Analytics: Key part of Social Business Center of Excellence

 So you want to build out a robust social media analytics program for your company, eh?

This process should be very similar to the approach you took in building out your digital analytics program. Follow the same trail to the summit.

Like any good journey, you need to make sure to focus on the basics first, such as:

    1. Getting internal alignment from you key stakeholders on your business objective (Hopefully, one objective!)
    2. Obtaining sign-off on the key metrics you want to look at
    3. Understanding your organizational constraints and resources
    4. Identifying and setting up the right tools/technology

But before launching a program, there are some important steps along the way that you should seriously consider:

    1. Work closely with your IT group because they usually set the standards for bringing technology into an enterprise environment
    2. Work closely and meet often with your financial partner (usually there is a finance guy assigned to your team) to show them that you are working on driving the business forward, that you understand what you are doing.
    3. Establish a baseline to measure from and know that every so often you might have to ‘move the goal line’ of desired results as well as the original baseline because your growth my skewed in the early stages of the program
    4. Incorporate Share of Voice vis a vis your direct competitors, your indirect competitors (if you are selling financial software to small businesses, excel can still be viewed as a competitor)
    5. Understand that there can be multiple ROIs for the whole organization since different groups have different objectives in using social media.
    6. Know that if you have an international focus, the same tools might not always work as the ones you use domestically
    7. Build in a mobile component to your social media analytics because as we all know, it is here to stay.

Most of the above applies to an enterprise type or Fortune 100 company. Ideally, the individuals working on measuring your success would be part of a Center of Excellence. Note, however, that this is more than the hub-spoke model, where your social media team resides in the middle with representatives from multiple groups.

One of the challenges with this model is that the groups representing the spokes are not funding a full time or part time person to look at social media, but rather having someone ‘just attend the meetings.’ Secondly, the Hub, the social media team tends to still be influenced by where they sit in the organization. If they sit with the public relations team or corporate communications team, those groups business objectives might not support others divisions. Ideally, I think Social Media today should be a true Center of Excellence, completely funded independently, and set up like finance or human resources, where the group assigns individuals to support others in the organizations.

This Center of Excellence idea is not completely new. The big difference here is that I am recommending it be treated like finance, legal or HR. Not in terms of being more of an operational role, but rather focused on a stand alone entity that embeds its own people into each group and pays for those people vs. having it be someone from a business group’s part time job. After talking to many companies about how they address social media in their organization, many wrestle with either a) individual groups doing their own thing or b) they only have a few hours a week of a business person’s time.

More on the center of excellence next time I blog here…

Oh yea.. Yes, your data jockey (s) should be part of this team too. : )