Social Analytics – Why Do Companies Need it?
February 6, 2014
By: Diem Shin
The other day I was looking at some statistics that made me think about the impact of social media on businesses. For example, 66% of consumers read product reviews before purchasing in-store. A full 92% of all consumers say they trust “word of mouth” or recommendations from friends and family, above any other form of advertising – and their “friends” often include the people they follow online. No one can deny the influence of social, particularly on commerce. It’s measuring and analyzing the influence that is the tricky part. Social has a lot of nuance that presents a big challenge as organizations integrate customer feedback from these channels into their overall business strategy.
For one thing, “social” is huge. Social feedback can be found everywhere you look on the web, and by definition it is changing second by second. Most companies use multiple social aggregators to make sure they cover all their markets and brands, but even then there are issues that need to be taken into consideration. For example, how do you deal with the different scoring systems? What about duplicate posts?
Also, social data, unlike mainstream media or online content, is user generated and represents a two-way conversation. The sheer fact that it is a real conversation between groups of users means that there will be extraneous comments or feedback that may not always be relevant to what companies care about. They need to be able to sift through the junk to get to the valuable nuggets of information that can only be found when consumers are not constrained in what they can say. Not to mention the idiosyncrasies of social language – between the hashtags, emoticons, and social slang, it can be a challenge just to figure out what the topic is, not to mention how someone feels about it.
Social is immense, immediate and has its own lingo. Tackling it as a source of rich customer feedback is a daunting challenge, but one that businesses ignore at their own peril. Are you ready for it?