Chuck Hemann gives UT PRSSA insight into analytics

The importance of an organization’s online presence has exploded in the last few years. With millions of posts, tweets, statuses and blog comments per day, businesses are struggling to keep up with their online communities and gather meaningful insights for a bottom line.

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, WCG’s Director of Analytics Chuck Hemann spoke to UT PRSSA on the impact of social media data on businesses in today’s fast-paced, digital age. In a new field such as analytics, Hemann is a pioneer in managing analysts and data points for Fortune 500 companies. He spoke to the rapid growth of analytics as a career path and as an explanation for clients asking what their followers do for them.

“Firms are getting really serious, bringing in folks like me to expand this part of the business,” said Hemann, who joined WCG after serving in analytics leadership roles for Edelman and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. “We’re seeing more actionable and real-time community management. This is the future and the way clients are moving.”

When thinking about a brand’s online presence, Hemann advises to think about the classic ‘5 Ws:’ who’s saying what, and when and where online they’re saying it. The ‘why’ can be a little trickier. A digital toolkit with monitoring applications can answer the basic questions for you, but it a skilled analyst is needed to dig deeper and get to the meaning of the numbers.

Hemann: “It’s hard to make a move online without making a digital footprint. There is a lot of noise to filter, but plenty of valuable signals.”

“Tools are great, but it takes human beings, people who have a love for numbers and social media,” says Hemann. “Intent and consumer behavior are difficult to discern online – that’s what surveys and focus groups are for.”

If you can get to the meaning of a user’s motivation to post about a brand or topic, your insights into consumer motivation will benefit.  That’s not to mention your client’s ROI, which can only be good for us as public relations and digital practitioners.

If you’re interested in diving into the numbers behind the posts, check out Hemann’s new book on analytics, “Digital Marketing Analytics: Making Sense of Consumer Data in a Digital World.” Co-written with Ken Burbary, the book is due for release in May 2013. All of Hemann’s proceeds from the book will go to Superhero Kids, supporting the Children’s Blood and Cancer Center at Dell Children’s Medical Center.