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The Art and Science of Social Media Analytics

October 26, 2017 //

Nader Ali-Hassan is the executive director of social marketing at Comcast. He recently joined us for a live conversation on improving social media marketing through making better use of data. This event was the first in a three-part series hosted by Fox Management Consulting and the Fox School. Stay tuned next week for part two and learn how to connect the dots between marketing metrics and the bottom line. Our guest will be Andrew Richardson, director of analytics and insights at Elite SEM.

Nader has a wealth of experience in the social media space. Here is some of what he shared when the cameras stopped rolling.

Your role at Comcast is to translate the marketing messaging for the Xfinity brand across your social media platforms. How do you do that?

We do everything from working with divisions to figuring out their advertising needs, measuring and reporting back, and doing the social listening to see what insights we can glean. We are trying to make sure our customers see us in a positive light and understand the work we’re doing.

We recently did an event called the TV Diner at Comic Con in San Diego where we built the sets from three of our most popular shows. Customers could come sit on the “Game of Thrones” set, eat themed menu items like “Direwolf Bread” and take pictures and talk about the show. We helped design a filter for SnapChat to accompany Katie Perry’s recent tour. Tomorrow I’m going to film a mock horror film to talk about home security. We get to do some really cool work.

How does data support your work?

Data lets you go deep into what is driving a particular person. If certain people react to certain pieces of content, how do I take that engagement and try to convert that customer? The data helps me optimize what I need to create on a day-to-day basis, see what’s working about content and who is responding to it, and create a custom piece of content for that person in order to push them down the funnel.

The data lets us see more about the individual than we ever could before. And it lets us track them even before they’re really engaged with us, which gives us a long lead time in reaching out to them.

Can you offer any additional advice for mid-sized firms in building up their social media analytics?

Stay consistent. There is a litany of measurement tools and everyone has a different sentiment. The tools change so much that unless you stay consistent, you’ll never be able to get real macro change because you’re always changing that KPI. Find a path you like, and stick to it.

Put a team behind your data. Have a creative strategist that can take that data and work with a creative team to apply it. The whole team needs to be receptive to it, and that’s a big shift to how people have worked in the past. It’s half creative, half science. That balance is super important; that’s where analytics comes in. There are certain folks that struggle with narrowing their focus to match what the data is telling you. You need to have a team that is flexible, and you as a leader need to know when to fit into the analytics, and when to ignore it.

Be flexible. What you know today is not necessarily going to be the right thing tomorrow, a week from now, or a month from now. While you want to stay consistent with what you’re measuring, the analysis of what that means and how you interpret it is always changing.

The trends change so quickly. People are tempted to take a certain data set and say “this is absolute now. This is law.” The truth is that a week from now, it could be completely different. The doesn’t mean the analytics were wrong. Times change, and people are fickle.

Analytics can be the thing that chokes you. If you only rely on that, you’ll fail. But if you only trust your gut, you’ll fail too. The trick is to find the balance between the two.

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