“When you say it, it’s marketing. When they say it, it’s social proof.”
Social media has given customers the unprecedented power to voice their opinions on products and services at all times, out in the open and for everyone to see. Customer feedback on social media – whether positive or negative- can gain traction and become viral in minutes, its tangible consequences as big as they seem unpredictable. Whereas 77% of businesses report they have been using social media for more than 12 months, most companies lack understanding of how social media and sentiment analysis can help them thrive in the digital space.
In this article we shed light on a few ways businesses can utilize social media analytics to measure their public support, strengthen their market position and ultimately – grow their revenue.
1. Stay close to your Audience
Analyzing what customers say about your products or services in social media along with their sentiment towards your brand can help you understand your audience better and create more alignment between your offerings and their preferences. Additionally, a deeper look into the social media landscape your company is a part of can help you identify influencers and personas that resonate with your brand and promote it.
2. Measure the pulse of your Brand
Users’ attitudes towards your brand on social media can have real impact outside the digital world. Just think about what happened to United’s stock following the massive scandal caused by a violent attack against a passenger who refused to volunteer and give away his seat due to the airline’s common habit to overbook flights. More recently, Elon Musk’s combat with detractors on Twitter drove shares of his electric-car maker down and wiped over 1 billion dollars of its capitalization within a few days of Musk’s online rampage.
Staying away from large public disgraces alone does not mean a company will be unaffected by negative sentiment on social media. Trading algorithms are increasingly using sentiment analytics as an indicator of brand health, meaning positive sentiment on social media factors in traders’ decision whether to buy or sell shares. Being able to determine what propels positive and negative sentiment towards your brand and product can help you improve where it’s most needed and remedy your public standing.
3. The levers to pull
Reactions on social media – no matter how heartbreaking! – allow you to test marketing messages and fine-tune them. Sentiment analysis on published posts provides you with insights on what your customers like and dislike shared by those very same customers. For instance, you can see what types of posts get you the most traction, or deduce that posting pictures in calmer tones is better received by your fans than pictures in aggressive tones.
You can also measure how an advertising campaign on another medium influences customer sentiment on social media. Partnering with a large European TV station, we recently ran social media analysis to find out the impact of an expensive TV ad campaign. We found out that the social media following of the advertiser tripled during the ad campaign, and remained twice as high after its conclusion. Our partner was able to quantify the ROI of its advertising efforts, and understand consumer response across channels.
4. Know Thy Enemy
Sun Tzu, the author of “The Art of War” whose famous saying “Know your Enemy” forms the building stone for gathering exhaustive information about one’s competitors would have been thrilled by the vast opportunities social media analytics present in this regard.
Comparing your brand, audience and social media activities vis-à-vis those of your competitors’ allows you to identify your weaknesses and strengths. Monitoring competitors’ social activity can help startups, as well as established players to understand what product or service features to prioritize and develop ASAP. With the help of sentiment analysis you can even weight the relative importance of different factors to your brand’s health, and ensure that you invest your resources where it matters most.
5. Where is the world going?
Keeping pace with the evolving industry landscape and market trends can be a daunting task. Social media analytics can help uncover consumer trends and gauge their stickiness, allowing you to strategize accordingly. For instance, awareness of the hype around electric cars and understanding of the factors limiting their adoption currently can help traditional car manufacturers to devise appropriate plans of action.
6. Troubles ahead?
Whereas Twitter has solidified its position as a data source for in-the-moment event detection and Twitter-powered algorithms are expected to break grounds with suicide and riot detection, businesses are yet to take full advantage of the vast opportunities to enhance customer experience presented by social media. Employing real-time social media analytics and placing action triggers at particular milestones can help you keep customer sentiment towards your brand high by addressing customer concerns heads-on. Heightened social media activity can be used to take immediate steps and prevent the spread of negative sentiment.
Is the sky the limit?
Following the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Tech giants have placed additional restrictions on data collection. New data regulations are likely to limit the scope of data accessible for analysis, yet remaining flexible and utilizing multimodal approaches to gathering customer data can allow companies to continue to reap the benefits of social media analytics.