Buying a social analytics platform can be like buying a new car — you know how many cup holders you need, but it’s important to learn about the features and capabilities that set each vehicle apart before making a decision. Sometimes you don’t even know what you want until you know what’s possible. Go deep under the hood of analytics platforms by asking the right questions and see what the technology can do for you now and in the future.
Which analytics platform is right for my business?
Fill in the Blanks
Even if you don’t fully understand the ins and outs of social analytics technology, you can still sound competent by asking smart questions. By the time you’re done grilling the salesperson, you’ll know enough to make an educated decision.
We’ve made it easy with a keyword cheat sheet. Simply use the keyword in the question: “Tell me about your product’s _______.”
- Interface: How much training is required to get the most out of the platform? Is the dashboard intuitive? Does it provide me with the information I need now and in the future?
- Custom reports: Is there a limit on the number of custom reports? What kinds of data can I pull for custom reports? Can I create custom conversion funnels?
- Data-processing capabilities: From where does the product pull information? What kind of information is it, and what can I do with it?
- Integration: Is it flexible? Can it communicate with my legacy systems? Does it play nice with other tools and third-party data?
- Mobile-first approach: It should absolutely be mobile-first. Period. How is the platform staying ahead of the curve on mobile technology?
- Future upgrades: What improvements are on the horizon? What will be required to take advantage of them?
- Support: What kind of training and support is available to my team now and into the future?
- Price: Is the product appropriate for my budget and my company size?
Areas to Grow Into
You’ll also want to account for growing room, so keep in mind features that you’ll be adding later. Social listening, for example, is not something that companies typically need right off the bat, but it’s certainly a feature that you’ll want to integrate down the road. These analytics answer the questions: Who is talking about your product? What blogs are driving traffic to your site?
Once you’re a pro at social listening, you’ll want to jump to listening with action. What are people interested in, and how can you use that social intelligence to market to specific customer segments? Most social analytics platforms can tell you how many likes you have. But, can yours tell you who each person is who liked your brand? Can it tell you that person’s business value based on number of connections and past behavior? Expect to be able to dig deeper when you want to.
If you’ll ever want to implement a mature marketing program, where you grow a relationship with a stream of content over time, you’ll want to choose an analytics program that integrates with your customer relationship management. By doing this, you can utilize the data in the sales platform, send information to key contacts, and see how and where they spend time interacting with your brand. If you have a customer service issue, you can access that customer record to see the relationship.
Even though it’s tempting to just jump in with a social analytics platform, spend time doing your research and asking detailed questions. Measurement is a crucial step in the content marketing cycle, one that hopefully affirms the direction you’re going or at least offers a red flag that imminent change is needed. Give it the due diligence it deserves.
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