The social media phenomenon offers companies tremendous insights
By Kent Lewis
On the plane ride to San Diego for Online Marketing Summit, I had an opportunity to read a recent report from Aberdeen Group, entitled: Social Media Marketing and Analysis: Generating Consumer Insights from Online Conversations. Since I’ve provided monitoring and analysis of Web-based consumer content to clients for over 10 years, I was amazed by the statistics Aberdeen outlined in their report on the adoption of social media monitoring and analysis by corporate America, or lack thereof. The report did provide insights into the impact of developing a social media strategy for product and customer insights that are compelling for companies yet to embrace the opportunity.
What is Social Media Monitoring and Analysis?
Social media (aka Web 2.0) consists of a variety of technology platforms that enable the creation of connections and content via the “wisdom of crowds” and include forums, blogs, wikis and social networking sites. Aberdeen Group developed its own descriptor for in-house social media analytics, as they felt other terms like “buzz monitoring” and “online brand management” were too colloquial. The phrase Aberdeen selected, “social media monitoring and analysis” is adequately descriptive such that it requires little in the way of further definition.
Why should I care?
Just because your company isn’t actively involved in social media communities doesn’t mean your customers and constituents aren’t. In fact, industry research tells us that quite the opposite is true: your Web-savvy customers own your brand online. So if you’re not getting in the conversation, you expose yourself to tremendous risk.
There are a variety of benefits to implementing a social media monitoring and analysis program. According to the Aberdeen Group study, 86 percent of the Best-in-Class companies improved overall performance in time-to-marketing information (time between activity and delivery of results to decision-makers) year-over-year. Similarly, 94 percent of Best-in-Class improved overall customer satisfaction levels and increased the number of actionable insights by 84 percent. Overall, the reasons given by best-in-class companies to implement a social media monitoring and analysis program include:
- Market research into greater consumer insight
- Competitive intelligence
- Improved product marketing
- New product testing and launch
- Public relations
- Customer service and support
- Brand reputation protection
From my experience, I would say there are additional compelling reasons to develop a social media monitoring and analysis program, including insights into the sales process, refining brand messaging and positioning, content development, strategic partnerships and recruitment.
Once engaged in social media monitoring and analysis, companies typically interact on a regular basis to sway opinions, correct misinformation, solicit feedback, award loyalty and test new media. Regardless of your specific needs, there are plenty of compelling reasons to engage with social media, let alone monitor and analyze content and opinion.
How do I get started?
Aberdeen recommends three basic steps for “laggard companies” looking to play catch up with social media monitoring and analysis: accelerate the adoption of social media tools, define and measure key social media metrics and dedicate personnel and sources to a focused social media team.
While Aberdeen’s report is quite thorough and helpful, the focus is primarily on the passive monitoring and analysis rather than proactive outreach and engagement. Utilize the insights provided by the article, Idiotproof Social Media Marketing Optimization Strategies to familiarize your company with the front-end outbound outreach aspects of social media marketing while developing you’re monitoring and analysis program. The resulting integrated social media marketing program will have tremendous potential to move the needle in terms of brand awareness and preference.
With so many compelling reasons to develop a social media monitoring and analysis program, it’s amazing to think more companies haven’t already put one into place. If you’re one of the laggards, at least you have the research and foundation required to get the ball rolling within your company today, otherwise you may want to start looking for a new job.