Enhance your customer insights and brand value with social media intelligence

19 Oct 2018

Marketers have a lot in common with big data researchers. Both want to know as much as possible about their target groups. For big data researchers, obtaining social media insights provides access to actionable data that can lead to positive outcomes. For marketers, better knowledge of their customers allow them to position products in accordance to customer expectations.

It is of little wonder then, that marketers and brands are increasingly borrowing the tools of data analysts in their quest to better understand customer behaviour through social media.

According to a study, social media engagement drives nearly twice as many leads and enjoys a 13 per cent higher conversion rate than trade shows, direct mail, pay-per-click campaigns and telemarketing. Over the past 10 years, social media has grown into a platform with a rich depository of information about users and how they interact with the outside world, including the brands they prefer or dislike. By tapping into social media, using analytics, marketers can listen to their customers as well as interact with them with targeted marketing.

With the daily exchange of social conversation happening today, social media is no longer just a marketing channel. It can help your business tap into an infinite source of consumer insights for new product ideas and continual innovation. With social analytics solutions, businesses can now monitor and analyse buzz on the social web in near to real time, to generate key insights to power your brand's decision making.

Social intelligence helps brands to capture and analyse insights from conversations across online forums, blogs, video-streaming sites, and social media platforms.  An analysis of the gathered data helps in consumer profiling, trend analysis, and consumer behaviour analysis. This leads to more targeted campaigns.

Most smart brands have a good understanding of how to use social media to improve marketing strategies. Data from Digimind showed that in 2017, 97 per cent marketers used Facebook for business-to-consumer marketing; 81 per cent used LinkedIn for business-to-business marketing; and 75 per cent used Twitter for business-to-business marketing.


Getting it right

Getting the social media engagement right is often difficult. That’s because user generated content in social media is usually ad hoc, free-form and contains both relevant as well as irrelevant material.

This is where data analytics comes in. For example, some marketers use social analytics tool such as Curiosity to understand consumer perceptions and optimise messaging so as to achieve maximum effectiveness in their marketing campaigns.

There are now new tools like BuzzGraph which shows how words are linked to each other and what words are more frequently used. These types of tools help in gathering more insights. If one can get the right data, then it helps to anticipate trends, analyse consumer insights and develop marketing strategies. In short, it increases sales.

Social media analysis helps companies in three major ways. They are:

  • Improve marketing strategy: Intelligence gleaned from social media analysis contains valuable information about customers’ experiences with a product or service. Such information is available both in review websites such as eopinion.com, Amazon, and Yelp and also in personal social networking sites such as Facebook, personal weblogs, and online forums. Analysis of this information provides useful insights for developing and/or refining marketing/sales strategies.
  • Better customer engagement: Social media analysis can be used to identify and target customer values and preferred customer channels for two-way communications. It no longer needs to be a business-to-consumer engagement. A customer-to-business engagement not only allows brands to understand their consumers better but also provides customers with a sense of engagement with the brands.
  • Reputation management: Insights gleaned from social media can be utilised by brands to monitor, maintain or enhance a firm’s internal as well as external reputation on various parameters, such as brand value, product and service reputation, employee and employer perception and others. Deloitte’s 2018 Global risk management survey notes that 49 per cent of the respondents felt that defining risk appetite for reputational risk was very challenging. The report added that, for example, while strategic risk required an assessment of the risk posed by an institution’s business strategy, reputational risk was typically a secondary risk that results from variety of factors. They could range from market, credit, operational, or other types of risk events that can quickly spread to have wide impact on the organisation. The ability to analyse and correctly interpret social media chatter can help in safeguarding and building a brand’s reputation with timely warnings for the need for intervention.


Beware of the pitfalls

While social media monitoring can answer questions that may not have occurred to marketers, its weakness lies in the fact that it can’t often answer most of the questions that market researchers’ want answers for.

Another thing to remember is the informal nature of social platforms. This encourages people to use colloquial and personal elements in their language, making it difficult for bots and automated sentiment analysis programs to pick up the right intonation, thus making it difficult to understand the context and sentiment with which the brand is being discussed.

Another major hurdle in social media monitoring is that comments about a brand do not typically cover the whole range of experiences with the brand and tend concentrate on either “good” or “bad”. This leaves out entire chunks of user experiences, whereby, for example, a customer may be unsatisfied with a particular product but still feels loyal to the brand.

It should also be noted that the number of likes on a brand’s page does not often accurately reflect actual engagement or conversions. However, since they stand out in social media profiles, most analytics campaigns end up as an effort to analyse and increase the number of page likes. This often results in a lack of tangible return on investment, even for successful campaigns.

Despite these obvious pitfalls, social media remains the most effective means for brands to engage directly with their end customers, understand them, and find out what they want.

In future there is likely to be more conversations on social media initiated by market researchers, utilising bots driven by artificial intelligence (AI). These bots will be self-learning and will be able to decipher the typical chatter to glean better actionable intelligence. A combination of surveys, social media listening, integrated data and predictive analytics could result in better tracking of a brand performance in real time.

Efficiently leveraged, social media tracking can be a powerful tool for marketing to do smart targeting and build a stronger brand for long term business growth. StarHub offers a suite of marketing solutions to help your business to achieve smart targeting while reducing investment in mass marketing. Find out more here.

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