Marketers have long used consumer insight to guide decisions and strategy. Today, getting information about consumer attitudes, buying habits, preferences, trends and opinions is as easy as following a Tweet stream or collection of Facebook postings, right?
Not so fast. With the abundance of information available today it’s hard to distinguish critical data from noise. Before using social data to redefine your brand or offering, you need to take a step back and “look under the hood.”
Not everything that gets posted is accurate. Because of its immediacy, social media can become a platform for fleeting thoughts rather than well-thought out ideas. Someone writing that your new applicator is difficult to use may not follow up later with a positive post after they complete the learning curve. This makes this kind of data unreliable.
It’s easy to miss information. There’s so much activity on the social networks – in May, Twitter reached more than 4,000 Tweets per second at the beginning and end of President Obama’s speech – that you’re likely to miss critical information, even with rigorous monitoring. This makes your data incomplete.
Recognizing trends can be difficult because of skewed data and missing information. It also can be difficult because social media is still relatively new and companies are unsure of what to measure.
Listening in on customers via social media helps companies identify what people are saying about their products and services, but it’s important to validate the data before acting on it. By separating valid, actionable data from noise, companies can use this real-time feedback as the ultimate weapon in redefining their brand, products or services.
When thinking about social data and brand strategy, consider the following:
Size matters. The bigger your fan base, the more likely you’ll be able to raise awareness of your company or product and increase interactivity among consumers. Be sure to also look beyond size and at volume to identify frequent posters or tweeters. Encouraging either is likely to benefit your brand.
Follow your information. Want to know if your message resonates with your audience? Watch where it goes; is it being retweeted? Are bloggers linking back to your content? By understanding where your information is shared, you can further refine your messages and ensure you’re tapping into the interests of your buyers.
Don’t get hung up on time spent. Does it really matter how much time someone spends on your blog or Website? To a degree, yes, but that metric as a reflection of your popularity is flawed and hard to validate. How many times have you left a browser window open and walked away? Instead, monitor what people do when they interact with your brand. Look at activity and focus on where they came from, what they do when they arrive or why they came in the first place. This kind of feedback will tell you more about your target than your brand, which enables you to craft a strategy that aligns with their interests or requirements.
By listening to what people are saying, and validating what you hear, companies can get a better understanding of their buying audience and create a meaningful strategy that drives results.
Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.