Social media analytics is the ability to gather and find meaning in data gathered from social channels to support business decisions and measure the performance of actions based on those decisions through social media.
Social media analytics is broader than metrics such as likes, follows, retweets, previews, clicks, and impressions gathered from individual channels. It also differs from reporting offered by services that support marketing campaigns such as LinkedIn or Google Analytics.
Social media analytics uses specifically designed software platforms that work similarly to web search tools. Data about keywords or topics is retrieved through search queries or web ‘crawlers’ that span channels. Fragments of text are returned, loaded into a database, categorized and analyzed to derive meaningful insights.
Social media analytics includes the concept of social listening. Listening is monitoring social channels for problems and opportunities. Social media analytics tools typically incorporate listening into more comprehensive reporting that involves listening and performance analysis.
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.
Uses in Business:
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.
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.
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 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 supermarkets 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.
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.
These strategies affect a range of business activity:
- Customer experience: An IBM study discovered “organizations are evolving from product-led to experience-led businesses.” Behavioral analysis can be applied across social channels to capitalize on micro-moments to delight customers and increase loyalty and lifetime value.
- Product development: Analyzing an aggregate of Facebook posts, tweets and Amazon product reviews can deliver a clearer picture of customer pain points, shifting needs and desired features. Trends can be identified and tracked to shape the management of existing product lines as well as guide new product development.
- Branding: Social media may be the world’s largest focus group. Natural language processing and sentiment analysis can continually monitor positive or negative expectations to maintain brand health, refine positioning and develop new brand attributes.
- Competitive Analysis: Understanding what competitors are doing and how customers are responding is always critical. For example, a competitor may indicate that they are foregoing a niche market, creating an opportunity. Or a spike in positive mentions for a new product can alert organizations to market disruptors.
- Operational efficiency: Deep analysis of social media can help organizations improve how they gauge demand. Retailers and others can use that information to manage inventory and suppliers, reduce costs and optimize resources.