digital and social media | December 15, 2014

Like or Lurk: Alexandra Samuel Uncovers What's Missing from Social Media Analytics

In her latest study, Alexandra Samuel—VP Social at research and tech company Vision Critical—has uncovered fascinating new information about the gap between social media analytics and what companies really know about their customers.

"Social media analytics can’t tell you how to become a more customer-centric company," says Samuel. But if we're using analytics to track behavior, why can't we trust that data? The Globe and Mail distilled the facts in a recent article: "Of a company’s customers who use social media, roughly 85 per cent of all posts about the brand are generated by only about 30 per cent of the people. Of that group, an even smaller subset—the 8 per cent of users who are most active on social media—is responsible for more than half of all posts on social media."

So what does that mean? It means the majority of a company's customers almost never engage on social media, and are excluded from any kind of statistical analysis. "[It's] a major disconnect between what a company hears on social media and what its customers actually think," says the Globe. “If that 30 per cent [of users who are most active] was reasonably representative of social media as a whole, it wouldn’t be a problem,” says Samuel. “The problem comes up because they’re not representative."

In the report, Samuel and her colleagues outline what can be done to fill this gap, and to better understand the "quiet" customers. "Engaging directly with customers can get companies the context they need to improve customer service, marketing, and other aspects of their businesses," writes Samuel.

In illuminating talks, Samuel offers a new framework for thinking about big data and how organizations should be collecting and using it. To book Alexandra Samuel as a speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency.