How to Harness the True Value of Social Data

Feb 24, 2017

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Social and digital media have revolutionized the way that companies can get feedback and information on customer preferences, habits, and opinions. There’s a huge amount of data out there on what people want and what they like, with more and more posts being generated daily: on Twitter alone, there are more than 6,000 posts made every second (that’s around 200 billion posts per year!). To utilize social data successfully, companies need to cut through the billions of social media posts made every day and identify customer insights that are most important to ensuring their long-term success, customer retention, and customer satisfaction. To truly unlock the power of social data, there are five main steps that you should follow.

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  1. Identify the social media platforms that you want to collect data from. Large, general platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram should be included for most companies, while more niche or focused platforms, such as Pinterest, may not be worth gathering data from for everyone. Companies should have a thorough understanding of social media and their consumer base to identify where the majority of discussion and promotion happens. A healthcare equipment company, for example, would likely get their best results by sticking to large platforms and excluding niche platforms like Pinterest and less widely used platforms like Myspace and Peach.
  2. Define terms related to your product or brand that you want to look for in the social data that you’ve collected. You can then use social listening tools and other advanced analytics services to find posts containing these words and phrases. For example, a company may look for a product name together with tone- or mood-indicating words like “want,” “bad,” and “like.” Sentiment analysis can also be helpful during this step.
  3. Categorize the data you’ve found by topic, platform, and brand. This can be done manually, but it is more efficient and faster to input the data into a database. Categorizing and organizing the social data you have collected will make the process of analysis easier and will allow you to analyze posts from different platforms in different ways.
  4. Analyze the data you’ve found and the relevant posts that you have targeted and collected using analytics tools and marketing analytics solutions to produce actionable insights. Social data analysis and social media analytics give companies a comprehensive understanding of the consumers they are trying to reach. The insights gained from analyzing social data will tell you what your consumers think about specific products, marketing strategies, and brands, and will allow you to form decisions about how to cater to their needs and opinions. It will also allow you to identify patterns and predict future outcomes.
  5. Form strategies based on the actionable insights that social data analysis has provided you with. These strategies should effectively address consumer concerns, preferences, and issues that you have found in your social data analysis, and should aim to increase sales, consumer retention, consumer satisfaction, and enhance the probability of your business’s long-term success.

Social media is becoming more and more crucial for reaching consumers, marketing to them, and understanding their habits and patterns. Social data gives companies a huge opportunity to cater to and attract consumers, but many companies aren’t using it right or are underestimating the value that collecting and analyzing social data can have. These four steps are essential for social data and social media analysis and should be combined with knowledgeable analytics departments and employees to have the greatest effect possible.

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