More than half of Americans now regularly get their news from social media according to an October 2019 survey by Pew Research Center. Americans have a growing reliance on social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook, for news and information and enterprise companies are focusing on social media as part of their advertising and marketing strategy. So how do you make sure your social media advertising and marketing dollars are spent effectively? It requires the assistance of a social media analytics provider.
There are currently about a half-dozen top social media analytics services in the business-to-business market. The question is, how do you select the provider that’s best for you? What features will help you successfully analyze your social media performance? Here are the key questions you should ask when considering a social media analytics provider:
1. What kind of marketing decisions are you trying to make? In most cases, businesses are looking for special hashtags or keywords popular among the types of audiences they wish to reach. If this describes your organization, then you want a service that allows you to determine the most effective and efficient hashtags and keywords for social media marketing posts. Also look for tools that help you quantify the content focus, reach, and overlap of selected hashtags so you can understand exactly how relevant and important different hashtags are to the people with whom are trying to connect.
2. Can you easily identify influential Twitter author accounts? When operating in the social media sphere, it’s important to determine which accounts are dominating the conversations in which you want to participate. This means you need a social media analytics provider that accurately IDs the accounts that are relevant to your audiences and allows you to monitor the conversations in which your chosen topics are being discussed.
3. Can you discern competitor strategies? Your marketing decisions don’t occur in a vacuum. You are in a constant tug-of-war with rival companies who, like you, are always looking for a competitive advantage. The social media analytics provider you choose should be able to analyze Twitter post hashtags and keywords to reveal what topics your competitors are emphasizing so you can detect their strategic focus and respond accordingly.
4. What customer insights does it provide? Twitter users self-categorize through their use of hashtags and keywords. A good social media analytics provider reveals these choices so that you can, again, target the people you are most eager to reach.
5. Can you discern user sentiments? If you’re concerned about how tweeters feel about topics important to you, then you want a social analytics media provider that calls out user sentiments so you can better understand the emotional dimension of an online conversation.
6. How does Machine Learning add value to the application? The depth and accuracy of a social media analytics system is only as good as the machine learning behind it. Powerful algorithms will not only deliver an authentic impression count and accurately calculate how different hashtags are semantically related, it will hone its results each time you use it.
7. Are results presented in a way you can understand – and use? Having a clean, vivid, and intuitive interface is vital to the long-term utility of the social media analytics provider you select. You want a dashboard that displays the information you’re looking for in simple, easy-to-understand ways and has the shortest-possible learning curve. Look for a tool that presents its results in simple charts, graphs, and ranked lists as opposed to vague “word clouds” that leave room for interpretation.
8. Does the company know your business? The meaning of a word or phrase can vary significantly from industry to industry. Look for a social media analytics provider that allows you to filter results through the sector of your choice, such as “Consumer Products,” “Financial Services,” “Life Sciences,” “Healthcare,” “Hospitality,” etc.
9. How does billing work? As part of any cost-benefit analysis, you need to consider what the cost of your social media analytics tool will be vs. what features and benefits you will receive. Most companies offering social media analytics charge by the hashtag. Since the whole point of such a tool is to compare different hashtag results, this can quickly become extremely expensive, especially if you’re comparing several hundred – or several thousand – hashtags per month. A better investment is a service that charges a flat monthly subscription, regardless of the number of hashtag and keyword combinations you explore. The difference can be literally millions of dollars per year so you need to consider that your analytics provider delivers what you need. Some services have only template dashboard displays, don’t offer tweet aggregations, or lack discovery analysis.
10. Who is the company behind the platform? The longer an organization has been in business and the larger its corporate clients, the deeper and more reliable its social analytics platform is likely to be. Look for a company with a rock-solid reputation, a decade or more of experience, and clients whose interests span the globe.
Northern Light, the maker of Social Analytics, has been helping companies solve their most difficult problems for nearly 20 years. A leader in the application of machine learning for business challenges, Northern Light supports its Social Analytics platform with five-star-rated customer service and the most innovative development team in the business. For more information on how Northern Light’s Social Analytics platform can maximize your efforts from your social media marketing efforts, click here. Or contact us to start a conversation.