3 Mistakes Social Media Managers Make with Their Data

Just about every brand today uses social media to help build their online presence. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all great tools that can help you get noticed online, but to get the most out of these platforms you need to be able to make heads or tails of all the data they produce.

In a world where every second users send more than 7,700 tweets, watch nearly 20 hours of video on YouTube, and share more than 800 photos on Instagram, it’s no wonder people are feeling overwhelmed. The modern world of social media data is digital haystack and finding relevant audiences or conversations is like searching for the world’s smallest needle.

There are a handful of technologies out there that can help cut through the noise, but they are only as effective as the people using them. And the truth is even the very best of us can still get overwhelmed and make the occasional mistake.

In this post, we explore the three most common mistakes brands make when analysing their social media data and provide a few tips you can use to step up your analytics game.

Seeing what they want to see in the data

Sometimes when we get comfortable with our company, leadership, customers, and products it’s easy to run on autopilot. This often leads to a particularly bad habit — using data to confirm what we believe to be true rather than uncovering the actual truth. In real world terms, this often means taking the data points that we like and dismissing outliers as irrelevant or even as bad data.

Using social media data to simply bolster points you’ve made before or steer the company in your particular direction may work in the short term, but when it comes to long term brand building and gaining new insight, it’s the wrong call.

Immediately escalating a surge in activity

Suppose you’re a social media manager and all of a sudden you notice some increased activity. A surge in traffic generally means one of two things is happening for your brand; Something good or something very bad. No matter what the cause, when you see a spike in activity it’s not enough for executives to just flag it (it’s honestly a waste their time).

Instead, stay calm and take a few extra minutes to understand what’s happening. Gather some additional information and ask questions like:

  • Who’s talking and why?
  • What’s the best course of action?

When there’s something out of the norm happening, most executives want to see the same winning formula: X is happening. Here are the reasons why it’s happening and therefore the recommended action is Y.

In situations like the above, more information means more informed decisions and better outcomes. Plain and simple.

Not being comfortable with their data

The truth is, we aren’t all data heads. Some people shudder at the idea of opening a CSV document or creating a table in Excel If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. But the simple truth is you’ve got to get over it. Now more than ever, public relations and social media management is integrated into C-suite decisions.

Leaders in any company are looking for more than simply ‘a gut instinct’ when it comes time to make important decisions and that means having the data to back up your conclusions. Social media data can identify things like sentiment over time, relevant brand influencers, and even topics or events you should be involved with.  But none of that means anything if you don’t have the data to convince management.

In other words, if you want to provide the most value to your team, you need to come prepared with the information and data that your executives need to make decisions and take intelligent risks.

Social media managers and more general PR practitioners can benefit immensely from the data produced by platforms they use every day. But to achieve the best outcomes, you’ll need to stay disciplined, keep a cool head, and have a logical process in place for managing all that data.

Is your team using social media data to direct business strategy? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. And if you’re looking for more great tips, follow us on Twitter so you never miss an update.


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