By Liam Dowd - September 16th, 2014

Making use of all that social data

Social data gives brands the unprecedented opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of their customers. Brands can now listen to their customers and analyse how they interact with brand.

In a recent webinar senior social media execs from Sony, The Wall Street Journal and Barclaycard shared their ideas and tips in building a robust and effective social data strategy.

The 57-minute discussion featured lots of tips, ideas and challenges PLUS the webinar featured three live polls from the audience.

Interestingly, one of our polls found that only 27% of our audience felt they were leveraging social data effectively. Social data is still somewhat in its infancy, but there are still some sound procedures to follow.

Below I've summarised my 7 key takeaways from the webinar...

1. Think bigger picture

Tim Lion, European Head of Social Media at Sony, stated the 1st step should be to understand where your company is heading. Once you have this in mind, then outline the social data you'll need to get there.

This point was supported by Lucy Wren, Head of Social Media at Barclaycard, stating that the key social data KPIs should show how your efforts are deliverying against the core business objectives.

2.Create your own social data framework

Its vital that you are able to show what you and your team are trying achieve and measure. Tim stated that you need to understand the needs of key stakeholders and ensure this is incorporated into the framework. Social teams need to ensure that firstly their reporting is going to the right people and secondly offers actionable insight.

A poll during the webinar found that 85% of the audience had either a vague or no data framework in place - clearly there's a lot of work to be done for many.

3. Build cross-departmental feedback loops

Sarah Marshall, Social Media Editor EMEA at The Wall Street Journal, outlined feedback loops as a core compontent to a successful social data strategy. People need to learn from the insight that social data presents, creating feedback loops guarantees that the ideas and action points go beyond the social team.

Tim Lion described how at Sony he encourages regional teams to report and give feedback to managers on a weekly basis. Tim also ensures that he and his central team are reporting into the senior management teams. Offering a means for teams to ask questions and get further insight supports the success of the feedback loops.

4.Informative data

It's easy to describe what the data is telling you, the real juice is found in identifying what this data means for you and your company. It's important to try and find a story from the numbers and have real clarity around what not to do with your data. Tim suggested three questions to ask when analysing social data:

  1. What do I from this?
  2. What do I change?
  3. Who do I give this to?

5. Measure the good and the bad

Sarah stated that analysing the bad performing results can be just as insightful as looking at the good. Getting an understanding of what social media activity isn't resonating with customers will help create more successful future campaigns. 

6. Be prepared to educate your colleagues

Email marketing, web analytics, sales figures are all established forms of reporting that's understood by most areas of business. Social reporting is still in its infancy.

Tim indicated that distribution should go hand-in-hand with education. Time should be spent reporting to colleagues face-to-face and explaining the social data and its implications.

Time should also be spent translating social language into standard business language. Share of voice and ROE doesn't need explaining to anyone working in social, but the majority of CFOs and CEOs will struggle to buy-in to the value of these metrics.

7. Understand where you are in the customer journey

Social is just one touch point of many in a customers journey. Tim indicated that when social teams can highlight true worth and accurately attribute social efforts to bottom-line results, that's when social media execs will be involved in real business decisions.


The above are just some of the key takeaways from the recent Social Data: Turn Insight into Action webinar. The full-length webinar is free-to-download and offers lots of insightful methods and tips.

The webinar is part of the knowledge exchange in the build up to the 5th Annual Corporate Social Media Summit Europe. Leading social media, marketing and comms execs from the likes of McDonald's, Sony, Lego, Mondelez International, SAB Miller, Orange, Visa, Philips, Akzo Nobel, Telefonica O2 and more will share their ideas and strategies around the key social media issues. Download the free event guide to get a full run-down on the top topics being discussed.

The Corporate Social Media Summit Europe

November 2014, London

Become a social business! #CSMEU is the largest and most senior meeting of social media and marketing execs, giving you unrivalled insight into how social can drive your business growth & competitive advantage

Brochure Programme
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