactive marketers. To help you get to know the world of social media analytics, we’ve put together a 5 step guide explaining what to look out for in order to choose the right provider for your business needs.
Define what channels you want to analyse and ask prospective providers what levels of access they have to your prioritised channels. For example, in Asia, Linkfluence is the only provider in the Western world to have access to Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat and Sina Weibo; providing unrivalled access to an audience of over 1 billion people.
APAC stream inclusion in Radarly
Is the data delivered in real-time? If you want to be as effective as possible with your marketing, make sure that the platform delivers its data in real-time and not lagged. This will not only enable you to react instantaneously to any changes in data patterns but also give you more control over any emerging crises.
Ease of Use
If a platform isn’t structured properly and just brings in uncontrolled data or doesn’t allow you to write queries in a precise manner, it’s going to cause you apocalyptic levels of stress. You should never be more than a couple of clicks away from the information you’re after, which should be visualised and clear, rather than displayed as incoherent data.
Boolean queries (using ‘AND’ ‘OR’ ‘NOT’ modifiers) are one way that any software worth its salt will have as an option for refining data, along with a simplistic query writing method.
Basic and Boolean query building in Radarly
Choosing an interface that is easy to navigate and user friendly is integral for accessing that key data as quickly as possible. If you intend to spend a lot of time in the system, make sure you’re comfortable with the interface and navigation features. Asking for a free trial or demo will give you the chance to find out how the UX works for you. Ask about what customisation and personalisation is included, the more you can bespoke your dashboard and the quicker you can unearth insights, the easier your life will be. Features such as automatic alerts will keep you informed in real-time and ready to react in a timely manner.
Having a custom reports module adds an invaluable method of exporting your data to share with the wider business. If the solution offers this service, make sure the reports are rendered in a concise, visually appealing way and that you can export in a variety of formats to suit your needs.
Innovation and Adaptation to suit a changeable market
In the digital world, the future is never certain and new technological advances in A.I. and machine learning mean that the landscape is equally exciting as it is subject to change. In your search for a social media analytics provider it is therefore a prerequisite that you choose an organisation that is constantly innovating their technology with new features, honing existing features and flexible enough to deal with any social media alterations, such as API changes, both short and long-term.
Keep a look out for providers that are leading the way with new ground-breaking features. Most companies eventually catch-up after a certain amount of time to align themselves with industry leaders. Take time to check old press releases so that you can timestamp for when certain social media analytics companies added new functionality of note to see who really leads the way. New additions to the social media analytics portfolio include image recognition and natural language processing - linguistic artificial intelligence that allows a program to understand human language on a nuanced level.
Image recognition in Radarly
If you choose the right provider for innovation you could be reaping the benefits of enhanced features that your competitors don’t have at their disposal.
Not to be confused with data coverage, data availability refers to the output of your data and its accessibility. To get the most out of the measurement features from within your tool make sure you understand how in depth the metric reporting goes and what each measurement factor means. Native metrics such as reach, volume, virality, likes, engagement rates, sentiment, shares and followers should all be a mainstay if you want to benchmark your campaigns with accuracy.
In depth social metrics in Radarly
Also, make sure to question whether they have an open API; if they do it’ll give you more flexibility in integrating other software such as Google Analytics with your social media data, so that you have a more holistic view of your overall marketing.
Going the extra mile
Choose a provider that doesn’t only provide social media data, but offers a social media research methodology to support and enhance it. You’ll most likely find that any company that has a research department will have more proficient software, as they’ll use their research findings to inform its development.
If you want to extract as much value from your data as possible, your analytics programme will eventually turn into your research programme. Going beyond the data and finding insights that provide action points aligning with your original goals is where the real value lies.
As with any software solution it’s always worth checking what type of support is available and finding out how robust the platform is. Do they offer online support? Is it round the clock or just business hours? Before you commit, try to understand what the on-boarding will look like for you and your team; how extensive will the training be? How well did the prospective provider get to know your business and the unique needs you have that have lead you to requiring a social media analytics tool?
If you have any more questions about what to look for to find the right social media analytics tool for your business get in contact on +44 203 5144 562 or send us a contact request. One of our social media experts will be happy to talk to you about your requirement.
More from the blog: Social Media Insights - Go Beyond Data Sourcing