Social Media Monitoring and Measurement – A Customized Recipe.

December 1, 2009

A few weeks ago, Jennifer and I had the opportunity to participate in a master class with one of the PR industry’s most widely respected thought leaders, Brian Solis.

Among the plethora of smart ideas he presented, one topic was near and dear to my heart…social media monitoring.

Since I joined Kane Consulting, I’ve researched and experimented with the slew of tools that have been created to automatically monitor and measure conversations taking place across social media, and quite frankly, was coming up short.

I began creating my own systems – using one tool here, another there, going straight to the source here – hunting, pecking, uncovering, and analyzing gobs of data until it started to paint an accurate picture. And, generally after days of research for a particular client or project I’d be asking myself – is this worth it? Am I supposed to be putting this much time into all of this? Am I missing a better solution?

Well, my methods were validated as I sat in my seat listening to Brian Solis deliver his presentation.

Social media measurement is not standardized. It is customized.

Here’s where we come back to strategy. The how and what you monitor and measure must be in line with your strategic goals. And, one client’s goal or definition of success is not the same as another client’s.

We can run numbers and data on just about anything, but if it’s not in line with what you’re trying to achieve, so what and who cares?

The answer to “so what” and “who cares” is where the customization comes into play. It’s where the work begins. Where meaningful benchmarks are set; goals are established, and the distance between is measured and evaluated for progress and improvement.

Think about the end product, combine the right ingredients, taste, tweak, repeat.

This is the piece that no tool, no matter how sophisticated, can do for us.

Want it done right? Go to the source and do it yourself.

The online world is full of various social media search engines. As with any technology, some work better than others. They are quick, convenient, and can give us gobs of data.

Guess what, folks… these engines are no Google (and even Google is still working to perfect their own social search solution). The exact science behind social search is still being defined. Take a closer look, and you’ll see that each engine has its own algorithms, and will return results differently. If you want to use social search tools or software to click and create a report, be prepared to go through the results with a careful eye before passing it along (unless of course, you don’t anticipate anyone else reading it or using it to take any action, in which case, you better re-think your strategy).

Another tip I gathered from the PR master class with Brian Solis is that the most accurate data is found directly at the source. (This is no secret, right? If you want to know what time your friend’s party starts, do you ask the friend, or a search engine?)

Sure, it takes a little more time. And yes, you’ll need to dump the data into your own spreadsheet, weed out things that don’t apply and then run reports by hand. But, as far as I’m concerned, it’s worth the extra effort to have the most accurate data from which to measure progress and make strategic decisions.