3 ways to find truth in parody… and social analytics

Watch this video. Laugh. It’s pretty damn funny. Not only does it skewer the social networking craze, but it also lampoons *this guy’s* profession (social business strategy).

It’s easy to recite the old gem, “Figures lie and liars figure” when watching this video. It’s easy to doubt any stat you’ve ever seen. If you don’t doubt ever stat, then you’re in the 96th percentile of dumb people.

(I just made that up.)

My point is, consider stats and ask why they mean what the writer says they mean. I bet you’ll come away with more questions than answers.


Why Social Listening, Social Monitoring, Social Analytics, or Sentiment Analysis? Pick one. They all mean more or less the same thing to a lot of people. Better yet, these phrases mean almost nothing to 43% of professional marketers (I made that up, too). If you’re engaged in any social analysis project, your first question should always be “Why?”. Your second question should likewise be “Why?”. Your third question should be… wait for it… “Why?”.

Asking “Why?” when looking at social metrics — what I fondly refer to as the “how manys” — is especially important if you wish to make reasonable business decisions based on those numbers. Engagement rates are all well and good, but are you using that math to glean insight into WHY those engagement are successful?

Example engagement rate formula (borrowed from @CMSwire):


Decide ahead of time what you’re measuring against. If your goal is simply audience acquisition, then that’s fine. Use a basic spreadsheet to track those numbers over time. At the most fundamental level, you’ll have some understanding that your social media efforts might be working. This metric, albeit fairly shallow, is the perfect number about which you ask… “Why?”


Document an action plan. Month over month, your social metrics and analysis should provide you a very actionable task. But you have to be asking “Why?” to get here. Let’s assume that during May, your organization was mentioned 1,000 times on Twitter. Great. That’s a lot of voices interested in you. But why? Is there a customer service issue? A popular product? A scintillating ad campaign? Why are those folks compelled to mention you? What can you do about it? Even if a positive stream of content, there is something you can do. Think about it.

Don’t forget to ask…


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