Do You Rely on Analytics to Tell the Whole Story?

A Guest Post by
Rosemary O’Neill


The Tools Only Get You Halfway There

Many tools offer to help you analyze your customer community, so that you can capture the elusive “ROI.” These tools evaluate a multitude of data points, including number of followers, likes, blog comments, retweets, etc., to come up with the success equation. Small businesses can be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of starting from zero in all of these social categories.

However, I propose that numbers only get you halfway there. The other half is composed of humanity. Information like, “dog’s name,” “has 3 kids,” “is insanely into photography.” The reason that is often left out in the cold is because it’s hard to automate that kind of connection. That type of information is only really gleaned from a steady stream of interactions over a long period of time. And many of us don’t invest the time to build up that data.

There’s an old-school sales trick that says when you walk into someone’s office, you look around and take note of the family pictures, fishing trophies, or other personal items on the desk. Those can be used to start conversations and begin building a connection…”hey, I went to UVa too!” If you want to build up your humanity data, you need to do the digital version of that; i.e., take note of the human information that is available online.

I’m not suggesting cyberstalking in a creepy way, but if your customer is sharing his/her interests publicly, it’s fairly easy to build on that. Here are some concrete ideas:

  • Build a web of connections, via Twitter, LinkedIn, or other networks
  • Promote your customers’ projects and content
  • Work on expanding the ways you connect—if it’s all digital, try the phone. If you’ve always emailed, try finding them elsewhere.
  • When you respond, try to read-up first. If your customer is reaching out to you on your FB page, why not show them you know them. Same with Twitter followbacks.
  • Find ways to allow your customers to be “whole people” in your community, include an area for off-topic socializing. And allow your reps to be human too.

The bonus is that, by including human data, you also build in “delight,” as people recognize that they’re being noticed. And that’s priceless.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work on the Internet. Check out their blog. You can find her on Twitter as @rhogroupee

Thank you, Rosemary! People like you are easy to remember and fun to do business with! :)

–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!


  1. says

    That’s why it’s called the Web and that’s what social media is really all about. Banding with brothers and sisters and broadcasting. IBM recently nailed it with their Social Business philosophy based on three pillars – information gathering (knowledge), lead generation and collaboration.

    Which, by the way… in lieu of merely Tweeting this I would have liked to ‘share’ on LinkedIn! Where are you share buttons and Goole+?

  2. says

    This should be way more obvious/common sense, but it’s way too easy to get lost in the numbers and forget that there are people behind the analytics. I think even Google/Facebook execs tend to forget this.

  3. says

    Thank you Michael and Ethan for stopping by! You’re right that recognizing the people behind the numbers should be obvious; I’m hoping that more companies take the time to dig deeper on a human level. Just think of the extra impact it would have if a major brand like IBM or Google personally recognized an individual.

  4. says

    Thank you for sharing this. ROI is the only stuff for which people/entrepreneurs are actually struggling for.
    Best analytics is the only one who can rely with thr ROI.

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