One thing that has always drawn me to online business is the access to data it gives you, that you can then use to help make business decisions.
I am not suggesting data alone is the answer to all the decisions we make in business, but it does go a long way in proving or disproving the viability of certain actions.
In my experience many companies are very bad at using data, they often collect it but do not spend enough time analysing it and trying to draw actionable conclusions from it.
The rational analysis of data is after all one of the hardest tasks, collecting data is relatively easy.
Basic decisions such as where it may be best to open a high street store can easily be determined with a few people and a clipboard counting passing traffic or pedestrians. Footfall counters at a stores entrance can help determine the effectiveness of the the store staff by tracking the number of sales and then calculating conversion rates.
Offline tactics like these are used by only the most astute retailers, as it takes time and effort to put these processes in place and collate the data.
Online Business Has No Excuse
Thanks to freely available resources such as Google Analytics the only skill required is analysis of the data, or even better, knowing which questions to ask. On the Internet every action we take is track-able and therefore open for interpretation, whether we are buying a book or reading a Tweet. And it’s this last action that is of interest to us in this case.
With the rise in popularity of Social Media both by the public as a communications tool and by business as a marketing one it has become vitally important to track the effectiveness of these social platforms if we are to use them commercially. Much has been said about the lack of ability to prove the ROI of Social Media, and I will just refer you to the Adnams plc case study on that point. But before we even get to ROI there are some more fundamentals that we should be measuring, like the most effective times to be active within the social space.
Working 9 To 5
Business generally works 9 to 5, but the consumer may not always respect our wish to operate within this defined time frame. Therefore it is vitally important to understand when your audience is online and active, otherwise your efforts could be evaporating in the ether and you may be blaming the ineffectiveness of your social activity on other factors. Tools like Hootsuite and BufferApp can help schedule content distribution across times when your audience is more receptive, enabling you to work within business time constraints.
Understanding when these best times are will take some analysis, tools like Social Bro can go some way to helping you with this, but URL shortening service Bit.ly produced a study analysing social platforms and the most effective times to post on them generally.
Digital agency Raka then took this data and converted into the easy to digest info graphic below:
You will need to do your own studies and analysis to ensure you are optimised for your audience, but all the tools are freely available online.
How does your analysis match up?