Monday, January 21, 2013

Social Media Analytics

What is the effect of Facebook on companies.  Does all those likes for each deal page or company page really mean profit.  Does the hype of the viral video everyone is posting really make a difference to the bottom line or web traffic beyond the landing page.  Do we really care if the Kardashian’s tweet their support for a store or item?  Does the social media give away create the buzz but not the doe? Is all publicity good publicity if it means nothing in revenue?  Who really follow’s that real estate agent or insurance agent on twitter besides their mom and family?  Is this all a waste of time and effort?  The answer is sometimes.  However the real question is how can the company know if they are capitalizing on their efforts.  Are they ready to track the effects.  Can they figure out what provides a stronger and effective response. 

Two facets of Social Media Analytics are verifying the activity produced from different campaigns and tracking general opinion and interests among the general population. 

Verifying the activity produced from different campaigns and how those compare to competitors is a budding science.  There are many Social media monitors[i] services all offering to tracking service.  They can tell you about number of fans and trending fan direction among companies.   With a combination of Social media monitors and general web analytics, companies can easily track the click source, the traffic through their sites and click to purchase ratios.  Most companies are catching on to  the importance of measuring these campaigns and measuring the benefit.  Some companies are finding, “the path from hype to reality is hardly straightforward or easy to implement.”[ii] Testing many angles and  utilizing additional analytical services will help hone those messages for better response.

One of the more useful aspects of this industry is the tracking of general opinion and interests among a set population.  What is the hot topic of the moment and how can I use that to my advantage.  In Radd Kotorov’s article on www.wired.com Social Media Analytics: The whole is greater than the Sum of its Parts.  He discusses the capabilities to utilize specific analytic tools to glean from social channels both structured and unstructured data.  Companies can collect data based on topics, interests and key words.  They can find trends and create a historic database that can be used to figure out how to better access prospects, sale products and boost performance.  This opens up a new realm of market research.

These are just two of the many facets of Social Media Analytics and are changing the way companies are doing business.  With a quick web search numerous providers are given, each touting their unique capability or value.  There are free services as well.  However, most experts say you get what, “you pay for.”   Corporations should create a list of what they want to find out and compare services.  Statistical algorithms and capability is important with some full-service providers offering management and engagement strategies.  There is a world of information out their companies better get some.