What Is Social Analytics? The Theory and Practice Broken Down

What Is Social Analytics? The Theory and Practice Broken Down Kevin Shively Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

“What is social analytics?” seems like an easy question to answer.  It’s social media data right? The number of Tweets and followers, Facebook posts and comments.

Screenshot 2015-03-24 12.56.06But, if you work in social, you know that social analytics is anything but simple.

At Simply Measured, we’ve spent countless hours helping our clients and partners understand social analytics and the way  this process (yes, it’s an entire process) can enable and fuel every part of their social strategy. This is true for any business with a social media program, from the small mom-and-pop business on the corner to the large enterprise shoe brands that fill our closets.

Our new white paper called What Is Social Analytics? walks through the entire process of social analytics, carefully diagramming and explaining the process of social analytics. At a high level, here’s what you need to know about it:

Social Analytics Definition

When we say social analytics, we’re talking about a complete structure and strategy, not just the data.

Social analytics is a system that allows for the collection, aggregation, and standardization of social media data to discover and communicate meaningful patterns.

The first half of this definition focuses on the technical needs of social analytics: collection, aggregation, and standardization. As a strategist, the part that needs to resonate the most is “to discover and communicate meaningful patterns.” Without this component, social analytics doesn’t exist; all you have is data.

Social Analytics Fuels the Marketing Process

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When done right, social marketing operates with a similar cyclical process to any other digital marketing channel.

The social analytics system needs to provide value throughout the social marketing process by acting as the framework for the planning and measurement categories.

In the planning category, social analytics helps marketers understand their ecosystem and identify opportunities. In the measurement category, social analytics enables them to optimize tactics to more effectively reach the goals of their social programs.

Social strategy is rich with data. There are innumerable ways to measure success, from simple impressions and brand awareness,  to traffic to a web property or any other brand asset, to lead generation, to product sales. – Steve Sack, VP at Edelman Digital

 The Framework for Social Analytics

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Our new white paper, What Is Social Analytics? delivers a complete breakdown of the theory of social analytics, walking through each step of what we’ve started calling “the bowtie” and explaining why that category is important, what marketers stand to gain from that type of analysis, and the questions they should be asking.

We’re also offering papers that dive deeper into both the planning and measurement categories, allowing you to drill down into each segment for more insight. All three papers are available for free by clicking the links below.

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Kevin Shively

As the head of content marketing at Simply Measured, cohost of the #SimplySocial podcast, and generally delightful person, my job is to tell stories to the internet...You're welcome internet.