Social Data: The Ups and Downs

By: Clarabridge Team

December 19, 2014

Sentiment Analysis
social listening
social media
text analytics

Customers can talk to you from anywhere – email, chat, comment cards, phone calls, social media, online reviews and blog comments, to name just a few. All of these sources can help build a robust understanding of who your customer is – what they like, what they don’t like, what makes them tick at night and what they wish you would do differently.

While it is important to analyze all your sources of customer feedback in order to glean a 360-degree view of the customer, each of these sources of feedback come with their own unique characteristics and nuances.  Feedback received via a survey will look very different from feedback through a tweet or Facebook post. So what makes social data unique?

1) A large amount of complaints: Social feedback has a tendency to be more negative than other sources. Many customers use social media to complain or elicit a response to a negative experience. Because social media is public, consumers think that businesses will be more likely to respond to a negative comment. In order to get the complete picture of what your customers think about you, be sure to analyze social data alongside other sources of feedback.

2) Irrelevant spam: Coupons or ads that are non-actionable for your business are likely to erode your data. In order to overcome this, you need a robust analytics tool that can accurately sift through irrelevant data and pull out the insights you need to act on.

3) Competitive intelligence: Social media is an excellent tool for competitive analysis and can tell you what your customers perceive your strengths and weaknesses to be, in comparison with those of your competitors. You can then use that information to position yourself in the marketplace and develop your messaging accordingly, which can potentially help you extend your market. You can also leverage social media to attract customers who are complaining about the services they receive from one of your competitors.

4) Engagement opportunities: Social platforms are a great way to give back to your customers – engage with them and respond to their feedback. Take note of what they are saying and show them that their opinions matter. Customers want to know they are being listened to. You can also regularly solicit feedback and user-generated content (UGC), asking your customers to share about a specific topic. People often need to hear what others are saying to spark their memory of an experience. Ask your followers for feedback using hashtags, so they can see what others are saying and join relevant conversations. Use the feedback to inform your marketing campaigns, product improvements and customer service processes.


Social media, like all sources of feedback, has its advantages and disadvantages. But in order to extract its true value and help build a complete understanding of your customer experience, you need to analyze your social data alongside other sources of feedback, such as your survey or call centre data. When looked at from all angles, your customer feedback data will help identify product and services issues, emerging trends, and ultimately, decrease customer churn and improve sales.