Social Media Analytics – Understanding Your Social Customer and Context

February 8, 2011
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Sometimes when organizations begin to consider using social media to engage with their customers or as a measurement tool for better understanding their customers, they can be a little uncertain of how or where to begin.  There are so many different social media platforms and for many large scale organization the volume of social media data can appear quite unmanageable.  We recommend analyzing social media conversations in an effort to establish a starting point of what your customer is saying and where.  This type of analysis can form a baseline of key indicators, including

Sometimes when organizations begin to consider using social media to engage with their customers or as a measurement tool for better understanding their customers, they can be a little uncertain of how or where to begin.  There are so many different social media platforms and for many large scale organization the volume of social media data can appear quite unmanageable.  We recommend analyzing social media conversations in an effort to establish a starting point of what your customer is saying and where.  This type of analysis can form a baseline of key indicators, including:

  • sentiment
  • activity
  • audience segmentation
  • demographics
  • social landscape context elements

Additionally, this type of research allows companies to gain a view into the social landscape of their customers by providing a contextual view into how their company or brand is perceived.  By itself, forming clear insight into your social customer is critical but by extending that same rigor of analysis to reveal the social landscape in which your organization exists can allow for much more valuable and sophisticated customer engagements.

Building a Foundation of Customer Social Insights

We worked with a a leading technology company that wanted to gain a broad and comprehensive understanding of their company’s products and their key competitors within the social landscape.  The purpose was to create a baseline of reporting that would be used for ongoing trend analysis and inform both marketing and customer service initiatives.

CI analyzed over a half million posts a month related to the company, its products and key competitors.  We created a set of key indicators, including:

  • Share of voice
  • Sentiment drivers
  • Customer service values
  • Competitor service values

CI has standardized an effective report called, Brand and Category Tracking, that creates a set of benchmarks around key measures. This valuable tool provides reference points and baseline data to allow for ongoing analysis and program evaluation. In subsequent reports we have monitored changes to the baseline data, noting important variations that informed some short-term marketing and customer service initiatives, including:

  • Engaging key influencers that were posting online solutions to software issues
  • Develop a new set of competitive strategies based on  negative sentiment differentiators
  • Reassess customer service priorities

Understanding Your Company’s Social Media Landscape

Customers can be referencing and commenting about your company, your products and brand within a number of different contexts.  Not only do companies need to have a more sophisticated view into their social customer but also the social network in which their products or services are being discussed, evaluated and referenced. This social landscape may cross industries, interests and categories. Remember this is not necessarily about measuring the effectiveness of your company’s outreach effort but rather its about appreciating and valuing the environment in which your customers are engaging.

For over a year, we applied our Listening Category Reporting methodology to the study of a large technology brand’s presence across numerous categories. The purpose of the study was to apply social media analytics to better understand the landscape of the category so that customer values and insights could be integrated into brand, product or message positioning. CI examined conversational themes and influential author postings to help contextualize those conversations within this company’s social network, which extended beyond restrictive brand analysis .