Analytics has a major role to play in today’s business decision-making process. But lately, the rise in digital data has influenced the demand for intelligence. Starting from people’s interest and activities to user-generated content, the Internet is full of it. The idea that you can exactly predict what people are looking for is not that far.
Tapping into this vast amount of user-generated content can reveal insights that might turn your business around or even skyrocket it. There are billions of conversations happening on social media every day. And using an enterprise grade tool to monitor and engage with the conversationalists is a great way to boost your business.
You can use an enterprise grade tool for the following business functions:
- Customer Service
- Brand Perception
- Product Feedback & Development
- Market Research
- Competition Analysis
- Engaging with the Community
- Brand Positioning
- Brand Loyalty
- Workflow Management
- Determining ROI
Let’s have a detailed look at all of them, shall we?
As a brand your job should be to always be on the lookout for the conversations that are related to you and your business.
Now there are several tools available for listening. Many are free, some are paid while some are custom. Free tools are good for dipstick analysis. But if you’re really serious about listening, then you have to adopt an enterprise grade tool.
Enterprise grade tools have full access to a social network’s API and they can mine data more exhaustively than free tools. Using an enterprise grade tool, you can easily streamline your listening process and keep a tab on all the conversations that are taking place online.
Remember, listening doesn’t mean just Facebook and Twitter. You need to keep your ears open for conversations happening on other platforms such Blogs and forums as well.
Let’s take a telco as an example here.. say, Vodafone. I am going with a telco because no other brand needs to closely monitor the online conversations for any complaint or issues like a telco does.
There are thousands of conversations happening on every website out there all day. But you can’t afford the time and effort to monitor each of them for complaints and queries. So whatever conversations that are happening online, you need to get all of them in a single dashboard with several filtering options to cancel out all the irrelevant noise.
And you should also be able to respond to them from the same interface to save time. But your customer service can only be top notch if your listening is effective and you have efficient people handling the customer complaints/queries.
Another important thing you need to have information about is your brand perception. With effective listening you can come to know how the public in general views you. But you can’t sit and read hundreds of conversations.
For that you require sophisticated sentiment analysis. You need a way to monitor the conversations and estimate accurately the sentiment and tonality of its content to help you gauge the brand perception. While it is difficult to tag words with sentiments, it can de possible and the coming days might make it more accurate.
Product Feedback & Development
Using the data generated from this listening and monitoring process, you can derive important insights that can be very useful for your service/product offerings.
You are looking at the issues in real-time in the form of raw opinions. And when you add features such as geo-tagging, you get a treasure chest of data that you can use to better your business.
So as Vodafone, you would closely monitor the complaints coming from a particular region, say South Mumbai. If a sizeable number of people are facing a similar complaint then you would focus your attention in that area and try to improve your service over there.
When you are exposed to people’s views on public platforms, who needs a survey and market research team? You just need to know what kind of conversations to listen to and which ones to ignore.
By studying and analysing the vast amount of data you can reach to conclusions over what market can work best for your brand, what are the habits and preferences of your target group and what are their consumption habits etc.
Not only should you keep a track on the the social interactions of your brand, you should also monitor closely the efforts of your competitor. You need to know what their customers are talking about and what issues they are facing.
And you can then focus on creating/reviewing your product/services and offer them as solutions to fill the gaps between the competitors offerings and the demands of their customers.
You can also keep a tab on how they are performing on their social media channels.
Engaging with The Community
While listening is highly important, communicating and engaging in a conversation are equally necessary. Social media empowers brands and its fans to interact and it is this interaction that can bring you lots of benefits.
All your online properties are in one dashboard. With ease you can reply to customers, you can measure the impact of your responses etc. These tools even provide you with your and your competitors engagement rate.
By tracking it over a period of time you can focus resources on increasing the engagement rate.
Your communication with your community, your ability, and your agility in attending to their issues will bring them closer to you. You have to make them feel like they are the part of your community.
You need to position yourself as a customer-centric brand. With the ready/real-time data available you can figure out what are the keywords consumers are associating with your brand. So if you are a youth brand, you would want them to use keywords that are young, energetic and trendy in nature. Or if you’re a mother care brand, you want people to use long adjectives that are homely and warm.
If not, then you should understand that your branding and marketing strategy has fallen flat as you haven’t managed to position your brand in the manner you wanted to. This helps you go back to your drawing board.
A interactive platform coupled with a great customer serivce channel, social media helps you to create that loyal fan base that can boost your word-of-mouth marketing.
Using an effective tool you can identify influencers and brand evangelists. Their algorithms and integration of peer influencers tools like Klout and Peerindex share with us information about who our supporters are, who are the influencers with respect to our brand.
A good strategy would involve tapping into our brand evangelists network and reaching out to the influencers. The more we identify and engage with our brand loyalists the more their brand loyalty would strengthen.
One of the biggest challenges with handling social media communication is the information overload. Once you open your listening channels, you will be inundated with so many conversations that it would be difficult for you to handle it all by yourself.
You will need a team and a tool that makes it easy for you to assign work to your team members. There has to be a proper workflow management wherein every person with a defined role works on his part.
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So a customer service tweet should be sent to the customer service team while a negative blog post should be immediately relayed to the PR team. Social media involves lots of verticals within an organization and the tool should ensure that assigning tasks to all the teams in these verticals should be easy.
Determining the Return-On-Investment
Now finding the ROI of your social media activities can be a little difficult. You will need another data assimilation tool that helps you to calculate your revenues/sales so that you can correlate them to your social media activities.
Integrating these datasets will give you an idea as to how your sales/leads are varying with respect to your brand perception and your engagement with the community. This becomes easier if your sales/leads occur online as these can be tracked easily via tools such as Google Analytics.
But if your business is offline this might be a little difficult because then your sales/leads might be influenced by your offline activities as well.
To conclude, Social Media Analytics is one of the technologies which branding and marketing teams need to be consider for their campaigns and online activities. It’s of utmost importance in understanding how to effectively plan, execute and measure your online campaign. This can only be achieved strong effective use of intelligence in hand and conversion of that intelligence in to action.
Featured image: Free Digital Photos