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5 Steps for Evaluating a Social Media Analytics and Reporting Platform

Screenshot 2014-05-12 07.35.00If your organization is actively using social media as a means to attract and engage a target audience, then you understand the importance of compiling data to make decisions.

When the tools you’re using aren’t providing enough information to make actionable decisions, it may be time to starting evaluating social media analytics and/or reporting tools.

Here is a quick 5 step guide to help you on your quest:

 Step 1: Identify your needs.

Before you even begin searching for tools online, you should make a list of key features to look for in a tool. Below are a few questions that will help you identify your needs:

  • Which channels are you active on?
  • Which metrics you are interested in tracking?
  • What are your overall social media objectives?
  • What are the challenges you are currently experiencing?

Step 2: Compile a list of the top 3 tools to evaluate

Evaluating a tool takes time. You should be able to narrow down your search to 3 tools that meet your qualifications. A combination of online research, industry expert reviews, and professional recommendations will help you narrow down the list.

Step 3: Speak with a Product Specialist

You should always speak with a representative when evaluating tools. As daunting as it may sound to get on the phone with a sales rep, it is important to understand how the platform aligns with your needs. Be sure to make note of your overall experience. Research alone will not give you enough insight into the full spectrum of capabilities, and if you decide to move forward with a tool, you want to ensure you enjoy doing business with the company you sign on with.

Step 4: See a demonstration

Schedule time to walk through your own social media reports with a Product Specialist who can point out key features. This will enable you to see your own social media data, understand differentiating features, and ask questions about the information presented.

Step 5: Test it out

Most companies will enable you to test out the tool for a set duration of time in a trial. This is an important step in the evaluation process as it will enable you to see how the tool works with your current workflow. The end users should spend time in the platform to get a feel for the interface and overall usability.

Feel free to repeat steps in the process as your needs evolve. The goal of this guide is to serve as a framework for evaluating tools in the social media space and most importantly, find a tool that will advance your mission to achieve your social media objectives.

Trying to sell your boss on the importance of social media analytics? Take a look at these 10 quotes from expert analysts at Altimeter, Forrester, and more:

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