Biggest Roadblock to Measuring Social Media is Time [STUDY]

by Eric Melin on December 18, 2012

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“We should be monitoring the competition, but don’t have the time.”

This is a common refrain from brand marketers, and it’s an actual quote that came up from a respondent in a new survey from Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions.

The study participants were questioned about social media monitoring for business and they ranged from small firms to global ones, and also included government agencies and nonprofits.

Not surprisingly, the survey found some that there are still some pretty big roadblocks to effective Internet and social media monitoring:

  • 65 percent of respondents said said lack of time was the number-one reason they didn’t monitor social media.
  • 63 percent blamed a lack of staffing.
  • 23 percent said social media measurement is “too overwhelming.”
  • 39 percent agreed with the statement “We don’t know which tools to use.”

I totally understand where companies are coming from with these kinds of responses. There are hundreds of tools out there to choose from and hundreds of different metrics to measure online gains. Where do you start? Even after you choose one, why are there so many options?

web-monitoring-lack-of-timeWhen Spiral16 first jumped into the fray of social media monitoring back in 2007 (as the technology was still developing), there were few companies doing what we do. The old philosophy of the company was this: Let’s build the most robust, flexible tool on the market and turn people loose on it. Once companies see all the great data that is collected and available for filtering and insight-gathering, they’ll know what to do with it, because only they know the ins and outs of what’s important to their business.

While building and constantly improving our social media monitoring tool, though, what we found out is this: People are always pressed for time.

There are a ton of different ways that companies can apply web and social media data to their businesses. I get why the respondents used the word “overwhelming.” Since we have years of experience providing this kind of useful information to our clients, we’ve learned a lot about how to identify metrics that relate to business goals. We’ve also had a lot of experience bringing that insight to the forefront so it can be easily understood by everyone from the intern to the CEO.

In that way, we’ve gone beyond merely offering a platform for companies to monitor social media and the Internet, and moved towards becoming a full-service solution.

Here’s our value proposition, simply put:

  1. If you just want to use the Spiral16 web monitoring and research platform, you will also get full support and hands-on customer service from our analytics team. In other words, we won’t leave you high and dry.
  2. If you want access to the platform and you want weekly or monthly high-level dashboard reports of your data (with full-color graphics, easily passed on), that’s another level of service. Plus, you get all the customer support.
  3. If you want the platform, the weekly/monthly email updates, and reports from our analytics team that are customized to your goals and objectives, that’s the highest level of service. Of course, we are always available for any kind of customer support.

social-media-monitoring-takes-timeI really didn’t mean for this to turn into a tooting-our-own-horn blog post, but I guess it just kind of happened — because when I see a study like this that confirms our vision for helping clients, it makes me want to reiterate what we do and why we do it.

“I’m not sure what to measure or how. I know it’s important, but I can’t show my boss how many retweets a post received and expect him to care.”

That’s another quote from the survey and it’s a perfect encapsulation of why companies need help. If the metrics that you’re delivering are along this line, there’s so much more that can be done. It starts with listening. Then use the data to build a strategy from the ground up that aligns with your measurement method. Learn from the data as it comes in and make adjustments to your campaign/program. When it’s over, look at the entirety of the data for patterns and insight. If you set it up with specific goals in mind, it will be easy to compare data from different time frames and see where the impact was. Learning from the data will help you improve in all facets going forward.

The reason this is so challenging is because it will be different for every company. But its not impossible, and asking tough questions at the beginning will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Images: The Big Clock, Ragan, Publishing Archaeology

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