Data for Data’s Sake

As a community manager, I always feel that I have a general sense of my community’s health. I spend the majority of my day within my community – posting, responding and moderating. Because of that, I can tell someone when people are overall happy or overall pissed to the point of rebellion and/or mass rioting.

Feelings don’t get management’s attention, though. And they definitely don’t get you money to increase budget. Data does.

But data can be tricky when it comes to measuring social. We are going through mass growth when it comes to data that is available today for analysis. Between Facebook Insights and listening platforms like Radian6 and Sysomos, it can be hard to know what numbers to pay attention to and what really doesn’t matter at all.

(Warning: This post does not give you answers to that. Sorry, dudes.)

I’m here to warn you not to make the crucial error that so many community managers are making: sharing data for data’s sake.

It’s happened to me and it will happen to you: A manager wants you to make a presentation on how successful your community is. You’ve been telling them about how engagement is up and now they want to see it. You collect all the numbers, like reach, virality and total fans. You even pull some pretty little graphs into your presentation to show demograhics. You’re going to look like a star…right?

Wrong.

You’re going to look like a rookie who is just shoving numbers onto a slide for the hell of it.

No one wants data that is meaningless.What you and they want are actionable social insights. What are social insights? Social data you can do something with (love, Captain Obvious).  

I want to present my management team with numbers I know I can improve upon – with or without a larger budget. For a community manager, these are numbers are related to interactions.

Another key part of social insights is presenting numbers you fully understand. If you don’t know why a certain number is larger than the previous month, don’t present it. Even if it looks big, pretty and successful. Someone will ask you what it means. Trust me…

So let’s come together and start sharing more meaningful, actionable social insights. What is the most meaningful, actionable insight you use?

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