Social media is more pervasive than ever and poised for further evolution. It has been reborn over the course of the past few years as a hyperfocused business tool– more targeted, simpler to use, and possibly more effective than before. Think about how social media use has transformed over the last couple of years: platforms are growing in size, the number of platforms has increased, and conversations have become more detailed and complex.
Rather than being siloed to researching marketing messages and measuring the efficacy of marketing campaigns, social media data has become a source of truth for consumer opinions – whether positive or negative – about products, brands, current trends, or figureheads. As social media becomes more ingrained in customer’s lives and their engagement with brands, social media analytics will become more integrated with both overall marketing and business benchmarks.
Here’s just a few of the departments that can harness the power of social media analytics, and how they can begin to incorporate social into their business tactics:
Research & Development (R&D)
Social media is not as planned or controlled as a traditional focus group when it comes to research and development; however, with concentrated time and dedication you can use these channels to your company’s advantage. And, ultimately, you can benefit the very people you’re polling with improved products and services.
In one of the most comprehensive studies to date, McKinsey recently surveyed 20,000 consumers in Europe and found that social recommendations influence more than a quarter of all purchases made. This is well above the 10 to 15 percent that’s been estimated in earlier research. And in the majority of cases, the McKinsey report found, these social updates had a direct impact on buying decisions.
Due to the unbiased nature of social media data, brands get the unfiltered truth from their customers and general consumers about their needs and preferences. Trending hashtags can lead to new variations of your products that you never considered or lead to a brand new idea entirely to reach an untapped market. For example, ASUS, a multinational computer hardware and consumer electronics company, used social media data to uncover that professional camera functions and long-lasting batteries were key deciding factors for users when comparing and considering mobile phones to purchase. Using this information, the ASUS ZenFone Zoom S was developed to include a dual rear lens camera, a first for the ZenFone series, and a 5000mAh battery.
Their new product offering was built based around the conversations they found on social media platforms. The company was also able to anticipate the strongest social platforms and keywords for their marketing strategy to increase awareness of the product launch.
Human Resources (HR)
In 2015, millennials surpassed Generation X as the largest generation in the workforce, with more than one-in-three American workers in the millennial demographic today. Forward-thinking businesses are using social media to further their recruiting efforts. They know that in order to communicate with millennials, you have to speak their language. To that end, the latest social media platforms provide what could be the perfect conduit for employers to reach this target audience.
However, one of the biggest advantages of human resource managers using social media on the job is that it makes the recruiting process easier and more successful for the company. HR professionals can post job openings on all the company’s social media sites, including links to the listings on the company website. This makes it easier for the company to increase awareness of available jobs openings. Companies are also seeing more success using social media to recruit new employees due to the fact that they can browse the social media sites of potential candidates to determine if he or she will fit in with the company culture.
HR professionals can also use social media insights to determine the types of benefits or perks their organization needs to consider offering in order to attract their targeted talent. Benefits and perks have become a key differentiator among employers in this competitive job market. By analyzing trends among professionals that fit your company culture or are actively working with in the recruiting process can glean insight into what they are looking for in their new career opportunity, and then tweaking organizational offerings to suit these needs.
Social media is one of the most effective channels for customer support in today’s digital world. Whether they have questions, complaints, or compliments, people are increasingly using social to connect with businesses. And the ones that practice social customer service well really stand out among their competitors. Brands that are great at social customer service will outperform brands that aren’t. According to a study by Aberdeen Group, companies delivering social customer service see an annual financial gain of 7.5 percent, versus only 2.9 percent for brands that don’t. These brands also experience a 5.4 percent increase in social buzz, whereas brands without social customer service don’t experience any gains.
Implementing customer service best practices on social media such as maximum time length between initial post and response, and methods to change a complaint into a success story are integral in growing a business in today’s market. Research suggests that the ability to manage customer service through social media can turn complaints into future revenue. If a customer receives great service via social media, they will spend 21 percent more with that company. Additionally, 71 percent of consumers who’ve had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
Organizations can also learn from chatter about their brand on social media platforms to anticipate and correct issues before they occur in a formal complaint. By monitoring common themes being mentioned with your product or your competitors, marketing teams can help create content to address problems – including FAQs and instructional videos – to be shared across social platforms.
There’s no denying that social media is a force to reckoned with in the business world. Social conversations will happen whether you observe them or not. Using the insights generated from them can have a huge impact on your business – just find the right times and ways to implement them into your overarching business goals.