Gauging the Social Media Networks for Marketing Insights

By CIOReview | Monday, July 25, 2016
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While flinging questions at Google search engine, one may notice an instant pop up of advertisements appearing with ad contents related to the searched query. This comes as a result of the massive advancement in big data analysis that opens up an unparalleled array of insights into the user needs and behaviors. Social media platforms too have started adopting a similar trend as data driven advertising gains wide acceptance in the digital marketing space.

Social media analytics offer a wealth of information to businesses that draw insights from social networking platforms for strategy planning. One of the notable features that sets apart social media exploration from web analytics is that the entire history of user activity can be documented to its extensiveness. A process that involves fetching information such as average time spent on social media platforms and analysis of textual content. So, it can be said that the social media outreach of an organization is directly proportional to the generated sales.

Any setting where the online activities can be captured provides an ocean of opportunities for businesses—ranging from analysis of customer sentiments through comments to product ratings and much more. But the key features of social media analytics can be split mainly into two categories: content analysis for identifying measurable aspects of interactions, and understanding user behaviors.

Tracking the Social Media Metrics

Statistical data engulfs a wide variety of information including audience distribution, views, shares and device interactions which can be used to make a brand impact. For example analyzing the likes and comments on a specific event to gauge the customer sentiments and handle conversations accordingly. These metrics tracked at an individual as well as group level can further categorized according to date, geographic location, browser types and domains. Indubitably, they can be termed as the bedrocks of social media analytics.

A social media platform provides the ground for content analysis which can draw actionable insights. The information so collected helps in opinion mining based on the negative and positive suggestions and feedback. The different types of analytics that can be performed on a social networking site includes, but is not limited to, keyword research, tracking user impressions on posts, and detecting potential threats to brand image.

The breakdown of qualitative and quantitative attributes of unstructured data is done with tools and techniques. Due to the Application Programming Interfaces (API) provided by social networking sites, sentiment analysis has emerged as a major research activity. Numerous data services and analytics platforms have come up with semantics analysis methods to measure opinions from posts, feeds, comments and blogs. These methods are commonly known as site scraping, web harvesting and web data extraction. Social media analytics tools have powered businesses from being mere spectators of social media discussions to architects of greater marketing strategies.

Knowing Your Audience

Characterizing user behavior on social sites has been an active research area since long. However, much of the research was targeted on larger global platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, which is now witnessing a change. Businesses have started focusing even on local social media networks to gain an in-depth understanding of user behavior based on regions. This helps them in creating better interface designs, online ads and improved content distribution system. For businesses of today, social media platforms are the greatest tools to understand their audience which includes influencers, customers, investors and prospects. Here are few points that strategy planners should keep in mind while analyzing behaviors and sentiments:

• Categorize your audience based on platforms
• Identify the groups or discussions they take part in
• Know the time when your audience is active on social networks
• The content your audiences seek
• And the information they share on their respective profiles

Before stepping onto smaller platforms based on demography, businesses must ensure that they connect to the larger audiences through global networks. This matters for every business irrespective of whether it’s a B2B, B2C or non profit organization. An average internet user has at the least five social media accounts and is active mainly on two or three. Multiple social media platforms are the reason why the average daily usage of social media has climbed from 90 minutes per day in 2012 to 106.2 minutes per day in 2015—as per the statistics drawn by the German based research firm Statista. Therefore, companies should make an active presence in those areas of the social networks where their audience spends their time online.

With apps scaling up in the mobile realm social media engagement has become a prevalent activity. This transition revels to businesses where to focus on and what to. A deeper look into global findings shows how social media participants use apps to actively seek and collect new ideas incessantly. These social media attributes compel online marketers to keep updating their online presence for each of their key audiences, and identify when and how they engage on the social platforms.