3 Reasons Your Social Media Numbers Are Lying

When running any type of social media analysis the numbers are not sufficient in telling a story about how social media is performing for your organization. The numbers are guidelines that can point you in the right direction and help you understand where to look.

Here are three reasons numbers can miss the mark and need a human to tell the story.

1. Numbers don’t give context
Simply looking at numbers is not enough to determine whether we are doing well or not. We need a frame of reference and we need explanation. If we see a large drop in social media volume for example, it might be good to know that during that week it was spring break and most clients were off enjoying time with family.

Finding the “why” that goes along with the numbers is just as important as the numbers themselves.

2. Numbers don’t provide analysis
Analysis is needed to determine if numbers are correct, and if they are telling the right story. If we are measuring a particular event there is lots we can look at beyond volume of mentions. We can analyze the volume for each of our speakers. Look further into the mentions to see what resonated with people and understand what parts of the event they enjoyed most.

Was sentiment around spikes in volume positive or negative? We need to take the time to understand which of these questions to ask.

3. Numbers don’t indicate cause
A deadly mistake I see often is to attribute cause to numbers when there is nothing more than a correlation.

If, for example, you have the highest traffic to your blog ever during a month that you begin including lots of celebrity news.  Your first instinct might be to make the assumption that the more you talk about celebrities the more traffic you get to the blog, but this may not be the case.

It’s important to look at what people were searching to get to your blog, which posts drove more traffic. You may be surprised. Don’t always go with your first instinct. If you think you know the reason something is happening seek solid proof to back your numbers.

Are there any other areas numbers miss the mark that you can think of? I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Tour.png
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