The arrival of the digital age has merged our personal lives with our business lives. Social media allows individuals to engage with each other, but also businesses have joined the conversation. The worldwide web, online shopping, the serious compute power delivered on mobile phones, the decline of newsprint and increase in web news channels, and the mobility of laptops and notepads has all contributed to this transformation over the last few years.
Most companies – and certainly all those that deal directly with individuals – have become aware that they need to engage in this sphere; thus every organisation worth its salt has a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. in addition to the now de facto and ever present website.
There is a lot of activity in setting up and running of campaigns, and new methods based on digital marketing are being assessed and developed all the time. Debate can occur between push versus pull; the use of blogs to establish of credibility, the type of call to action used, the use of visual versus text etc. etc.
Much experimentation is underway and these techniques will undoubtedly go through further development - but many companies are already finding that simply broadcasting social media updates on products or services generates little interaction. Although they may be useful in raising awareness or acting as an alternative help desk the company is not really any wiser about its marketplace.
Are the products it is focussing on the most active and hot in the marketplace? Or how is the service a company provides rated against competition?
These are some of the questions left unanswered.
Tapping Into Consumer Insights On Social Media
Meanwhile out in the private world, individuals are spontaneously and continuously putting out opinions and comments on all of their experiences - shopping, travelling, attending sports events etc. etc. All of this potential knowledge is being deposited into the digital world for consumption by their friends and followers.
Likewise the digital press, including the newer smaller digital only news agencies, is posting countless and immediate articles; blogs and posts are appearing everywhere; forums may be comparing and contrasting your company’s products and services. All of this is potentially creating a wealth of comment and information on products and services your company provides or form the core of the sector in which you operate.
It is all waiting to be tapped.
Information on demographics, products and services, happiness or unhappiness, location, sources, authors is all already out there – it just needs to be extracted and analysed and organised in ways that provide insightful information.
What could you learn?
A retailer might want to know about the demographics of those most interested in bags versus sunglasses versus shoes – or which product type is currently exciting the most comment.
An airline might want to know the volumes of negative and positive sentiment for various aspects of its service: timeliness, staff friendliness, pricing - all in comparison to its competitors.
A technology company may want to know what IT security issues are causing their prospective clients the most concern; and what solutions are garnering the most interest.
Therefore, even if a company’s own digital marketing effort such as a Twitter handle is not driving much traffic, a lot of valuable information can exist about its products and services: what’s more – all of this information is out there now – at this moment – and is immediately available.
So how and how easy is it to extract it – and who can afford it?
First data needs collecting and feeding into an analytic tool. Then the process of refinement and presentation can begin. Those who understand its marketplace are best placed to formulate the probing and questioning that will generate the most valuable insights for the business.
So if you had an offering that is already plumbed into the data sources and is cognitively driven for ease of use you would avoid any requirement for a data scientist or IT person. Furthermore, if it was completely self-contained and good to go straight out of the box that would also mean it could be run anywhere, by anyone.
Solutions do exist - like IBM’s Watson Analytics for Social Media - which will do this for you, and at a very competitive entry price. This means that SMEs that historically have been priced out of accessing Big Data, get a solution that enables them to gain meaningful insights from social media data.
Have a look at the video below for an overview of Watson Analytics for Social Media:
I think this is an extremely exciting opportunity for businesses to get real value from social media – not just broadcasting to deaf ears, but getting insights into consumer trends, opinion and how this impacts on your business.
For a demo of Watson Analytics for Social Media, contact me on 07946 526 568 or firstname.lastname@example.org