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Six Reasons Why We <3 Human Analysts

At Campus Sonar, we love our human analysts. In the higher ed and market research industries, we hear a lot about algorithms and automated social listening tools (which can be a good fit—if they meet your social listening goals). And as social listening becomes more common, more companies and tools are offering social listening monitoring and analysis.

Blog post image for Six Reasons Why We (Heart) Human AnalystsAs users of some of those tools, we understand the valuable insights that expert human analysts can bring to the social listening data. In fact, we’re so proud of the value that our human analysts bring to our clients, we couldn’t keep this list of why we love our analysts to ourselves.

  1. Humans understand sarcasm. The days of blue text and /s are over. Unless you’re personally familiar with an individual or organization, it can be difficult to discern sarcasm online and appropriately diagnose the sentiment of an online mention. A human analyst takes the time to dig into the online persona of the individual or organization to better understand if the mention in question is sarcastic or not. Using context clues, they’re able to determine if a tweet is serious or sarcastic, and bring that to a client’s attention as appropriate.Footprints under a magnifying glass

  2. Humans can dig deeper. The skill required to piece together online evidence to identify rogue social media account admins or mystery Reddit authors is second-to-none for our analysts. Like private eyes, they look across the internet for clues, and many times surprise their clients with their in-depth knowledge of campus who’s-who and goings-on.

  3. Humans ensure greater relevancy. Does your institution use an acronym? Share your name with other institutions? You’re not alone—many higher ed institutions share their name with non-higher ed entities. A human analyst surveys the landscape and discovers these interlopers, making a series of analytical choices to determine how to capture the online mentions that do relate to the right institution while excluding those that don’t. This also means that a human reviews the majority—or a representative sample—of online mentions for our clients and ensures the validity of the dataset.

  4. Humans are better at adding context. A machine may just give you numbers. A human analyst gives you sweet, sweet context. We’re able to tell our clients how their online conversation metrics shape up when compared to the higher ed industry, their competitors, and their past performance. Sometimes we wonder why we see changes over time—our analysts are experts at analyzing what may cause those changes or what changes even correlate within your data.

    Cell phone showing red images that signify a crisis
  5. Humans help identify real crises. Things go viral on the internet. An algorithm may tell you that your online conversation has changed drastically, but a human analyst? They’ll let you know the sentiment around that change in conversation, assess top conversation themes, understand the audience contributing to that conversation, and provide information on who’s influencing that conversation and where. The difference between a human analyst and a machine in this case might just be the difference between panicking and strategizing with the information you need in hand.

  6. Humans are better at nuance. Often, reporting on social listening trends comes down to comparing segments, whether audience, conversation topics, or content type. Human analysts care a lot about not only how they create segments within their dataset, but also how they define those segments. When a human analyst considers how to define segments, they think about whether to base the definition on intent, impact, keywords, or more often than not, a combination of all three. You’d better believe that a human analyst reporting on a client’s brand attribute conversation feels confident in their segmentation creation and definition—and because of that their client’s report is that much more accurate.

There are so many more reasons than just these six as to why we value our human analysts. For example—our Sonarian analysts aren’t only brilliant at their job, they’re also funny, quirky, and great conversationalists. Follow #Sonarian on Twitter to gain insight into their quirks, conversations, and other Campus Sonar inside scoops, and keep reading the #BrainWavesBlog for their social listening insights.

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The post 6 Reasons Why We <3 Our Human Analysts originally appeared on the Campus Sonar Brain Waves Blog.

Amber Sandall

Amber Sandall is Campus Sonar's Research Manager. She brings expertise in marketing, communications, and data analysis and reporting to her role of managing Campus Sonar’s social listening research program and team of Social Media Data Analysts. Amber and her team perform social listening research customized to each institution and collaborate with the Client Success team to unearth actionable insights that inform our campus partner’s institutional goals. When she's not thinking about research projects or learning about business administration in her MBA program, Amber enjoys a good taco and a new book.

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