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How Do You Excel? An Interview With Analyst Lori Williams

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Yesterday, Simply Measured delivered a springtime gift to anyone who’s been yearning for Excel and social media strategy to get married and make beautiful babies (i.e. anyone who’s got a happy hankering for easy social media data analysis). So what is it? Drum roll, please.

Our new guide Excel Functions Every Community Manager Should Know highlights some key Excel functions and know-how from our team of expert social media analysts, and is ready to take a prime position on your digital shelves. It’s been here for 24 hours already. Don’t be the last kid picked for dodgeball. Or make our guide the last kid picked for dodgeball. Or…you know what I mean. Download the guide, and  get to know superstar Analyst Lori Williams – who helps build our fabulous reports in Excel – while you’re at it.

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What I did before Simply Measured:

I spent a long time in graduate school learning how to collect and analyze health data. Afterwards, I tried many jobs that did not involve health or data. Eventually, I admitted that I just love data and what it can do to help people answer questions. I’m excited that I have figured out how to make a living doing that.

A day in the life:

I make reports that help big brands and marketing agencies understand how they’re doing on their social channels. My favorite part of the job is making customers happy.

Me + Excel =

I’ve known Excel so long that I don’t remember a time of “not knowing.” I use Excel to decide which charts go into the reports that we design and how we calculate the metrics that you see. Excel allows me to use data to answer my own questions.

Something I’d like to change:

I’ve been working with a yoga therapist, a massage therapist and a Feldenkrais practitioner on posture and alignment. I’ve grown 1 inch.

Fellow Simply Measured analyst I’d like to be stuck in an elevator with for 24 hours:

Deepti. She would not make me talk about phones I don’t plan on buying or sports teams I’m not interested in.

Favorite Website:

When I was working on the Tumblr Blog report, I discovered I love it soooo much.

What I love:

Working with people to make awesome things that don’t already exist.

Most-used Excel function(s):

IF is probably the function I use most. Use this function when you have True/False criteria and you want to do one thing when the criteria are True and something different when the criteria are False.

For Example:

=IF(A1>10, “yes”, “no”)

In the above example, if the value in cell A1 is greater than 10, the function would return the word “yes”. This comes in handy when you want to find specific data.

For instance, there is a report setting in the Simply Measured app where our customers can decide if they want to include User Posts in their Facebook Engagement. I use an IF statement to decide if I should use the function that includes User Posts in Engagement, or if I should use the function that excludes User Posts in Engagement.

This comes in handy when you want to count or add cells based on specific data. COUNTIF lets you count items based on a set of criteria and SUMIF lets you sum items based on a set of criteria.

For Example:


Here, Excel will count how many cells in the A column contain the value “apples”.

For Example:


In this function, if the value of a cell in the B column is greater than 5, Excel will add those values together.

You could find out how many Tweets you sent between April 10 and April 15 with COUNTIF. If you wanted to find the total engagement on those same Tweets, you would add up all the retweets, mentions, @replies and favorites in between those two dates using a SUMIF.

IFERROR tells Excel what value to show if there is a problem with a function.

We use IFERROR so our reports look nice even when there isn’t much data. Say you have a calculation for the percent of Tumblr posts that were quotes, but for the time period you’re looking at, you didn’t make any posts. In Excel, 0 divided by 0 gives a #DIV/0 error. You would use IFERROR to show “0” instead of “#DIV/0”. Try it yourself, substituting “#DIV/O” for “value”, and “O” for “value_if_error”.

NETWORKDAYS counts the number of workdays between two dates.

I use this one to find out things like how many days did it take us to create our last project? Or how many days have I worked at Simply Measured?

The holidays value is optional; it’s a way to exclude dates whether or not they’re actually holidays. To do this, you would list those dates in a column, and add them as a range in parentheses to exclude them.

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To learn more from Lori and our other awesome analysts about how Excel can make your daily social media management go more smoothly, check out our guide Excel Functions Every Community Manager Should Know – it’s downloadable for free right here, right now.

Download this FREE guide today!

Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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