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Add-ons can be huge time savers – when they work. Some jobs – like social media analysis – require tools with a bit more oomph. Here’s why 3rd party social analytics add-ons are a bad idea:

You can’t rely on accuracy of data

If the data you’re analyzing isn’t accurate, you may as well not bother – and 3rd party solutions are harder to trust. Add-ons are designed to make things easy, meaning you don’t have to do a lot of manipulating to find what you’re looking for.

But then how is data gathered and analyzed? With 3rd party tools you often don’t have transparency about the process used, so you have no idea how they’re arriving at their conclusions.

How can you trust insights gathered in such a fashion? You can’t. There might be grains of truth amidst the data collected, but you won’t know what’s missing. It might be the data most relevant to your brand!

Unable to tweak/customize

Another problem with such tools is an inability to customize the way they surface insights. Your brand is as individual as your customers, so you want insights relevant to you. That means defining your audience by criteria that make them uniquely yours, as well as analyzing the channels that matter to them.

Working with “as is” conditions doesn’t give you what you need to compete and succeed effectively.

Often limited

Tools designed as add-ons are often limited in their abilities as well. They’re meant to offer a version of the tool they represent – but they can’t do the same thing as a full-blown social analytics platform.

So what might you be giving up? Any number of things – all of which are crucial to your analytics, like:

Sentiment analysis – Without an understanding of consumer emotions you have zero context to apply to the posts you analyze. Do consumers merely like you, or are they obsessed with your brand? Do they think your customer experience could be better, or are they irate and looking to tell everyone on social about it?

Emotional extremes can be beneficial or dangerous – and you have to know which category they fall into so you can take action.

tweeted complaint about apple

Audience segmenting – When it comes to consumer commonalities, “likes a good sale” isn’t one that gives you much to work with. Today’s shoppers want more from brands, and it takes serious social listening to give it to them. They want brands to know them as well as they know themselves, to understand and anticipate their needs at an individual and personal level.

Forget generic marketing blasts – you need to target each member of your audience with exactly what they care about. Sentiment analysis is part of how you uncover that information. Audience segmenting is how you address the masses in a way that feels specific to each person.

Competitive analysis – Social analytics isn’t limited to your customers and prospects. To really know what consumers want you’ve got to keep an eye on competitors as well – but is that an option with 3rd party add-ons? Probably not – at least, not to the degree you want. Again, it’s about ability to customize to get to the data that matters to your brand.

Crisis alerts Speed is imperative when a crisis is brewing – as in, knowing there might be trouble at the very first sign. A comprehensive social analytics platform will let you set alerts to be notified when troublesome keywords are shared, etc. Third-party add-ons may not.

Social analytics is a big, important job

Think about the term “add-on.” It’s pretty much synonymous with “afterthought.” Is that what your social analytics are? No! They’re a driving force for brand decision-making! Something that important deserves a dedicated tool capable of delivering on your terms – not the add-on’s.

With more comprehensive social analytics platforms you have access to quick overviews, as well as deeper looks – both in real-time, and over longer stretches of time. You can segment your audience based on reliable psychographic information, monitor for reputational threats, analyze competitor activities, and more.

And you can integrate with other brand tools – like CRM and BI platforms – so everything works together seamlessly from data shared across your brand.

So don’t add-on social analytics. Put them front and center where they belong.

We love showing all our social analytics platform can do for brands. Reach out for a customized demo!

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