You’re likely at a crossroads right now if you’ve decided it’s time to transform your brand. Maybe 2020 was a year of hard lessons calling for change. Or you made it through the year relatively unscathed, and realizing you needed to rethink lots of processes. You may even plan to retool some of your core offerings, in hopes of staying competitive this year! Regardless of why, getting a solid grasp of social media analytics will help you sort out the how and what – and even the who (as in which influencers are best suited to help you along).
Transforming your brand isn’t as hard as many businesses think – or at least, it shouldn’t be. Let’s break it down.
How Does Social Media Analytics Work?
Understanding how social media analytics works doesn’t require a degree in data science, but some analytics providers make it seem far more confusing than it needs to be. It’s a great way to mask inefficient processes to do so.
But, to be clear, social media analytics is complex underneath it all, and we’ll briefly offer a glimpse into its inner workings, but the part the applies to a company’s use cases, even as a data analyst, are pretty straightforward. And we’ll detail 12 ways you can use social media analytics in a moment as well!
First, social media analytics applies to social media, but it’s not restricted to “social.” Yes, it includes all those channels were consumers posts things, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Tumblr, TikTok and so on, and it also applies to social forums like Reddit and other niche sites and forums where online participants congregate. Combining all of that gives us a much larger social media analytics universe to explore, making it all the more valuable – and massive. Good thing there are APIs to stream that data directly in to your tool, hmm?
What are APIs? Good question!
Understanding APIs Powering Social Media Analytics
A social media analytics software uses something called an API – or application programming interface – to pull in all of the posts made on these social media channels into its platform for analysis. This is a permission-based relationship, where the social channel must grant access to specific information to the tool provider via a partnership agreement. The data available is very specific public data that the channel hosts for consumers (the posts people create and comments they make).
It’s important to note that every social media analytics provider who has access to a social channel’s API has the exact same agreement and permissions, but not all tools are able to keep pace with these social channels’ evolving privacy standards. So, as an aside – whenever a provider claims to have a special “preferred” arrangement with a social media channel, question everything else they say to you, as this statement is not true. At all.
Once the social media analytics software has aggregated intel from all of these places, which is something it does every time you perform a specific search, the tool then analyzes and categorizes each piece of content on a document, paragraph, sentence, phrase and word level to return organized, relevant and accurate results. The best tools are entirely transparent, allowing you to click as deeply as you like into an analysis to see what is driving a certain result, like why your product is returning negative results in Ohio when you thought you had a huge fan base there.
NetBase Quid Harnesses Social Media Analytics for Businesses
NetBase Quid harnesses social media analytics for businesses in a variety of ways. At the heart of it, what makes it the most accurate and transparent best-in-class option though, is its commitment to constant innovation. NetBase Quid pushes product updates every three weeks, keeping clients’ insight flowing as expected, without any downtime or delays. This is a key differentiator in the industry. And it’s a big one!
The following 12 ways social media analytics transforms brands would not be possible without real-time access to the intel brands need to succeed. Let’s dive in to that list . . .
1. Saying Goodbye to Assumptions. Every brand thinks they understand what is happening in their space – and maybe they do, but either way, assumptions are dangerous. Consumers often surprise brands with reactions to or love for a product they may not have considered otherwise. Just ask Coca-Cola. They were excited to sort out consumers were seeking healthy drink alternatives and were specifically interested in kombucha blends. Had they not been paying attention to the social media analytics and relying on assumptions, they would have missed this digestive health trend.
2. Spotting Emerging Trends Early. When not tied to assumptions, and when relying on social media analytics instead of your own search-based bias, businesses have found they can spot trends remarkably early. For example, when searching for breakfast trends, after tagging relevant conversations, we can see healthy options surging. And we can also see “forgetting breakfast” as a pain point many consumers could use help with. A brand that could solve that problem with healthy options would be positioned well in this market.
3. Prepping the Right People for a Product Launch. Who are your customers? Have you lost sight of that over the years, or never really had a solid grasp on it to begin with? Understanding the associated interests of those interacting in your category or about your brand and you can design messaging that speaks to them personally. This will help you attract the right people to your launch – they may not be who you expect beneath the surface insights.
4. Capturing the KOL Conversation. And as part of this, you’ll know ahead of time who the Key Opinion Leaders are in your product category – and what they’re talking about right now. This can provide a way to attach yourself to hot conversations and win credibility with a larger crowd.
5. Keeping Your Brand Healthy. Social media analytics alerts you to issues your brand needs to be aware of before it becomes a problem. That’s worth the effort in itself.
6. Pivoting to Avoid Disaster. And with this insight in your back pocket, pivoting to avoid disaster is pretty easy. You have the data to back up decisions and can move confidently into whatever new space you’ve identified in your research!
7. Having Hard Data to Back up Strategic Planning. That hard data doesn’t just inform pivots though – it also informs every bit of strategy your brand implements, from innovation through to mergers and acquisitions. Siloes have a hard time standing up against well-informed insight, so it’s a win-win for any company to have social media analytics at the ready.
8. Innovating with Crowd-sourced Insight. And when deciding between competing initiatives, who is the best tie-breaker? Your consumers, of course. By querying insight, companies can see which way the wind is blowing, where the pain points are most acutely felt and what your competitors are trying and failing to create. There’s nothing better than besting your opponent in the consumer arena. And understanding your crowd helps put their suggestions in context, so you know who you’re marketing to. For example, we can break down people posting about Starbucks by age. This could reflect in who we choose to partner with as influencers and people in our visual imagery.
9. Building a Community of Loyal Customers. And winning becomes a habit with a community of loyal and engaged customers on your side. The more you pay attention to social media analytics, the more opportunities you find to interact with these key stakeholders. Making them part of your success story is smart business.
10. Understanding Adjacencies to Have a Solid Plan B. Sometimes no matter how well you plan, a pandemic suddenly hits and forces your brick and mortar business online. Using social media analytics to understand adjacencies as you go gives you a list of Plan B ideas to have just in case things go sideways. And having multiple options in our haywire world is essential. Uber was ready to pivot to food delivery, for example. But the travel industry, for the most part, was left high and dry.
11. Bringing Employees in on the Conversation as Brand Ambassadors. And the best brand advocates your company has are its employees. But where do you deploy them online – and how? Social media analytics reveals where conversations are happening, what is being said and where it makes sense to encourage that participation. And it never hurts to have some guidelines in place to help employees sort out what to say. Social media analytics helps you understand what works/doesn’t work there too.
12. Connecting with Media Sources to Frame the Narrative. Your employee ambassadors will likely attract the attention of roving reporters, as they patrol online for stories fairly regularly. You need to know who they are, what they typically report out and how you can interact with them to frame your company narrative in the best light. Knowing that s/he writes hit pieces on brands requires a very different approach than you would take with someone covering pets doing people things. Both may be super relevant to your audience, but from wildly different angles. Use a social media analytics software to be prepared for any opportunity!
Social media analytics is truly transformative, and best of all – if offers specific opportunities for every company! Connect with us today for a demo and we can help you transform your brand into the best version it can be.