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Stop Tracking Your Customers and Start Listening to Them

* An article I wrote for Social Media Today

As more and more companies are trying to crack the social code and demanding results from social media, the industry responds, and many digital agencies have developed insightful and interactive metrics platforms to allow brands to better analyze their efforts and get more data. The goal? Providing more of what I call ROE or "Return On Expectations."

But just like any relationship, expectations lead to disappointment. I have been a victim of the tracking, analyzing, digging, and just like Alice in Wonderland, I got lost, hypnotized and met a lot of cool, yet unclear characters. The more data I got, the clearer it became that the answer is not in the numbers, but in the people, and in psychology.

I decided to get back from the land of the lost, stop the wondering, and do a reality check. The reality is that most brands, companies, small or large, started with an idea. One big, most likely crazy, idea. Then it was fueled with passion, fire, relentless pursuit to bring the idea to life. Then came the money to fund it, and then the fun began-they wanted to share it with the world, brand, market, sell it. A very thrilling, yet simple journey of brand building. In the olden days, we could buy a space in people's minds, through traditional, interruptive ads. Then social media showed up to change the game. Based on that, it is clear, that the foundation of every company's vision, where they started, and why they are here today is fire, passion, a big idea and a vision- not data.

Social media, just like most great companies, is also one big emotional monster - one big idea. Though it's not a brain surgery; it's more like an open-heart surgery. It's an emotional outburst of big ideas, fire, passion and visions. If you dig too deep in analytics and numbers, you will lose track of the conversation. You need to keep it real, be you (the brand, humanized), attract the masses, use the tools and techniques available, have fun, and reap the rewards.

Don't track. Listen.

Don't analyze. Understand.

Don't convert. Impact.

You want sales? Then earn them.

Just like in life, in social money can't buy you love. It can attract people to your page (using ads, sweeps, etc), make them "Like" you, but it can't buy brand "lovability." A page can have 10,000 fans with no virality (likes, shares, engagement), or 3,000 fans with huge virality.

You want to make social impact? Then step out of the "bored" room, and make your decisions together with your customers. That's what social media is for. Don't stalk your customers, but invite them to join your journey and make it a rewarding one.

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