Social Media: Bringing it All Together

By: Guest Blogger

June 2, 2015

by Judith Lamont, Ph.D.

Sentiments is pleased to welcome today’s guest blogger Judith Lamont, research analyst and Senior Writer at KMWorld.

This post originally appeared on KMWorld on May 28.

Social media has become pervasive, playing important roles in such diverse activities as monitoring brand perceptions, detecting important trends in the economy and supporting marketing initiatives. Few business leaders, whether in customer service, HR or product development, are taking the risk of ignoring social media. And although the initial steps in many cases have been limited, businesses have steadily become more proficient in adapting it to their needs. In each scenario, the best results will be obtained if a healthy dose of human involvement is provided.

Enterprises are benefitting more from social media now because their use of it has become more sophisticated, according to Susan Ganeshan, chief marketing officer of Clarabridge, which produces a customer intelligence platform. “In the last three years, companies have made tremendous strides,” she says. “They are not just looking at counts now—how many times they were mentioned—but analyzing data at a more granular level. What is the sentiment and what does it mean for particular areas such as product development for services?”

Often, a survey or some other quantitative measure will indicate a problem, and social media data will explain it. “The value proposition is that social data is much more powerful when paired with other data,” Ganeshan explains. One midrange hotel started out using surveys on the Clarabridge platform and found its ratings were low. Analysis of comments posted on Facebook or received in the call center helped the hotel discover that its customers were detecting the smell of smoke, even though the hotel had become a non-smoking facility. The hotel traced it to the air conditioning filters and was able to remedy the situation.

Customers are now aligning social data with other channels, including call centers, surveys and online chat. Each channel has a different tone—people on discussion boards have a different perspective from those responding to surveys. Social listening takes in a broad range of social media channels to take the pulse of consumers, looking for indicators of sentiment toward brands and specific issues that could be of concern. “A reference to Nike might be made in a Tweet but if it does not impact the brand, the focus should shift to the comments that do,” Ganeshan says.

One area in which social media can be powerful on its own is in competitive analysis. “If you want to know what consumers think about your beverage versus others, a social media channel can be very useful,” Ganeshan says. “Social feedback from a competitor provides good indicators of which products are popular with customers, which can enable a company to improve its offerings.” Clarabridge’s software is also used with customer experience management (CEM) products such as Cognizant to identify industry trends and follow viral conversations.

Head to KMWorld to continue reading.