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Social Media Analytics – Q&A With ThoughtBuzz

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I sat down with the ThoughtBuzz folks (Samraat and Shameer) and had a Q&A about the Social Media Analytics over a webinar. The session was educational for me even though I’ve been hacking some social media analytics scripts from time to time. I’ve put down the summary of the talk here by paraphrasing various answers (just to make them short & more consumable). For the full scoop, watch the video.



Q: What is meant by Social Media Analytics? What kind of data are we talking about? How is that data captured and how is it used?

Shameer Thaha

Shameer Thaha

A: Social Media Analytics is primarily about capturing the data related to people and conversations across all social media platforms. This data is captured by using crawlers or various platform specific data gathering mechanisms (e.g. APIs for Facebook / Twitter).

Once the data is captured, it can be used for various purposes (depending on the objective). Some of the examples are identifying influencers around a topic, sentimental analysis related to a brand, tracking and resolving the issues that people are reporting on social media platforms and a host of other things.

A telecom company in India used Social Media Analytics only for listening for one whole year. After that, they rolled out an integration with CRM and started taking up policy changes based on what people were saying on the social media platforms.

Q: There are already freely available tools for listening (e.g. Google or TweetDeck). When and why would one want to go for a specialized tool?

Samraat Kakkar

Samraat Kakkar

A: There are several dimensions to this question:

  • One is about the Flux. If there are too many conversations that you need to track and analyze, you’ll need a specialized tool.
  • The timeframe over which you want to analyze the data. If you want to look at the data over 1 year timeframe, you’ll need a specialized tool to achieve your goal.
  • The range of keywords that you want to track matter too. If you want to track too many types of conversations around multiple networks, you’ll need a specialized tool to create a comprehensive view.
  • If you are looking for specialized reports or dashboards instead of the stock information that you get out of free tools, you’ll need a dedicated tool. For example, TweetDeck will give you tweets but not the sentiments.

Q: So, is it fair to say that only the big brands need a specialized tool. Free tools should be sufficient for the startups and SMBs?

A: Not necessarily. ThoughtBuzz has seen VCs and the startups using specialized tools. At the end of the day, you listen not only for your brand but for the industry and competition as well. And that can increase the volume beyond manageability limits.

Q: Can you share some more examples of analytics dashboard?

A: There was an automobile brand which was going through a rebranding exercise and during this exercise, they wanted to monitor the online buzz and also see how it stacks up against the trends in the sales. The dashboard was built and it showed strong correlation between the spike in online buzz and the sales. Based on this report, further investment was made in the online spend and the dashboard continued to show correlation in the buzz and sales. It encouraged the company to continue with their investments in the social media space.

A web-based healthcare startup uses social media analytics to find which platforms their target audience can be found, what are their experiences and what they are talking about. They spent about 3-4 weeks in listening and that helped them give the right shape to their product early on.

Q: How to budget for Social Media Analytics? Where does it fit into the social media implementation cycle? How long does it take to see the results from investment in Analytics?

A: Typically, one should reserve 10-20% of the overall budget for Analytics. The reason for such a high percentage is that most tools require extra work to analyze the data and make it actionable. This manual work is also part of the budgeting. And you should start the analytics upfront so that it’s built right into your efforts and helps you measure what you are doing.

Also, the brands get results within 2-4 weeks of timeframe.

Q: A lot of people on the webinar are asking about what they should measure?

A: There was a short discussion around this. Samraat gave a good list of the data that people should be measuring. I am of the opinion that there is data but the analytics is not about measuring the data that’s measurable. But it’s about the business questions that you have in your mind and you should use the data that answers your questions. [Later I realized that this is what Samraat was also trying to say.]

[We’ve started a regular webinar series with the industry experts. You should check out all the upcoming webinars related to social media and digital marketing →.]

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