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Steady streams of social data present challenges for social business

Companies struggle to manage the volume of social data they generate and how to create digestible data insights for their business stakeholders.

ATLANTA -- As companies try to sort through the information their audiences provide on social platforms, they continue to struggle with volume and how to create digestible data insights for various business stakeholders.

According to Natanya Anderson, director of social media at Whole Foods Market, one of the benefits of social media has been the ability to create a local presence for a national brand. "One of the most interesting things for us as a brand is our hyper-local presence. Almost every store is reflected as a social channel or a set of social channels," Anderson said. It allows us to have a local conversation that would otherwise be unmanageable." Anderson sat down with SearchContentManagement at the Social Shake-Up, which took place in Atlanta Sept. 16-17.

But data can work against business objectives, as well. Social media has created a fire hose of data that is difficult to control.

"The hardest thing is just the volume of data," Anderson said. "But then it's also deciding if I have all this big data available to me, which pieces I'm going to bite off. And some of that is a business process challenge. We want to be thoughtful about 'What am I really trying to solve; how am I going to impact the business?' One of the challenges is to shut out the world, and ask, 'What are my business needs, and what is the data that I have, and how do I bring the two together?  How do I take the data I have and bring it down to a level that can be digested by the organization?' What I want see might not be at the level or format that's appropriate [for executives]."

For more on the challenges and opportunities of social data, check out the podcast below.

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This was last published in September 2014

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