If you are in a position to review and compare several social media listening tools, be critical. Ask tough questions on data quality and probe into black-box algorithms. Here is a short list of questions to direct to social media research partners:
1- How do you collect your data? How do you address spam issues?
2-Do you own your data or do you provide a sub-set of sites from a third-party?
3-What kind of support do you provide, if my team is not trained in research or analytics?
4-What solutions do you offer beyond baseline KPIs (volume, sentiment, etc.)?
5-How do you define influencers? Do you have a recommended approach?
You would never commission a survey without knowing where the sample is coming from or how the questions are phrased. Social research should also be held to high standards. Be ruthless about getting quality data and methodologically sound solutions. Quick and dirty is not good enough in a world where social insights drive business decisions.