5 types of social data

social data

Over the last couple of years companies have approached us to help enable them to become more competitive in a socially engaged marketplace. That can include everything from policy development to technical systems, internal knowledge sharing, content creation, channel development, engagement, training and monitoring and analytics. And everything in between. So apart of the re-branding process we're currently going through is the development of a new package called the '100 Days of FLITTER' which is helping us formalise the process we take companies through.

With 100 Days of FLITTER we take companies through a holistic and wide-ranging strategic program. It begins with discussions and brainstorming at the highest level to create a vision for the project, the key goals, objectives and results we aim to achieve over 100 days. It ends with the company being fully prepared, equipped, socially connected and engaged in a multi-channel strategy.

Data plays a significant role in opportunity identification, resource allocation and content programming. So we've broken 'data' in to 5 segments to help you understand what each type means and where it adds value to your overall strategic pathway.

  1. Performance data
  2. Conversation data
  3. Industry or topic data
  4. Traffic and link data
  5. Conversion or results data

Performance Data

Essentially performance data answers the question "how are we going right now?". SproutSocial has a reports section that lays out key performance information like this.

Performance dashboards can be as simple or as detailed as required but generally they give management a quick, easily digestible overview of how well your social channels are going. In most cases we build our own custom reports that present multi-channel; project critical data and insights without distractions.

Performance might include click through rates, document downloads or other KPI data as well depending on the project. In most cases we're interested in activity levels on each social network, mentions, shares, other interactions that help us understand user behaviour, interests and other insights to help our content and posts have the most impact.

Conversation Data

Starts digging into real-time conversations, brand mentions, demographics and user characteristics, sentiment and content. Often analysing this data takes dedicated human time and the ability to make cross-channel connections, cross-reference data and apply filters to isolate trends. There are quite a few enterprise level analytics and monitoring applications people use for this. We use the best tool for that job and often draw on pulling custom data directly from the Twitter Firehose or other network API's.

Occasionally we discover brand conversations on social networks where we don't have a presence. The ability to listen to real-time conversation data empowers a company to respond quickly, rewarding and sharing positive stories or taking steps to remedy service failures, solve problems and learn about their customers feelings.

Industry/Topic Data

Along with Conversation data, monitoring industry and topic conversations helps us identify key influencers and interesting content. We can start to measure a brands share of voice within the industry and of course monitor competitor activity.

We're also interested in tracking hashtags, keywords and phrases people might be using that could relate to a question, issue or event that the brand could be engaging with. We're looking for trends to identify opportunities for new content, discussions and connections.

Tracking industry and topic data helps us listen to a wider knowledge base and ensure we're curating content that's topical, interesting and useful.

Traffic and Link Data

You're probably familiar with the typical hub-and-spoke design of your digital network with your website at the centre and your social networks creating the spokes.  In most cases companies use their website as the central hub for digital content, communications and resources. Social channels, SEO, ad campaigns and the like all generate traffic that leads back to the website. It could be a campaign landing page, video, PDF, blog post, support knowledge base or a contact form as a few examples.

Within this category we're interested in learning where traffic comes from, which social networks, items of content or ads are adding the most value.

With link tracking we can start developing stories about where your content is shared, published and accessed.  We can watch as a resource is shared across multiple social channels, who the key influencers are who shared it and who generated the most re-shares of the content online. Digging deeper we can learn demographic, location and sentiment trends related to each item of content or link we share.

Conversion and Results Data

This is where we begin to develop success metrics. In some cases a company can easily determine the value of a visit to their website based on average conversion rates and the dollar value of purchases. In other cases we might be driving ticket purchases from a Facebook advert or campaign tab through to the ticket booking page and can track the interaction through to the confirmation page. Quite commonly we're tracking how many times a report has been viewed or downloaded and where those visitors came from. Then we might cross reference that information with subsequent conversation data like hash-tagged conversations, quote tweets from the doc or other discussions that resulted from the interaction.

Either way at this stage of the data program we're looking to identify opportunities to actively track conversions and results from content programs and engagement tactics online.

Intuitive Trend Analysis

Prediction is the holy grail of data. While trend lines can forecast in to the future most social data is difficult to predict at the best of times. Who knows how people will react, how interests will change over time or what topics your audiences will be most engaged with in 3 months. BUT trends and intelligent data analysis can give us the foresight to react and plan.

Early adopters might start talking about a new product being released next month. To leverage off those conversations we might prepare a product landing page with pre-ordering facilities, share functions and other resources to inspire and engage those passionate fans.


As you can see I could go on and on about social media data, tools, insights and where each can add value to your web strategies and business planning.

For more information please get in touch with us at FLITTER and we'll discuss how we can work together.