3 Most Common Myths About Social Media Data Debunked

By: Sofie De Beule

November 28, 2014

There are numerous ways in which you can track social data about your customers. But how can marketers make the best use of it? What are the common pitfalls and social media data myths to watch out for?

Data about your customers is available at your fingertips. However, marketers often don’t manage to gain control over it. By interpreting the data, marketers can tap into numerous opportunities to leverage the insights brought to the surface and implement them in their campaigns, social media engagement strategy, etc. Nevertheless, due to the explosion of social media mentions and all the irrelevant clutter, marketers find it hard to wade through the data and discover what is relevant to their brand.

Luckily, there are numerous ways in which you can measure and structure data to make the best use of it. Unfortunately, there’s no magic “social media measurement button”. Data still has to be interpreted and demands human interpretation by using your common sense. Based upon the data they are able to collect, marketers draw insights and use them to optimize marketing strategies and campaigns.

To make sure you interpret data the right way, we have dug up 3 myths about social media data to help you understand the common pitfalls to watch out for.

1. Demographic Data Is Simply A Representation of the Demographics

“I often come across demographic data that is incomplete.”

Marketers need to grasp who is talking to them and what their characteristics are, to tailor their message accordingly. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that demographic data is a representation of your audience’s characteristics and can never give you a 360-degree, complete view of your customers. For example, an estimated 83 Million Facebook profiles are fake. Therefore, demographic data should always be treated with care.

The picture marketers have about their customers can never be complete. Social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook, limit the amount of data they share due to privacy restrictions (e.g. Facebook’s limited location data). On top, demographic data is limited by what people choose to share about themselves.

2. Automatic Sentiment Analysis Can Never Be 100% Correct

“When I have a look at the sentiment of my tweets that has been detected automatically, I come across cases that are incorrect or where sentiment is labeled ‘unknown’.”

One of the key things you can track on social media is your customers’ happiness. What are customers tweeting about my brand and is this positive or negative?

Automatically detecting sentiment is a powerful vehicle to keep an eye on your customers’ satisfaction. However, human language is complex and easily misinterpreted. With sentiment, there’s an ongoing debate about the accuracy of automatic sentiment analysis.

In general, social data providers state that this is between 70 and 80% accurate. In Engagor, sentiment is applied by default, meaning that every mention will receive an automatic sentiment tag (positive, negative, neutral, or unknown). Sentiment can never be 100% correct because there’s a margin of error in every algorithm. Contextual knowledge and a real understanding of what’s being said is key, something no computer can currently do. Cases like irony and sarcasm make sentiment detection extremely difficult.

Luckily, in Engagor you can easily gain control over sentiment. You can manually adjust sentiment, which will also improve automatic sentiment analysis through self-learning, or you can set up automation recipes to automatically label certain mentions as positive or negative.

3. There’s No “Magic” Keyword Search Set-Up

“My social media inbox is cluttered. I’m not pulling in the right social media messages.”

Brands want to be able to tap into the conversations that matter most to them. However, due to the high volume of social media messages and conversations, brands are pulling in a lot of noise and often end up with a lot of meaningless mentions that provide a huge amount of irrelevant data. Once again, there’s no magic formula or button to determine the right keywords for your brand: it’s simply a matter of trial and error. All you have to do is tweak your keyword search on a continuous base and you will soon find the perfect set-up.

Now don’t let these social media data myths discourage you. Once you are aware of the pitfalls, you can easily work your way around them!