I find it extremely interesting that although there is currently no “real” way to track ROI of social media, the amount of brand monitoring services available is growing exponentially. Beginning with the almost free tools we’ve got: Crowdbooster, Twitalyzer, Google Trends, Postling, TwitterCounter, Topsy, Buffer App, Social Mention, Google Correlatejust to mention a few. Talk about paid tools such as: Argyle, SproutSocial, Radian 6, SimplyMeasured, Cymfony & Netbase.
What is particularly interesting is that, given the real-time nature of social comments, tracing the information flow can be quite tricky. I personally find myself getting lost in the cascading of hyperlinks after reading a simple tweet. Are most analytic tools able to capture how a particular brand message is spreading through out the social network? If this is not the case, how do we measure original content vs. content that has already been influenced by a previous post? I have fallen for the typical “like” of a brand I don’t really care for, just because someone I consider an influencer just liked the brand. I might make an ocasional comment about the brand even though I don’t plan to purchase in the future. If so, how is my data point valid to the brand?
How much attention a particular brand post will get can follow a Linear Influence Model, which basically predicts future involvement based on who “got infected” in the past (pretty significant statistical analysis required). Does a $1/month subscription analyses data to such extent ? What makes social media data, good reliable data? We all thought George Soros’s success depended on his Theory of Reflexivity. As it turns out, his trading success included ignoring his theory in most situations !
Keeping the social media analytics an inexpensive endeavor might be a good beginner’s strategy.