Social Media — For the Win
November 6, 2013
By: Ellen Falci, Associate Product Manager
In the ten years since Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, “social media” has invaded every corner of both the social and business worlds. Management quickly latched on to the idea that social media was the key to unlocking customer experience management faster and more proactively than ever before. The idea was contagious. The risk of missing out on the revolutionary new strategy was too great not to try to play in the untapped space. Challenges have abounded with this data source from the beginning due to the integrity and clarity of posts.
Adoption was fast and acceptance was even faster. Curiously, the value remained unproven. A variety of tools and services entered the scene to provide the capability to track trends and the viral nature of a post. However, ROI still remained a mystery:
- How can you define a customer’s identity from anonymous posts?
- How can we link a post to an existing entry in our CRM system?
- Which users should I pay attention to?
These very difficult questions are all compounded by the exponentially increasing quantities of “Spam” posts. Each year, customers and companies are expanding their online presence. The landscape is not only getting bigger, it’s getting messier.
Fortunately, there is a silver lining to this story. While volume trends damaged by potentially inaccurate or inorganic chatter from advertisers may often seem like your online options for social analysis, let me assure you there is much more. The key to transforming social media into an informative and efficient platform is creativity. A customer may not tweet all of his or her demographic information in 140 characters or may not indicate certain attributes in a Facebook profile but listening closely to their voice reveals quite a bit more.
Using a Natural Language Processing engine, you can construct demographics from the way your customers speak and who/what/where they talk about. By separating out spam generated by online bots from real feedback, you can identify and map out perceptions about brands based on customer mentions. Listening to the unheard feedback in social can reveal the nuggets of information that your customers don’t even realize they are leaving you.
There’s no doubt that social media is likely the most challenging source of feedback with which to work. Ambiguity, anonymity and junk data complicate a process many assume will be simple and revolutionary. Ultimately, in order to get the most out of your investment in social, it’s important to remember that depth will yield greater pay-offs than speed. While there are great uses for fast reactive social analysis, the ROI you’re looking for is hidden in the depths of the data and it requires experience and profound attention to details to discover the gems you’re seeking. Start thinking outside the box and don’t get comfortable with the social status quo because the changes won’t stop here!