In our previous article, entitled ‘The Provocative Possibilities of Combining Business Intelligence and Social Media’, we talked in generalities about the opportunities of combining BI with Social Media to better leverage the potential of social media networks and internet marketing and to accurately measure the success of these programs and plan for the future.
Social media is a critical component of market success in today’s interactive culture and economy. With an ever increasing user base and ever expanding social media platforms, the focus on marketing, advertising and product and market analysis must include internet marketing, pay-per-click, search engine optimization, and social network marketing. Customer and prospects are focused on various personal, consumers, community and business topics and they find, share and express this focus using social media.
If your business is not actively involved in this community, it will lose market share to competitors. In addition, it will lose the opportunity to analyze the mountains of free information provided by consumers, groups and individuals and may miss a critical shift in a buying trend or market opinion. In social networking, consumers freely express views and opinions, and there is no doubt that meaningful analytics of these conversations, connections and posts can indicate very clear and very subtle trends that will help your business establish successful strategies.
In this article, we will delve deeper into this topic and focus on the factors a business must when building an analytical environment in which to measure the various aspects of social media marketing, market trends and buying behavior.
In order to better understand the success of social marketing and the trends and patterns in customer buying behavior, a business can use activity analysis. With this approach, you interpret the activity feeds from various social media networks, and analyze visits, clicks, likes, shares, tags, timings and also, the underlying demographics and geographies of the discussion participants. This will help you to understand the popularity of a topic or product, and the demographics and geographies of the potential audience. Most of this data is structured, and can be analyzed by exporting social media analytics and reports and using BI tools with slice and dice, filtering and other data mining and visual mining tools.
The challenge is more significant when one thinks of the variety and number of sources and social networking feeds, generating gargantuan volumes of data, all in varying formats. Much of this data is in text and image form, which is not structured. To conquer this challenge, a business must apply thoughtful, intelligent and proven semantic and syntactical analysis in order to derive quantifiable and confident decisions from this data.
When one considers the petabytes of data generated every day through social media, it is easy to see that the organization and analysis of this data presents a significant business challenge. The business must carefully examine the various objectives of analysis and research and focus on what is most important to the business in building and managing business success. Business and IT managers must also consider that the very nature of social networking will push the focus of topics from one to another, in a live, real time feed that reflects what is happening in the world and in the lives of your audience, your target market, and your followers.
If an enterprise carefully considers its business intelligence requirements and its approach to social media analysis, and selects the right business intelligence tools to satisfy its analytical needs, it can provide a powerful source of data and information and meaningful reports, forecasts and analysis with which to manage its business and better leverage the real potential of social media networks.