Finding a Partner for Social Media Archives: 5 Things You Should Consider

| April 28 2017

Finding a Partner for Social Media Archives: 5 Things You Should Consider

Handling social media archives on your own can be a challenge.

And with social media data growing daily on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, it can be difficult to keep up with collecting, preserving, and analyzing your information for compliance reasons or to meet certain legal requirements. Add to that internal social networks and tools (even emerging players like Workplace by Facebook)

While this process can seem time consuming, not keeping an eye on your social media can expose your organization to compliance risks and legal issues, costing you even more time.

That’s why it’s essential to partner with the right vendor. A knowledgeable, communicative partner allows you and your company to collect, preserve, and analyze social media content that meets regulatory compliance regulations and impending eDiscovery or litigation requests. This saves you time and money. And if you’re preserving your social media on a regular basis before the need arises, you’ll ensure your data is secure and consistently updated.

Given that, here are five things you need to consider when finding your social media archiving partner:

1. Find a vendor that understands your industry and/or needs.

When you’re looking for a partner in social media archiving, you want to find a vendor that has a proven, tested track record. The vendor needs to meet your ongoing needs instead of handing you a cut-and-dry, one-size-fits-all solution. The vendor needs to value the strategic importance of capturing social media data that makes sense to capture based on your industry and needs. For example, if you’re a healthcare company, you’ll want a partner that understands the high importance of digital medical records management. If you have heavy needs for using Twitter for promotions or communications with clients, you’ll want a partner that fully understands that kind of regular data collection.

2. Learn how archives and data are stored by the vendor. 

It’s crucial to have a vendor that stores your files in a native format so that you’re capturing all the information on each page, including embedded data. In particular, it’s key to have a web archiving solution that’s ISO 28500–compliant to be sure your data meets international standards and stored in the universally-accepted WARC format instead of a proprietary one. This gives you the freedom to move your data to other platforms if needed. A related important consideration is to know exactly where the data is stored and how you’ll get it back when you need it.

3. Find the right file format.

Social media archives should include dynamic content like streaming video, animated GIFs, and messaging options. And some of this content, although possibly originally hosted on a third-party site, will still need to be included in your archive. You’ll want to keep your social media data and possibly embedded content in a native format, including drop-down menus, comments, and reactions to your company’s social media posts. This will ensure you can use this data more easily to reduce review and production costs.

4. Know how to access your archives when you need them.

Your next step is to find the right delivery method of your web archiving solution. There are two kinds of delivery methods you can use for your organization: an on-premises solution (provides archiving services behind a corporate firewall), and a hosted cloud solution (access social media archives anywhere that has an internet connection in a scalable, flexible environment). Data storage security and accessibility of the original content are important considerations here, as are the footprint you leave during the archiving process.

5. Understand price and value.

Capture costs don’t tell the whole picture.  Consider retrieval costs, project management, ease of review and production, user fees, search and culling, reporting, etc.  You’ll be able to show measurable ROI on your social media archiving efforts. An ongoing process for this kind of archiving means you’ll proactively strengthen your information governance plan for the company. This saves you the time and money costs of having to re-archive data when it’s needed.

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