As our means for collecting data, and the sources of data increase, we have to get smarter about putting all that good data to use. Social Psychology research shows us that oftentimes more choices, options, and inputs lead to slower and “worse” decisions. How do we avoid the human trap, and design our systems and strategies in an effective way to make use of the world of big data?
Creating a Mental Model
The Daschis group has a penchant for putting out complicated but useful visual representations of their work and thoughts on social business/Enterprise 2.0. This time around, Dion nixed the complicated and provided an excellent model for building strategy around using data from social media.
(image credit: Dion Hinchcliffe)
What I particularly enjoy about this diagram is the vertical flow on the right side of the diagram with concrete concepts: fast data, big analytics, and actionable insight.
The Heart of Multiplicity
The concept of multiplicity is best explained by Avinash Kaushik, and at its core lies three tenets: multiple inputs of data (qualitative and quantitative), micro and macro analysis, and business outcome/goal oriented. From that mindset we can better understand how the model above works toward driving actionable insights and results:
- Fast data – I believe we like to think we know more about what to do with real-time social data than we do. Said another way, unless you and your industry have enough proof points to make spending time on this bucket, skip it. Others, like Beth Kanter, might argue that real time social media data is valuable, but I haven’t seen enough proof of this, and Gatorade’s hyped “command station” feels like just that – expensive hype.
- Big analytics – On the other hand, pay deep attention to what sources are driving conversions on your website. This is more relevant than ever for two reasons. First, Google Analytics has recently tweaked their algorithm to better capture what sources are driving both goal assists (e.g. what originally brought users to your website) and goal completions (in the same visit, what was the final source that led to the desirable outcome). Second, instead of following real time ‘trends,’ a deep dive into understanding what you did that drove social media action (e.g. a blog post, news story, conference showing, etc.) that led to conversions is the best way to know where to double down or equally important, what to stop doing.
- Actionable insight – As mentioned above, actionable insights come not from immediacy, but correlating trends, analysis, your strategies, and desired business outcomes. Perhaps the most important insights gained through social analytics is informing ways that you can better inform your segmentation when you’re reviewing your marketing strategies and tweaking website for higher conversion/better results.
What this means you should be doing
First, if you have limited resources, spend it on the actionable insights part. If you only have one analyst, they’ll be tempted to play with the sexiest real-time social media toys. Just say no.
Second, make sure you are measuring social media data both as an input to conversions on your website, but also to identify trending topics, stories, etc. I really don’t know enough about this to say more, but just google “social media analytics” and you’re likely to get good advice.
Third, spend time building a social media strategy. Have a lot of ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ actually isn’t very interesting unless it’s driving toward outcomes. Marketers still like to talk about impressions, and having “2 million likes” is impressive at first, but if it cost a company 500k to get the ad campaigns to get those likes, and didn’t see any increase in revenue for it, what does that tell us? Point is, build a strategy so that when you start getting ‘likes’, you have a specific call to action or plan to put those ‘likes’ to action, not just talk about them in Board meetings.