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Why Social Marketers Need to Put #AnalyticsFirst

Every year, we see new surveys that rank the challenges and pain points that social marketers face.

We conduct these types of surveys at Simply Measured on a regular basis, and while they offer important insight into the problems that we’re all trying to solve as marketers, they skip over the core issue: Social marketers are just people.

That sounds dramatic, and maybe a little obvious, but the point is that we all have the same basic needs.

Whether it’s happiness, money, respect or sense of security, our most primal basic needs are universal. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, one of the most well known and widely accepted theories on human behavior, captures the five primal needs of all human beings:

Maslow's Hierarchy

For social media practitioners in social companies, these needs are no different. However, the way we think about and address these needs takes a very different shape.

Let’s outline the core needs of social marketers, the root problems we all face, and how to solve those problems.

The Core Needs of Social Marketers

The challenges identified from surveying social marketers range from integrations, resources, content creation, and budget, to measurement, consolidation, and help with decision making. But these are just the symptoms of the real problems social marketers are facing. 

Why Social Marketers Need to Put #AnalyticsFirst

Since our focus is on helping marketers do their work simply and more effectively, we look at these surveys, studies, and conversations with social marketers, and we ask one thing: Why?

As we ask more why’s, we uncover more basic needs. The needs that no one would start with, but everyone has.

At our core, all social marketers want to be successful at their job.

We want to fulfill the basic needs of feeling accomplished and achieving our full potential, which is at the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy.

Social marketers want to do their best work, and get recognized for it. 

The marketing process has a basic structure no matter where you go, and marketers just want to do that better.

The REM Cycle


The cyclical marketing process provides the framework for how marketers work, and how to improve, but there are still questions and problems that show up time and time again.

What Prevents Social Marketers from Doing their Best Work?

As we talked to marketers and dove into this core focus of how they can do their best work, we started to see some key themes emerge. As we broke down every survey, conversation, and need we encountered, we saw these themes fit into four fundamental areas: “The Four Problems.”

Social Analytics Problems

Which Problems Are the Most Important?

The easiest problem to organize and solve is #4, improving workflow, but I’d argue that prioritizing this problem is dangerous.

“Doing more” is something we fundamentally understand and can easily wrap our brains around. Social marketers prioritize publishing over analytics in order to increase efficiency in their high-volume roles. A bias for action causes them to ignore the need for informed decision making. 

Here’s the issue:

Prioritizing workflow → An efficient way of getting things done → You don’t know if it’s the right stuff → But it’s being done well so you keep doing it

Doing more for the sake of doing more doesn’t add value to your social programs. It just helps you create more problems, quicker.

How Do You Fix It?

Since you’re reading a blog about social analytics, I may be preaching to the choir, but putting your analytics first solves this problem:

Prioritizing analytics → You know what works and what doesn’t → You’re able to plan more efficiently → You work smarter, not quicker → You make decisions with confidence

You may not be doing more, but you’re doing more of what you know works. And if you don’t know it works, you will soon, because you’re focused on insight instead of a quicker way to make the wrong choices.

Complete analytics need to address needs throughout the full marketing process, not just the execution phase.

The difference between a successful social team and an unsuccessful social team is how smoothly it moves through the process of research, execution, and measurement. When done well, this process results in a flywheel effect of social momentum.

Putting #AnalyticsFirst

I’ll be the first to admit, this is not the easiest solution. A complete social analytics strategy will help you understand everything from your audience and competitors to the impact of your brand activity on your audience and overall business goals, but this takes time. It’s important to focus on the areas that can have the biggest impact, and abandon metrics that don’t provide real insight.

Social Analytics

To learn more about a full social analytics strategy, download our white paper “What Is Social Analytics?” by clicking the link below.

Kevin Shively

I lead marketing for Simply Measured. Recovering journalist. My team is embarrassed of my hilarious jokes. Firm believer that the best marketers are the best storytellers and the best storytellers use the best data.

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