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As the pace of technology innovation quickens, even two-year-old social analytics software might be out of date. As you consider upgrading/supplementing, what questions should you ask to ensure you get the best long-term solution?

Our new eBook, 7 Questions to Ask your Social Analytics Provider outlines the crucial features you need, and how to be sure they’re included. Here’s a snapshot of what’s inside:

Social analytics has changed, and will continue to

It’s hard to predict future technology trends, but one thing is certain: Technology will continue to evolve. Along with that, you want your business to grow as well. Your social analytics platform should not only meet your current needs, but also scale as your business objectives evolve. Otherwise you’ll be asking these questions again in another two years, or perhaps less.

Prospective vendors can hardly be objective when selling you on their merits, so seeking the opinions of industry analysts, 3rd party research firms, and other customers for the real scoop is wise. There’s no better sales pitch than the personal success story of another brand, or highly ranked praise by a trusted research authority.

Another mark of quality is the vendor’s “marquis” customers – those recognizable names posted prominently as clients. But don’t stop at the list. Any reputable vendor should be able to supply use cases with clear business outcomes to demonstrate their value.

Beware the vendor that can’t offer this information.

Ease of use and transparency

Also steer clear of any software that doesn’t provide accurate results “out of the box.” You want software that’s easy to use – offering precise, transparent data from which you can distill actionable insights.

You don’t have time to “train” your social listening software to achieve better accuracy – this process should be automatic or you’ll be wasting a lot of time.

Transparency also matters. You should know where data is sourced, how metrics are calculated, and the amount of manual effort it will take to get accurate insights.

Like a math teacher asking you “show your work,” C-suite executives want a clear view of the data they’re using to make key business decisions. If you can’t easily validate the data behind your insights, it’s not worth much.

Speed and reach

Data isn’t worth much if you can’t gather it in real-time, either. If the software you’re considering relies on overly complex queries and analysis it may not help you keep pace with social conversations and trends.

Not only that, keeping brand crises at bay depends on an immediate response. 53% of Twitter users expect brands to respond to a tweet within an hour, and that percentage rises to 72% when there’s an actual complaint. Real-time capabilities should be a deal-breaker.

And insights can’t be confined to your brand alone. Social listening software should offer a dimensional view of social audiences. That way you can customize consumer segments for authentic messaging, and apply monitoring to competitive intelligence as well. Because unless you know what consumers want, and what they’re getting – and loving – elsewhere, you can’t begin to give it to them.

To that end, a converged media approach also makes a difference to how you view data across channels – and there’s a lot more to consider as you shop around.

This preview is just the tip of the iceberg, but the eBook 7 Questions to Ask your Social Analytics Provider has even more to help you get the best software for your needs. Once you know what to ask, you can find the perfect solution to manage and grow your business through the next evolution of social listening trends, and beyond.

For our answers to the 7 questions, and a demo of our suite of products, give us a shout!

Image from Derek Bridges

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