5 Steps to Master Your Social Data
Colin Rigley

Here’s the one thing people don’t seem to talk about when it comes to internal social collaboration networks like Facebook at Work and Yammer—and I really couldn’t tell you why it’s not the No. 1 selling point.

One word: data.

Everywhere else we look today, data is king. Most people’s jobs now revolve around gathering, analyzing, and responding to data. Who’s looking at your website? How are they getting there? What do you know about your customers? How about the time it takes to handle customer issues or address technical problems or even how efficient your organization is at managing its data? Data is king and the kingdom is growing like wildfire.

As more of our lives push into digital channels, we open up all new ways to examine how we communicate and how we work. There’s nothing quite so sobering as cold, hard numbers. Data tells us what we’re good at; what we suck at; and, most importantly, how we can improve.

Social networks give us data. Email, not so much.

(There are, of course, plenty of solutions for tracking email marketing campaigns, and products like Delve Analytics provide personal email usage insights, but that data differs significantly with the network analysis from an Enterprise Social Network.)

If I’m a manager examining my team and they only communicate via email, there’s not much I can draw from that.

“Oh, looks like Johnson has the most unread messages in his inbox. That’s … um … not very useful.”

But if I’m a manager with a batch of analytics from my internal social network, I have opportunities abound to help my team thrive. Social analytics data can tell you who your top contributors and cheerleaders are. It can show you how connections form across groups and individuals. It can definitely show you where your gaps are.

At Carpool, we self-examine all the time. We look at our top contributors. We look at the people who comment the most on other threads. We even get to examine how good we are at working out loud or whether too many of our conversations are taking place in private messages rather than public groups.

During our Office Anywhere experiment, we were able to use a combination of employee surveys and social analytics to determine where we were successful, where we remained unchanged, and where we could make improvements.

So, yeah, data is kind of a big deal.


If you have figured out how to build a successful online community that you use for collaboration, here are five things you should keep in mind when analyzing your data.

1: Define success

Before you can measure how your community is doing, you need to understand what the definition of success is. Clear understanding of the business need will allow you to pivot your data in the most efficient way. Where possible, your metric should go further than just activity. For example, “responsiveness” is more relevant than just “number of posts.”

2: Establish a Baseline

Capture your progress for about a week to a month. This will give a clear starting point of how active your community is. Use this data as your baseline and comparison for the future.

3: Focus on What Matters

Once you understand what the definition of success is for your community, you can focus on the numbers that matter. Don’t try to overwhelm yourself and your community in achieving success in every area. It’s easy to get sidetracked, but try to focus on measuring and analyzing with your original business goal in mind.

4: Adjust Your Strategy

Once you continue analyzing and comparing your data to the baseline you have established, you will see patterns. Adjust your strategy as needed based on the emerging patterns and themes in order to meet the business need that defines your success.

5: Compare and Continue

Continue measuring data as often as you feel necessary. At Carpool, we prefer to check in on important numbers once per week. It provides an up-to-date snapshot of what’s going on and whether there are any red flags that need to be addressed.

Need Help?

If you’d like to learn more about establishing an internal social community or how to strategically use data to improve the flow of information in your org and begin communicating more effectively, check out Carpool’s approach.