5 Research-Oriented Steps To Advance Your Social Media Listening Efforts

Say you’ve implemented a social media listening program, be it free tooling or the Rolls Royce amongst social monitoring tools, Radian6, the challenge with social media monitoring is the effectiveness and linking it to business-relevant outcomes. Read further how five research-oriented steps help you advance your social media listening efforts.

Seth Grimes describes on InformationWeek what the five steps are:

  1. Get the right data for a complete picture.
  2. Learn the challenges and not just the software.
  3. Understand customer dimensions.
  4. Rethink your analyses.
  5. Create a framework for analysis and action.

This perfectly fits the following three steps:

  1. From Data to Information
  2. From Information to Insight
  3. From Insight to Action
  4. From Action to Results

The article also offers some insights from professionals:

Rappaport, knowledge solutions director at the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), said:

A bit of misguided management wisdom says “you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” which has an unfortunate corollary. “The assumption is that what’s measured is meaningful. That’s not always the case. So many measures are just useless. They relate more to the business model [baked into software] than to reality. People are trained in using software. They’re not really trained in listening.”

Attensity CEO Kirsten Bay said:

Teach customers how to make decisions. One of the goals is to create the intersection of data and action”.

David Rabjohns, CEO of MotiveQuest said:

Advocacy correlates with sales and share. That is, it’s not enough to identify someone as an influencer. The message matters.”

So add people-understanding to the mix. MotiveQuest’s approach seeks to distinguish rational, emotional and social responses. “Each matters in a different way for different

categories,” said Rabjohns.

Becky Wang, head of analytical strategy at agency Droga5 said:

I can do all the social listening I want, but unless I have a psychographic profile or demographic information that goes beyond gender and age, I’m really limited.”

POST model

As with many other social media topics, the POST model fits the right approach and reflects the starting points of abovementioned professionals, namely, start with People and and with Technology.

Forrester Research once published the easy to use and understand POST Model:


Forrester elaboration on the four steps:

P is People. Don’t start a social strategy until you know the capabilities of your audience. If you’re targeting college students, use social networks. If you’re reaching out business travelers, consider ratings and reviews. Forrester has great  data to help with this, but you can make some estimates on your own. Just don’t start without thinking about it.

O is objectives. Pick one. Are you starting an application to listen to your customers, or to talk with them? To support them, or to energize your best customers to evangelize others? Or are you trying to collaborate with them? Decide on your objective before you decide on a technology. Then figure out how you will measure it.

S is Strategy. Strategy here means figuring out what will be different after you’re done. Do you want a closer, two-way relationship with your best customers? Do you want to get people talking about your products? Do you want a permanent focus group for testing product ideas and generating new ones? Imagine you succeed. How will things be different afterwards? Imagine the endpoint and you’ll know where to begin.

T is Technology. A community. A wiki. A blog or a hundred blogs. Once you know your people, objectives, and strategy, then you can decide with confidence.

The T of Technology then defines, in this case, it means the type of social media monitoring tool, the capabilities, the needs and so forth. Start with your customer!