Social media intelligence offers unique opportunities for marketers

By Wayne St. Amand

Social media is currently the single largest source of unsolicited consumer opinions, so there has never been a better opportunity for marketers to listen, learn and take action based on this vital data.

There are a great number of services out there that will provide conversation analysis, and while many offer a basic run down of what’s being said, such as general positive and negative sentiment, these will unlikely be detailed enough to drive better business decisions. For example, many platforms do not have the capacity to decipher why people like or dislike your product. In order to improve and grow your business strategy, you need to find out what your customers are thinking and why – from opinions on product functions to opinions around your competitors. I go as far as to say traditional monitoring methods, such as manual coding, keyword sentiments and semantic search, fall far short of this goal.

Today, social media analytics should go further than to simply analyse positive and negative discussion; our the intelligent, teachable algorithm can be trained to recognise colloquialisms, sarcasm, irony, humour and more, in order to better break down conversations and precisely analyse sentiment.

For example, not so long ago we worked with the New York University’s Stern Center for Measureable Marketing to analyse the conversation around one of the largest retailers in the US, to discover the content of the conversations its consumers are having. Through social media intelligence, we were able to learn more about consumer purchasing behaviour, including the products they purchased or intended to purchase, the favourability of media, TV and sales advertising, as well as general emotion toward the retailer.

As E. Craig Stacey, director of research at the Stern Center for Measurable Marketing explained: “Just looking at the level of conversation is not nearly enough, looking at sentiment is not nearly enough, but knowing what people are saying about your brand has a huge impact on explaining traffic to the retail stores, and we specifically found that general consumer emotions about the brand had the greatest impact on the conversations that were incurring.”

Similarly, in a recent study around retail giants Best Buy and Amazon, we analysed 1.5 million social media posts on consumer expectations of in-store shopping, as well as competitor store appeal. By analysing consumer insight, we were able to classify consumer experience down to specific adjectives, with 46 percent of the conversation about Best Buy including the expectation of a ‘playground’ in-store experience. With Amazon, social intelligence has shown that conversation about the brand is six times greater during the holiday shopping season.

For social media intelligence to be successful, it has to be incorporated as a long-term, ongoing, engagement process. What’s necessary before launching any form of monitoring and analysis is to correctly identify a strategy and set goals for business achievement. Conversations can only make sense within rich context, so to completely understand what is being said and get a fuller, more accurate picture, businesses must also analyse conversations looking to understand the where, when, how, who and why aspects of the information.

About the author

Wayne St. Amand is VP of Crimson Hexagon, a social media analytics software provider that compiles and analyses half a billion social media conversations each day.

About Crimson Hexagon, Inc.

Crimson Hexagon, founded in 2007, is the leading provider of analysis software that delivers business intelligence from social media data for global corporations. Powered by patented technology developed at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, the Crimson Hexagon ForSight™ platform delivers the industry’s most comprehensive Big Data analysis capabilities for a variety of large-scale data sources. Clients include leading global organisations such as: Microsoft, Paramount Pictures, Starbucks, Simon & Schuster, Twitter, The United Nations, and many more.

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