By Mark Redgrave, CEO at OpenAmplify.
So you understand the importance of social media in your marketing strategy. You know this is where your customers are talking, where they’re forming their opinions and where they’re making their own recommendations to their friends, groups and peers.
You can see that social media could provide invaluable insights, be a highly cost effective alternative to traditional forms of market research and even guide your marketing strategy.
But if you’re like the majority of marketing professionals, you’re probably feeling overcome by the sheer volume of data provided by buzz monitoring tools and struggling to convert the information into valuable and actionable insights. So how do you manage this vast quantity of data and unlock the value of social media?
I’ve seen the listening platform market grow steadily over the last seven or eight years, but it has really exploded in the last two. Not only has this led to greater choice, but the competition has pushed listening platforms to deliver improved functionality and usability, driving the market forward.
The problem is that most buzz monitoring platforms are focusing on new ways of presenting the same data, rather than uncovering deeper insights. Indeed, the honeymoon period for listening platforms is now coming to an end as marketers no longer have a need for information for information’s sake. They now want insights that they can use to improve their business rather than cute animations and charts.
However, a new breed of buzz monitoring services are now leveraging advances in the field of semantics, which provides computers with the ability to automatically understand the meaning of online content, to deliver a much more sophisticated analysis of online conversations.
Using advanced natural language processing technology, it is now possible to analyse and understand all the topics, actions, emotions and engagement expressed by users within text. This new breed of buzz monitoring can provide insights into themes, topics and sentiment as well as identifying key influencers across thousands of sites and millions of pieces of content. Now this is where it gets particularly interesting.
As with the well known Pareto Principle, or 80-20 rule, roughly 80 per cent of your social media activity comes from just 20 per cent of social media users. In fact, research has shown that approximately 1% of a site’s audience generates 20% of all its traffic through sharing of the brand’s content or site links with others. Furthermore, these influencers drive an even higher share of conversion.
But rather than taking the primitive approach of simply looking at who posts the most or who has the most friends, semantic technology can actually uncover those that are having the most impact. It can automatically identify which blogs, posts and tweets stimulate the most reactions, as well as which of those provoke the most positive or negative sentiments, whether they are on social networks or specialist forums.
If influencers are the gatekeeper of success, then engaging with them effectively is the key to unlocking the value of social media.
Semantic technology can also play a critical role in developing a much deeper understanding of these individuals in order to connect with them in an authentic and more personal manner – after all, if they become skeptical of your approach they could rapidly turn from your biggest fans to your biggest detractors.
A deeper analysis will uncover the content that these users like to share – whether its special offers, entertainment or informative articles – so that you can engage them appropriately.
By using semantic technology to automate the process of listening more effectively and unearthing deeper insights, it is also much easier for marketers to intelligently measure the impact of campaigns, assess demand for particular products or services and identify disgruntled customers before they develop into crises.
By automatically identifying expressions of intent in posts and tweets, it can even uncover real opportunities for sales and form the basis of highly targeted and timely advertising campaigns.
Rather than creating more work and forcing marketers to rely on old fashioned and resource heavy marketing techniques, this new breed of listening platforms can automatically deliver genuinely valuable and actionable insights.
After all, there are millions of conversations taking place everyday online – many of which containing direct expressions of influence, attitude or intent – all of which are for the taking. All you have to do is listen.
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