For every hand there is a glove. Think about that statement…
The problem is, all the other glove-sellers are constantly trying to get you to buy their gloves instead, and other people keep recommending a whole load of other gloves that just don’t fit you at all.
This pained analogy is a “weak” attempt at describing how difficult it can be in selecting the right kind of analytics software for your own organization.
To start with, there are social media analytics, social media measurement, social listening, social media monitoring and countless millions of other terminologies to keep track of, and each will come with a wide range of competencies and feature sets. Each will claim to be the best on their own website too, of course.
So what I’m going to do is give you a simple outline to follow when searching for an analytic tracking platform.
Create a shortlist
Clever marketers and other departments seeking specific platforms for analyzing social media will begin by outlining what they actually want to do. They may outline some desirable objectives, like:
There could be many thousands of other, similar, statements too.
However, once it’s clear what you’re actually wanting from your software then you can begin the process of earnest, full-on research.
Do some thorough research
Look up independent reports. Search for comparison documents. Go on sites like G2 Crowd to see what customers are saying about certain software. Go on sites like Glassdoor to see what employees are saying about it. Try to source materials that don’t champion a specific tool – remember that your requirements are unique and only you can be the judge of the best platform for you.
Rather than elevate one tool in particular above all others, aim at showcasing the capabilities of complete platform.
The final stage is the most important…demoing. Request demos of every tool that looks like it might be able to meet your objectives. Give the seemingly slightly weaker ones a chance to impress in action. Stress-test them.
Push them to their limits. Try to envisage why they might not be the right choice. Take the salesperson out of the equation and line up the actual products against each other.
Ask the vendor to set you up with a trial so you can test it yourself. Get demos and trials of the front runners and make a decision based on personal experience, not just whichever has the flashiest advert or what appears highest in rankings.
Zachary T. Brown