Where a few years ago, a social media monitoring tool may have been a nice to have and something to play around with – as we raced away focusing on vanity metrics, shallow inferences and desperately seeking the best business fit for such tools and measures – it is now an essential line item on the budget of many business functions but with that comes the greater need to tie its use and its outputs back to the business goals, especially for forward-thinking businesses that have identified a customer journey based model.
Taking an ineffective approach to social media leads to either shallow inferences from the data or a general lack of awareness about its effects on the business. This prevents understanding of current opportunities, how to explore them and how to mitigate the current threats and risks.
Taking an effective approach will provide understanding of the critical information related to your business, why it is happening and how to act quickly and effectively, before opportunities are lost.
Social is an unstructured and complex data set that can be tricky to tie back to the actions and goals to a business and furthermore, requires time and in house expertise to tame the beast and tackle the key issues of Complexity, Action and Time but the pay-off of utilizing a highly predictive data source by which decision making can be fine-tuned has to be worth that initial barrier to entry.
Structure your data set
By adding structure to the social data set and taking advantage of software based algorithms, it is possible to make sense of social when it is set against a framework or plotted along the pathway of stages that constitutes a customer journey. It then affords you to pinpoint at a granular level, the opportunity to deliver an improved customer experience.
Gone are the days of a scattered approach to marketing. Today we identify the personas that matter and deliver compelling and relevant messaging that will move the needle on the business. The heady days of launching a new product to market and running focus groups or labour intensive traditional market research techniques sometime after the fact are trumped by near real-time measurements of conversations that matter and inform the need to address barriers.
Listening trumps making assumptions and adding to the layers of wild speculation; Knowing what is outwardly visible tells you one thing: understanding the drivers of this behaviour and what lurks beneath is another beast altogether. It is by listening and measuring that we get the holistic overview of campaigns, relevancy of messaging, success of products and more; understanding – rather than second guessing – the customer journey.
Keep it simple, not simplistic
If we take a broad and simplistic view of what social intelligence used to be, perhaps viewing in a dashboard that the sentiment of mentions around your product have gone up five percentage points, this tells you that mentions are good and better than the time-frame in which you are making the comparison but it is too simplistic to pinpoint at a granular level where the improvements have come on the path to purchase.
Furthermore, a net increase of five percentage points in sentiment may be the result of your customer service team doing a great job resolving customer confusion in the post-purchase phase but it could be masking a serious issue in the out of the box experience phase or even at the assessment phase of a purchase, where information, peer-reviews and mainstream press coverage are thin on the ground.
By mapping social conversations to these stages on the path to purchase, your social intelligence becomes a tangible and truly powerful opportunity to drive the business, to course correct and address shortfalls as you unify your customer journey, enhance the customer experience and operate in tight formation.