Book Review: Social Media Analytics by Marshall Sponder

September 21, 2011
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I haven’t done a book review since I was in Mrs. Parson’s 5th grade class but Marshall asked me to read over the copy he sent. CI is in it,  so I thought Why not? Actually CI is only referenced very briefly so I think I can be pretty fair in my review.

I haven’t done a book review since I was in Mrs. Parson’s 5th grade class but Marshall asked me to read over the copy he sent. CI is in it,  so I thought Why not? Actually CI is only referenced very briefly so I think I can be pretty fair in my review.

Your copy will not have a coffee stain

Social Media – Where Do You Start

Whether you are beginning to use social media technology or attempting to set up a comprehensive monitoring system, it’s hard to know where to start. Social Media Analytics provides an excellent review of the dominant platforms, like Twitter and Facebook and a review of some of the leading monitoring packages, including their short-comings. What I really liked about the book was the the time spent on the scorecard, which is essentially a set of key metrics that an organization can monitor as part of their social media monitoring strategy. Most importantly was that the scorecard contained indicators from across the enterprise and was not solely a social media monitoring tool.

Marshall spends a fair bit of time defining influence and influencers and some tools for measuring and monitoring key members of your audience. The case studies are excellent and provide an important tactical view into rigor that is required to create and manage a successful social media monitoring strategy. I also like his introduction of “ultra-violet data”, defined as data we can’t see but it’s all around us. (You’ll have to read the book to get more detail.)

More to Listening Than Just Keyword Selection

Sometimes it seemed that Marshall explained the short-comings of keyword-based monitoring tools as those shard by the rest of the monitoring technologies out there. For example, an issue specific to keyword based monitoring tools is that they have a query-length limitation and it is described as common amongst Listening platforms. Other monitoring tools, like ours, have their own types of restrictions. One of the reasons we built our technology using latent semantic analysis is because keyword queries become brittle as more and more Boolean expressions are added to include or exclude content on the basis of keyword matching only.

Broad and Accurate Look at Social Media

I thought the book covered a tremendous amount of information in a way that made it easy to digest and implement. Social media use and monitoring is definitely an evolving space and Marshall does a great job of both reviewing current trends but also emphasizing the need to bring social fully into the enterprise from a measurement perspective.