Solve for the Right Objectives

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I attended a blogger conference recently, where some of the great women I met were agonizing about their purpose in blogging, and that they weren't reaching as many readers as they'd like.  I made one of these women pause.

"What are you trying to accomplish by blogging?"  I asked.

"Well, I love how it helps me be known by friends and family...I'm an introvert.  They tell me that they've learned more about me on my blog in the last 3 months than they've learned in the last 12 years," she confided.

When we dug into it, success meant being known by those closest to her.  Therefore, I begged her to disregard the stats about click-through and to instead monitor whether those closest to her were reading and better getting to know her.

Just because the metrics are there, it doesn't mean that they matter.

Don't let the metrics define your purpose.

Here's the application to social media research: just because sentiment numbers are there, it doesn't mean they matter to my clients.  Just because top influencers can be found, it doesn't mean that my clients care.

So many that call themselves "social media researchers" are pulling stock reports from analytics platforms and sending them off to their clients...who are disappointed.  GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report's Winter 2013 findings stated that, "We see very little use of social media data for strategic objectives."  I'm not surprised.  The industry is providing the metrics without asking what we're trying to solve for.

What objectives do you really need to meet with your research?  Let's get after those by looking past the numbers and digging into what people are saying.

Here are some of the objectives I find success in reaching:

• Habits and practices
• Unmet needs
• Painpoints
• Category trends
• Target or segment identification and humanization • Ideation inspiration
• Brand positioning
• Benefit articulation in consumer terms
• Jobs to be done

Let's look past the sentiment analysis, the already-there metrics and go after what truly answers the questions at hand.


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