Social Media Analytics: messy, murky, constantly changing, unreliable and insightful, essential, valuable: Social media analysis is a lot of things, depending on who you ask. With its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, Microsoft is betting on the business value of social media analysis via LinkedIn’s social graph of more than 433 million users. And you should too.
It’s true that social media data is messy. Its content is composed of not only text, but slang, jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations, as well as images, GIFs and video, and links to other content—all of which can be characterized as unstructured information, which is notoriously difficult to handle. Also, there’s a lot of it: According to We Are Social in their annual digital report, there are over 2.3 billion active social media users across the various social networks as of January 2016.
What is social media analytics?
Social media analytics gathers data from social platforms and analyzes it. While not an easy task, the job of social media analytics tools is to make this content useful and effective for business:
- Grow the business and evaluate the impact of marketing campaigns
- Make better business decisions and build a strong strategy
- Improve customer experience and satisfaction and build brand awareness.
Social Media Analytics Examples
How can social media analytics be used? There are many ways to leverage social media analytics for business. In Microsoft’s presentation deck that accompanied the LinkedIn announcement, it referenced how they would be taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the acquisition, including: Connecting the professional world: “for more connected, intelligent and productive experiences”, and Social Selling that will “transform the sales cycle with actionable insights and the ability for each seller to builder deeper relationships with prospects and customers”.
Here are a few examples of how businesses, including some of our customers, are using social media analysis:
- Social media analytics helps organizations understand their targeted audience. An American gaming and media streaming website used social media analytics to analyze and define the segments of its audience that were most interested in certain types of video games in order to offer insight and more effectively support its clients’ ad strategies.
- Social media analytics can increase engagement and responsiveness: A marketing software company increased the leads generated through social media by 47% over last year, thanks to a complete picture of what its customers are saying on the web.
- Brand awareness has a major impact on consumer choices. A British non-profit that needed to amplify its message and increase fundraising used social media analytics to measure and improve brand awareness through deep insights on what consumers were saying about its brand and the success of its promoted hashtags.
- Social media analytics can highlight problems and weaknesses to discover new trends and avoid a brand crisis. A large brewing company found that one of its products had a 25% negative sentiment rating. Thanks to a constant social media analytics and monitoring, the company was able to control the crisis and quickly recover.
- Social media analytics can help you learn from the competition. Monitoring and analyzing unstructured information help companies stay informed about the latest from competitors, as well as the reactions customers and the activities to avoid. One of the most important European supermarket analyzed social conversations around the home delivery service of its biggest competitor in order to understand who its key customers were, how the customers described the service and customers’ “level of trust” in the company.
Today, thanks to the mass of social information available on the web, social media analysis is a valuable tool that can help you meet your most important and strategic business goals.