Over the last several months, I have had many epiphanies about the social media market place. What I find amazing is how if we keep searching we never stop learning about things. And simply put, just when you think you can't come up with something more interesting we usually do. It just goes to show a person, that if we focus we can learn every moment if we so choose.
Why write about this? Because humility is the mother of learning. Why? Because if we think we know everything then we are paying attention to how things connect together and ultimately we miss things we don't know.
For years, I spent time thinking a great deal about creating insight from social media data. When I first came across the idea in 2006, it just made sense. I stumbled upon this cool form of data and a new way to think about it. To have the world's largest focus group at your fingers tips makes sense. And off I went trying to find ways to PULL social data to learn. Way back then I used it to help my company understand the consumer in a 2 week acquisition cycle. Social data was used to help enable a 900 million dollar acquisition. I used to help bring clarity to the launch of 150 million dollar new brand. We were able to find out things a team of 40 couldn't using traditional methods. And the list goes on an on until I became one of the many voices championing social data as a means of understanding.
In a post a few back I talked a lot about the idea of social media push and pull. Essentially, I realized that most of the market is pushing content out into the social data maelstrom while a smaller group is pulling it first to understand what it means before they push. The slide below highlights this breakdown and idea.
Those who push are mostly driving engagement, message and interaction. This is e-marketing. It is building your brand online. But as I have written, why don't people think about pulling first before they push. If they pulled and understood what people were saying, then they could create new insights, really probe for ROI and try to track and correlate the social data to their message. And while most would say, "I do pull!". I would question it. For instance, I check everyday whether people read what I write. And when I get 150 people in a day I am happy. But do I really know if you are actually reading this or simply come by for a glance. The metrics are too light and not deep enough. This is were understanding is key.
We all know there are many companies (mine included) in trying to convince you they are the best at understanding. I won't argue that point today. What I want to discuss is how to think about the tools you are considering buying. Everyone is a salesman and as someone who helps sell new ideas, I have learned one thing. Stay on the balcony. As I think about all tools that are claiming that they are the best at understanding the intent of consumers in social data, I realized there had to be a way to discuss any tool that was out there to help people think through how to compare them. My job is to think about how social can change the business landscape. It is my first priority...as I say change is my business and business is good.
How do I think about social media analytics' tools? The slide below includes 4 pillar of social media tools. They include FEATURES, CONTENT, ACCURACY and INFRASTRUCTURE. Each pillar is accompanied by a series of questions that one might ask about the solutions they are thinking of buying.
Why break it up this way? To make it easier to think about how to break down someone selling to you. While they are high level, they do represent a way that you can ask your potential partner how they handle the things that are important you. Each pillar can be dug into further. You can, for instance,write down how you want your solutions to present the information. These questions are what I face each day selling and when I can thoroughly answer these questions for perspective customers I can win the day.
Do you think about all of these or merely one of them. If you are buying social media software that helps you understand all that content, thinking about only one pillar is not enough. You need to think about all of them. If you have a solution that has great features but nothing else, how can you make good decisions of you don't have all the data you need, the data isn't accurate or they don't have the infrastructure to change at a pace that is sufficient to keep up with your needs over time. As I sell if I am thinking how to answer any question that one may pose to me, then I cannot thoroughly do my job. The same goes for you. If your vendor can't convince you they have all the bases covered or a plan to do so, then you are doing your job either.
As you think about buying new social tools? Do the 4 pillars help you???
More to come on this model...as I shared...it is helping me think about you too....because turn about is fair play.