Social media analytics has developed into a highly sophisticated field that can provide solutions for optimising your social media marketing campaign; discovering what your customer base thinks about you and your brand; data mining publically available social networks; serving up your customers with personally optimised recommendations as to their next action; and providing real time sentiment analysis.
Social media and business-to-customer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) relationships
Social media has changed the landscape of how businesses communicate with their audiences, including their distribution channels and their customers. Over 88% of businesses in the US and Europe include social media initiatives in their business strategies and in over 42% of businesses social media has been fully incorporated.
Consumers spend around a quarter of their total internet time engaging with social network sites. Activities include interacting with friends, viewing videos and photos, and searching for businesses and brands. Over half of online shoppers use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to interact with retailers. No longer is it optional to engage with social media for developing and strengthening customer relations; it is a necessity.
Social media is also an integral part of business-to-business (B2B) relationships. Around 95% of businesses that sell to other businesses use social media.
Quantifying the return
A major challenge of social media integration is quantifying its impact. Most suppliers that use social media as a tool do not have any quantitative information on how effectively their brand message spreads across the various channels; how it impacts on the brand; and how it impacts on partner performance. Often social media policies are arbitrary, anecdotal and inconsistent.
Social networks functions on the concept of sharing; repeating and re-repeating information. This leads to the creation of huge amounts of data which has a potentially high value to organisations and marketers not only in building brand awareness, but also in gaining real time in-depth customer insights. Such insights can be used to improve customer relations and customer loyalty; maximise the value of sales and marketing activities; improve customer service; and drive product development.
Social media has been responsible for the creation of many millions of GB of data over the last few years, yet while this is a huge resource, discovering how to use it to create a competitive advantage is, for many marketers, far from clear.
Primary benefits of social media analytics
Social media analytics involves capturing preferences and opinions that are expressed in social media and the use of predictive analysis to discover hidden patterns and trends; thus identifying new opportunities.
Amongst other benefits, this allows marketing to target specific customer profiles and individualised offers; provides a focus for sales efforts; directs product development at new and emerging markets; and allows customer service to identify and address problems before they become significant.
There are many aspects to the process of implementing social media analytics. These include:
• Data capture from social media sources
• Data analysis to determine and comprehend conversations, opinions and trends
• Prediction of customer behaviour and generation of recommended next actions/purchases
• Engagement so as to provide individualised promotions and offers
Appropriate tools for implementing this include:
• Software platforms and crawlers that are able to mine social media, for instance by targeting blogs and accessing Facebook and Twitter APIs.
• Sampling real time information using criteria such as topic orientated keywords and Twitter hash tags.
• Linguistic technologies such as natural language processing.
• Sentiment analysis which uses specified criteria in order to determine the sentiment of phrases and sentences automatically.
Your next step
There are literally thousands of approaches to, and implementations of, social media analytics and it is essential that you use the most appropriate approach for what it is that you wish to achieve, so it is important to be clear regarding your requirements. Far from being a one solution fits all, developing a social analytics strategy that delivers needs to be individually tailored. We are happy to talk to you about your next step.