How to Avoid Paralysis by Analysis

Most marketers have probably been overcome by their social data at some point or another. This “paralysis by analysis” is not only stressful, but it also can distract you from your actual goals and objectives for a particular campaign, or perhaps even the entire year.

Now more than ever marketers are tasked to prove social marketing ROI, but are lacking the resources to execute this task not only easily, but successfully. In fact, according to the Spredfast 2014 State of Social Marketing Report, 78% of respondents reported difficulty determining the ROI of social marketing. Which begs the question: what kind of information is living in all of those social reports that they’re pulling weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.?

Recently I read an article that compared social marketing to your average FDA food label.  While the information on the back of these food items is valuable to a specific audience, for the average “consumer” it’s too much information. The same goes for social reporting – the majority of your social team does not require the amount of social information that your organization’s analytics team has available to them. They need efficient metrics that empower them to make faster, smarter decisions.

So how can you avoid social data “paralysis by analysis?” Make sure that you’re tailoring social reports to the audience receiving the information. Earlier this year we outlined 3 Tiers of Social Reporting during a Google Hangout series with our friends at OpenView Labs. We are constantly working to make social reporting more efficient so marketers can focus less on the data pull and more on discovering insights that improve their social content and campaign efforts. Here are three ideas to tailor reporting that communicates social success to three common audiences:

For your Community Managers

Your community management team is dialed in to the content that’s being published and is focused on making it better. Reporting should be focused on more granular information such as top and bottom performing content, which will help influence and encourage better publishing habits.

Many of our customers use a “What’s Hot” report to reach this audience. What makes it great? It’s digestible—no Excel files, no charts or graphs, just actual examples of successful content that clearly communicates what they should continue to publish. It’s also important to not only show them what content worked, but how they can repeat that success. Consider including a section with key takeaways that explain why particular content seemed to work as well as a section with industry or social marketing content from the week or month that help keep community managers informed and on top of their game. 

For your Social and Digital Directors

With the rise of Real Time Marketing, now more than ever marketers need to be supported by reporting structures instead of held back by them. Directors need to be able to assess the social landscape, decide whether a trend or topic aligns with their brand voice, coordinate action, and then clearly communicate the results.  They also need visibility into campaign performance, and an easy way to compare social campaigns to other marketing efforts.

Intelligence is delivering internal value to our customers by informing and/or validating their strategies instantly and reporting results efficiently. Without complicated processes to build or edit queries or the need to wait on data analysts to churn past social data, Social and Digital Directors can compare performance to other campaigns or understand competitive performance with a few clicks.

For your Executives

Executives are interested in trends, triggers, and the big picture of all social marketing efforts. So when your Executive Director asks if your social campaign positively impacted a larger marketing campaign, you need to quickly communicate an answer that’s supported by data, not inhibited by it. They need answers that guide them to make business decisions without getting caught up on details like how your team is calculating the engagement rate.

When reports are built in the brands own marketing and analytics nomenclature, it alleviates the guesswork or extensive footnotes and focuses the attention on surfacing actionable insights. Many Spredfast customers use an in-platform Custom Dashboard to communicate standardized social metrics that are consistent with their social strategy.  These reports translate social terms like “content label engagement” to “campaign impact” so that decision makers can quickly identify key takeaways. 

Is your team tailoring social reporting for different audiences to alleviate or avoid analysis paralysis? I’d love to hear what’s resonating and how it’s promoted the social conversation at your organization. If you’re interested in hearing more about how we think about strategic reporting, feel free to tweet me @mmbrindley.

Meghan Brindley's picture

Meghan Brindley

Meghan Brindley is an Associate Market Director for Spredfast. When she’s not working with prospects and customers to achieve their social goals, you can find her enjoying the sights and sounds of Austin, TX with her dog, a goldendoodle named Tyler.