So, I made it in Simply Measured's list of Top Tweeters of 2013. After winning the much coveted 'Boo Thang' award (that's hard work and dedication), what can I say in my acceptance speech?
Actually, I know exactly what I'm going to say - I'm going to tell you the story of how I met Simply Measured.
It All Started When...
When I started working for [
redacted] I had to find some tools to help me in my day-to-day job as an analyst. Now, I was already sorted with the web analytics, as I had access to Google Analytics and various tools from the ever powerful Adobe. However, in terms of social analytics, I didn't really have a tool that could help me find insights quickly.
I had already tried quite a few tools and there was always something that stopped me from being 100% happy with them - some didn't cover all the social platforms I needed, some didn't cover all the metrics I needed, some were too basic, some were just plain awful, atrocious and heart-breaking even. (Ok now I'm being dramatic.)
Then, one day, I found it. It was through a Google Search I think, although I can't remember exactly what I searched, probably "OMG CAN I HAZ SOCIAL ANALYTICS?". Or perhaps "MUCH SOCIAL. VERY ANALYTICS. SO COMPETENT. WOW". Anyway, Simply Measured came up, I clicked on it, and - I kid you not - my first words were:
"Oh they have a BLUE logo, blue is my favourite colour, this is going to be good."
I looked at the features and I was immediately half-blown away; I looked at the company's reputation (always something I look at), and I was half-blown away; then I saw that they had a blog, and that in itself ticked so many boxes for me. I looked at their social media presence, especially on Twitter and Facebook, and I was actually surprised to see that they were genuinely engaging with people, active, and dishing out insights like Oprah dishing out cars - YOU GET INSIGHTS, YOU GET INSIGHTS, EVERYBODY GETS INSIGHTS!
Still, after all that, I was half-blown away. This wasn't because of my requirements, or because of Simply Measured, but only because I was used to analytics tools that promised the world and then could barely give me what I actually needed. I was used to other companies trying to get me DRUNK IN LOVE with their tools, and then I'd find out after using a trial that they're not the one. Hence, while I was shrieking inside out of sheer glee and pure joy at finding Simply Measured, the left side of my brain was quite sceptical about it all.
So, I applied for a trial, and in no time I was contacted by a very helpful, charming and enthusiastic guy called Jesse, Jesse Smith. He was my account manager, but I didn't like calling him that - we were kinda like buddies (or at least in my head we were) - he was very helpful, knowledgeable, considerate, understanding, and most importantly he was selfless, and that is exactly the reason why I didn't (and still don't) like referring to him as an account manager. See, you have two types of account managers: those who do their work to sell software and get a bonus at the end of the month, and those who put YOUR needs before THEIRS. The latter has no problem in meeting you halfway and two steps further; the latter has no problem in being honest about the tool you're talking about, but most importantly, the latter is not there to sell software - they're there to help you help yourself with that software. It's a bit like therapy. Social analytics therapy.
So, Jesse gave me a trial and my love for Simply Measured grew fast (and I definitely didn't expect to ROCKET this fast). It certainly did BLOW my mind. However, I couldn't help but notice something: this tool catered to my needs first of all, then my wants, and then a third category - features I never knew I needed. It felt a bit like when, at Valentines Day, you receive a lovely card with a big XO written on it, an awesome dinner in Paris, and OH WAIT IS THAT THE NEW "PERFECT DRINK" GADGET FROM BROOKSTONE? Yes Ben, it sure is. Because nothing says "I love you" more than a "smart bar-tending" gadget that makes cocktails for you. But enough about my love life.
I started digging into this tool with a fresh mind, and I found so much in it:
- reports: Insightful, comprehensive, and oh so pretty. So pretty it hurts (yes, PRETTY HURTS).
- backups: Simply Measured gives you a repository where all your generated reports are filed, and you can easily go back to them whenever you want. (Say goodbye to messy desktops and messy folders.)
- customisation: for a lot of people, social analytics means exporting lots of data from a social platform, then spending time working on that data in Excel (and as much as I love Excel with a passion, I think we can all agree that it is definitely NO ANGEL); then comes the time to dump all of your work into a template, making sure the tables are properly in place, that the text is in the right format, and that everything looks on point. Well, Simply Measured saves you all of those steps (and all of that time), enabling you to export ready-to-go reports in your predefined template - customise the theme, colours, logo, text - the flexibility here is ah-mazing, and it will definitely leave your colleagues JEALOUS. Give it a try.
- Did I mention that you can easily add your colleagues to your account, so they too can run their own reports and you can give them and other people permissions?
- You can set regular reports that give you a bird's eye view of all the efforts you put into your social profiles, as well as a detailed view of your "Return on Efforts" and how all of your social profiles help you accomplish your social (and, ultimately, your business) objectives. Present that data to your team and you'll soon become the superhero of the team. (They'll never know that your secret SUPERPOWER is Simply Measured. Unless they use it too, of course.)
- segments: you can PARTITION your data in so many ways - just export the reports and you get a shed full of data that you can use, manipulate, and play with.
- Simply Measured is a big advocate of going beyond face-value metrics, and they believe that you should try it too if you're aren't doing so already.
- reliability: the platform goes through regular updates to iron out any bugs, introduce new features, and to make sure that the reliability and experience are up to Simply Measured standards. Just FLAWLESS.
Suddenly reality kicked in and I realised that this trial wouldn't last forever, unfortunately, and I'd have to be "Simply Measured-less" for a while, while I was trying to sort out finances and budgeting. I shuddered at the thought of using other tools, and inevitably I had to think about what to use as a Simply Measured replacement. I didn't want to go back to the numerous tools and trials, but the thought of having to do so crossed this mind of MINE several times. It was like having the GHOSTS of "analytics tools past" haunting me - yes, it was like being in a HAUNTED Christmas carol - analytics-themed, of course.
That's when the penny dropped - while I'm not saying that you need to rely on a tool to do your job properly, tools like this *can* make your life easier, giving you more time to focus on other things, such as digging some insights about your profiles and various communities. (Not that Simply Measured doesn't already help you achieve this anyway.)
Now, you're probably thinking, "Ben, how much did they pay you for this?".
Well, ok, they did send me some chocolates (imported from HEAVEN, or so I've heard), a lovely card and an awesome Simply Measured mug all the way from Seattle, but that's besides the point.
When I say "I love Simply Measured", it's actually genuine admiration and gratitude for all the time saved, and all the times it proved to be invaluable. I'm not just talking about the software, but also the company behind it; their active online presence that shows you that if you need a hand or a quick joke, they're right there, just a tweet away; their blog and its various writers (you soon start identifying who wrote the various blog posts just by reading them, a bit like when you're in a group message with close friends you can tell who the message you've just received is from even before you've read who the sender is).
Lastly, besides other things, what I do admire is Simply Measured's philosophy - that analytics doesn't have to be boring, analytics doesn't have to be disjointed and without context, analytics shouldn't cost an arm and a leg, but most importantly - analytics makes your job (and life) easier.