The voice of the customer and the data derived from social conversations, are extremely valuable. They can help your business become more customer-centric, bringing you closer to your audience and their needs. But social media analytics, the art of making sense of this data and turning it into real insight, can be a daunting subject.
Social data isn't just about gathering information about social interactions, such as Facebook posts, tweets, blog posts, comments, reviews, etc, it is about painting a clear and complete picture about your current and prospective customers, their needs, their likes/dislikes, and their frustrations. The information that will help build and nurture long-term meaningful relationships with people who matter most.
To be of value, though, this data needs to be used to inform business strategy, as well as empower real-time operations of every single business department (customer service, marketing, HR, PR, IR, sales, etc.). And that requires establishing the right infrastructure and enablement through the right processes.
The graph below from Sprinklr's Social Media Analytics 101 ebook shows the journey from turning the social noise into meaningful strategy:
Although social media is very much in the present moment, the analysis of social data isn't just concerned with the real-time. One of the functions of social media analytics is to find patterns within the historical data, as well as profiling the behaviors and identifying needs of similar groups of customers to help predict how you can serve them better in the future.
The ultimate beauty of social insights is in spotting patterns in behavior and using those patterns to maximize the relevance of your marketing and sales efforts to create remarkable customer experiences.
Brand A is active on all the major social networks, spends seven figure budgets on paid social and has a large internal social team. It successfully manages social experiences across all touch points, supporting this with a social customer services team. Brand A is a social company with a developed social strategy.
However, Brand A's goals for social channels are limited to engagement and traffic. They are "winning at social," with more fans, followers and higher engagement levels than their competitors, but they don't have a social data strategy and they don't have deep knowledge about their audience. Why? Because social is seen as just a separate channel of marketing the products, just one of many advertising channels used.
Brand B has similar social infrastructure, personnel, and social presence, but Brand B isn't just chasing engagement. It is using social to directly meet its business goal: to sell more products. A seemingly small difference, but the implications are huge.
Brand B's customer databases are socially enhanced - they have matched their existing customer data with their social data and they have used listening tools to analyze social chatter and company-related conversations. They know more about every customer than ever before: their interests, how they use company's products, what they like and what they don't. They have profiled their customers into relevant passion groups and they serve each group specifically-tailored social content.
Brand B even knows where it sits in relation to its competitors in terms of brand affinity and market share in various age brackets and international markets - it knows where it's strong and where it needs to improve. It has clear and distinct local social strategies within these markets and age groups to improve its position versus its competitors.
Brand B has performed a number of stringent tests that link real-world sales to social activity. It knows which interactions by what age groups on what platforms in what regions increase sales by what margin.
Social isn't an advertising channel to Brand B, it's an essential part of its business.
Very few brands can boast an in-depth social analytics strategy that Brand B has, but more and more CMOs and CIOs are looking to deepen their understanding of the space and create a unified company-wide approach that would tie together multiple functions across the organization for a smoother, more impactful, and more consistent customer experience.
To get a more in-depth look at the five steps of creating social media analytics strategy and explore other benefits of social data, take a look at our detailed guide.
This is Part I of a three-part series on social media analytics. Next up: social data as key to customer segmentation (Part II) and solving your critical business problems with social data.