Making Sense of Social Media Chatter for Business Success

By John Box, executive director, Meltwater

All businesses should be taking advantage of the billions of conversations taking place on social media every day as a valuable source of data. In just one year, between 2012 and 2013, the total global social media audience increased by an estimated 18 percent, from 1.47 billion to 1.73 billion.

Converting this flood of social media data into meaningful information is how progressive businesses are winning and retaining customers, and shaping their business strategy.

The question we need to ask is “how can we use this data effectively?”

Many intelligence tools have the function to monitor social media conversations but the challenge is turning these conversations from noise into media intelligence and extract market insights.

Extracting Market Insights for Business
Research and analytics are integral to developing campaigns that will effectively reach and influence your audience. But we’ll have to go beyond traditional research methods. For example, traditional media monitoring may not give us the edge in the ever-increasing competition for the consumer’s attention.

The key is to make sense of all the online chatter—a really good online intelligence tool can help. A tally of Twitter or Facebook conversations mentioning our brand doesn’t mean a lot unless that information can be used to provide meaningful insights; insights that can help businesses identify the right target audiences to build and nurture influencers and brand advocates, create cut-through messages that resonate with them, be more responsive and develop effective marketing and customer strategies to engage these audiences meaningfully.

The beauty of today’s digital world is businesses can better react to real-time opportunities and threats. Social data tells you where and how to respond to your audiences. For example, according to a recent social media report from Forrester, Lenovo Early Detection (LED) combines its customers’ social conversations with data from other digital sources to specifically address product quality and customer experience months before they would be discovered through support calls. This has helped the brand save several million dollars in warranty claims.

Media Intelligence as Part of Business DNA
Media intelligence is valuable for the whole organisation, not just for marketers. All departments can apply this ‘outside insight’ understanding to the overall business, their industry and their customers.

By doing so, organisations are not only able to streamline business efforts to achieve maximum impact—the sharing of insights across project teams can also inspire new ideas and shape business strategy.

With the proliferation of social media platforms and conversations, progressive businesses will look for creative ways to communicate, harvest data and infuse that intelligence to make decisions that bring success. With the right intelligence tool and team in place, businesses can create and sustain an evidence-based competitive edge that is going to put them ahead of the pack.

John Box is Asia-Pacific executive director for Meltwater, the global leader in media intelligence solutions.


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