Calibrate your crystal ball of social listening

Having a listening solution that works “out-of-the-box” maybe be a bit of an illusion given the high expectations of deep social insight, however we are seeing many clients who are buying social media monitoring only to be frustrated that these tools don’t work as advertised.  The problem is not that these tools don’t work, but rather we were all really hoping for some magic.

Good business intelligence that comes from social media is a little like having a crystal ball.  Tell me the current trends in my industry.  Tell me why customers buy.  What should I do to engage?  But can you really just take a crystal ball from your local magic store and expect it to give you insights about your future?  Two things are going to happen: either the crystal ball is going to tell you something pretty generic or you’re not going to be able to figure out what you’re being told.

Sound familiar?  Many of the insights that come out of social media monitoring tools when set up internally, often are generic or filled with noisy data.  And generally, the problem is not that the tools are useless.  Rather, these tools work best when they are set up by individuals who have worked with them before and know how to get the most of out them.  While most vendors and many consultants provide this service, few clients actually pay the extra money to have a solution that has been calibrated to their business needs.

While some current social monitoring tools may not be as sophisticated as Cognos or Microstrategy business intelligence solutions, they still aim to bring back insights that can affect marketing, crisis communications, customer service, product design, campaign development and more.  Trying to save the initial setup and quarterly fine-tuning costs after committing to a hefty monthly licensing fee almost seems absurd.  Keywords that drive the filtering in these tools can be easy to come up with, but it’s a lot harder for teams to put together profiles that bring back clean data focused on business needs.

Rather than throw out your expensive crystal ball, spend the extra cash and have someone calibrate these tools so that you can use them to learn more about your industry, your competitors and your customers.  You will feel better about the tools, and you will actually be able to use the insights to inform business strategy.

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Filed under Corporate Social Media