Analyzing Customer Data from Social Media
Did you ever ask yourself the question “What did businesses do for customer feedback prior to social media?” The answer: companies used to use customer surveys, in-person and via email, website comments and emails, paid phone interviews, and focus groups.
My how the times have changed! Response rates for the aforementioned channels have dropped 50% since 2007. At the same time social media has exploded in influence and popularity. Yes, Facebook has over a billion users, but don’t forget about Foursquare, Twitter, Google +, and Yelp! What’s more : 90% of social media users say they trust recommendations from people they know. And everybody they know is on some form of social media.
“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage.” – Jack Welch
In a study by Forrester Research they found that most companies struggle to understand their customers and to leverage their data into a strategic asset. Accenture found that while 69% of companies measure their social media outreach, only 25% report that they know what their most valuable customers are saying about them. (Acting on Intelligence from Social Media, 2011). There is a ton of information in social media. So, how do you effectively go about organizing it all so you can use it to your advantage?
Let’s start with the obvious (or what should be obvious) to any business owner. If customers are voicing their complaints about something – you need to address it. As soon as you can. The longer you wait to address the issue, the longer the comments will live online and be seen by more and more visitors. That’s one of the beautiful things about social media, it’s instant! If you’re monitoring your social media you give yourself the opportunity to right the situation.
If you’re part of a bigger organization it becomes much more difficult to monitor every comment about your brand across the web. So, qualify the source. Is it on a reputable website? By a reputable author? How many people are reading it? In other words, what is the author’s level of influence? Not all comments have the same weight. As with anything else, sometimes you’ll need to prioritize.
It’s important to recognize the difference between solicited and unsolicited feedback. To this point we’ve only covered unsolicited feedback. But, as I like to say, social media is a two-way street. Feel free to poll your audience every now and then. Most of the time you’ll be dealing with unsolicited feedback. Customers like to share their experiences online – negative, or positive. Positive feedback is great! Negative feedback offers more of an opportunity for learning and improvement. The issue is that it’s very unorganized, there is no card with a rate our service 1-5 stars, it’s actually very messy. But it’s raw data, it’s fresh data, and it’s relevant data that can potentially have a huge impact on the future of your business. It literally pays to structure this data into something you can use to analyze your strengths and weaknesses as a business.
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I am a full time digital marketer. I focus on content development and social media while keeping an eye on all the current technology and business trends and how they all come together. My writing can be seen at http://www.marketingwiz.co . I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow me on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn.
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