3 Simple Data Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Data-Driven Marketing Marketing Tools & Tips

Feeling overwhelmed by social media monitoring? If so, you’re not alone.

Thanks to relentless updates and countless ways to pull information, it’s no wonder that data extraction and analysis is an anxiety-provoking process. When you throw in fear of making data mistakes, it can almost be too much to handle. But we’ve got you covered.

It seems that for many marketers, collecting and dissecting qualitative and quantitative data is a bigger struggle than we’d like others to think. It’s unfortunate too, because there’s a wealth of information waiting out there, available to help refine your digital marketing strategy. If this rings true for you, you may suffer from these three common (yet fixable!) user-error data mistakes.

One man's arm rising from a field of wheat–or a sea of data mistakes!

Data Mistake #1: Analyzing Without a Plan

While most know data analysis is a critical component of any campaign, sometimes marketers jump right in without a plan. That’s a surefire way to feel really lost, really fast.

In fact, in a recent study interviewing 600+ people, 85% admitted that they are unable to fully utilize data. I’ll bet it’s because many of them have no clue what they’re looking for, and definitely do not understand how the data can and should inform next steps.

A Better Choice

Instead of blindly monitoring out of obligation, be thoughtful about your research. Before scrolling, consider your long-term goals and specifically look for data points to support those objectives.

Data-driven decisions are the best kind of decisions because they remove opinion from the equation. For content and engagement planning purposes, as well as proving ROI, data is on your side.

Data mistakes can be avoided with a strong dashboard, like this plane's dashboard and controls with a verdant landscape

Data Mistake #2: Turning on autopilot (and not looking back)

It starts with high hopes as you set up an analytics profile. After spending a couple of fun hours brainstorming and creating keyword query combinations, you sit back in amazement as the results start to roll in.

At that point however, the novelty begins to wear off. It’s definitely tempting to close the analytics tab and turn your attention to other aspects of your job… or hilarious memes that just really get you.

While automation is all fine and good, the cons begin to outweigh the pros if you set up a comprehensive monitoring account and then seldom look at it. Data analysis is most effective if a human being is regularly monitoring, tweaking keywords, and evaluating performance along the way. Gathering these insights is a best practice to inform strategy and content creation. If you just leave it running in the background, the entire exercise becomes pointless.

A Better Choice

Avoid this common data mistake by sending automated alerts to your email instead. You can still stay on top of the results without having to log in to your account multiple times a day.

Here are some examples of the alerts you can customize and opt to have automatically pushed to your inbox.

Movie clapper in the desert

Data Mistake #3: Failing to create actionable insights

Data analysis is only helpful when you take action. You can run numbers and analyze conversations until you’re blue in the face, but doing so without implementing changes based on insights falls into the “data mistake” category every time.

When I worked at a PR agency, we regularly produced reports for clients. A common response from the C-Suite was: “Okay, so what do these numbers mean and what are we supposed to do with this information?”

That’s where actionable insights enter the picture. In a nutshell, it means using the information gleaned from monitoring and analysis to make better and more informed content and engagement decisions.

A Better Choice

Whether you’re sharing reports with a client or your internal team, be sure to pair every data point with context and recommendations. Take Samsung, for example. Samsung took notice when their social listening tools revealed customers shared pictures of their TVs playing specific shows, like HBO’s popular Game of Thrones. Previously, Samsung was sharing inspirational imagery that didn’t quite connect with how people were using the product in real life (the brand depicted pristine rooms with turned-off, wall-mounted TVs, whereas user-generated content featured TVs on stands with a beer in the foreground).

Samsung didn’t just file this information away: they used it to make meaningful changes to their marketing campaign. Now that they had a better idea of how people wanted to interact with their products, they began incorporating more realistic imagery. The result? Content that resonated better with target audiences and higher brand engagement.

Be the hero of your next digital marketing meeting by bringing new ideas to the table that are rooted in data.

Are you a victim of any of these common user-error data mistakes? Send us a tweet and let us know how you plan to make adjustments to your social listening strategy this year.

Katie McCall

Katie McCall is a strategic communications consultant, working with clients to establish trustworthy and engaging reputations, driving authentic communication with fans and influencers. She specializes in branding and positioning, storytelling and online advocacy networking. In addition, Katie is a lifestyle portrait photographer, serving clients in the greater Seattle community and beyond.

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